Pitt IT and UPMC trying to keep people more connected


Our “improving relationship with UPMC” is resulting in easier ways for Pitt employees to work inside UPMC buildings and with UPMC employees, in such areas as calendaring and IT help desk assistance, Adam Hobaugh — deputy chief information officer and assistant vice chancellor of Pitt IT — told the University Senate’s Computing and Information Technology Committee on Feb. 8.

“The goal here is to create a more effective space for UPMC and Pitt to work together,” Hobaugh said.

Recent cooperative work with counterparts in UPMC, he said, means that Pitt and UPMC employees can now use Outlook to see each other’s busy and free times, easing the task of scheduling cross-organizational meetings. Coming soon — maybe even this quarter, he said — will be an opportunity for Pitt and UPMC users to collaborate using Microsoft Teams Connect to chat, video-conference, co-author documents in real-time, share files and accomplish other tasks, as well as using the MS Teams Whiteboard software together.

The two institutions also have “implemented a formal process,” he said, to create help-desk cooperation, so that users are not shunted between UPMC and Pitt help resources so often. Instead, the plan is for both sides to speak more, understand each others’ capabilities and resources and determine who should best respond to employee queries, and how.

The two organizations also plan to produce a collaboration guide for use by Pitt and UPMC staffers, with basic instructions, best practices and solutions for common challenges.

Wireless Pittnet has been added to Forbes Tower — a UPMC building — as a successful test case, and may next be added to the Rangos Research Center, Hobaugh said. Pitt IT is also looking to expand People Search’s lookup capabilities to include UPMC personnel.

Hobaugh reported that Pitt, UPMC and the city of Pittsburgh are partnering to schedule a regional broadband symposium on how they can take best advantage of the new federal infrastructure bill, the issues faced by broadband providers and digital literacy programming and challenges in the community.

Box to OneDrive transition

Responding to concerns about the transition from Box storage to OneDrive, Hobaugh said that:

  • Individual OneDrive accounts do not have restrictive space. While each account initially has five terabytes of storage, users may request an increase of up to 25 TB, available 24/7 from the University Help Desk.
  • To avoid being logged off automatically while transferring large amounts of data to the cloud, users should employ the OneDrive sync client, which uses  a service running on the device and not a web browser to maintain the connection. Find more information here.
  • For those concerned about individual file size limitations, Hobaugh said: “OneDrive can accommodate files to 250 gigabytes. SharePoint storage can also be expanded. A SharePoint site is provisioned with 25 TB of storage and a customer can add an unlimited number of sites, each with 25 TB of storage.”

He also noted that:

  • “Overall, 85 percent of Box accounts have been migrated to OneDrive, accounting for about 596 TB, or 23 percent of data” once in Box

  • “Of users holding less than 5 TB of data, 5,793 remain to be migrated, and they account for about 480 TB of data”

  • “Of users holding more than 5 TB of data, 47 remain to be migrated, and they account for about 1.8 petabytes of data”

Chief Information Officer Mark Henderson reported that a new IT budget subcommittee chaired by Patrick Cunningham, executive director of financial/physical resources of the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, will have representatives from units across the University and will be looking at IT expenditures to get rid of duplication and waste.

Henderson noted that when he arrived here more than two years ago, a consultant’s report had shown that the University was spending $134 million on IT each year, and that last year Pitt spent more than $140 million on IT. Part of that recent spending, he said, came from outside of the Pitt IT office and part was one-time spending engendered by the pandemic. But he believes the committee will work to decrease that figure.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


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