Annual Report 2012

Table of Contents


Oliver Gruter-Andrew, CIO

Letter from the CIO

The first few years of this decade have proven a difficult time for most of the world's established post-secondary school systems. Continued public spending cuts have threatened the traditional funding models of many institutions and the immediate response included drastic internal budget cuts and increased fees for tuition and other services. However, as with other industries (such as telecommunication, utilities and airlines), innovation and an improved understanding of our customers is ultimately the better response to thrive and grow under continued pressure.

UBC has made recent strides to build on its strengths with innovation and customer focus. The institution has embarked on a fundamental transformation of the student experience through initiatives such as the broad-based admissions program and the Early Alert system, both of which are part of a multi-year Student Interaction Transformation Program at UBC. Equally important, we have been highly successful with research grant applications and Canada Research Chairs, and were able to bring in researchers at the top of their fields from other institutions to UBC.

UBC IT continues to play a critical part in enabling the university's strategy for growth in difficult times. We are now the single largest provider of information technology services at the institution, and over the last two years, we have substantially increased our relevance to faculties and academic departments. This places us in the centre of their need for support when it comes to teaching innovation and research excellence. We continue to demonstrate our commitment through the use of leading edge technologies, process redesign and organizational alignment with our customers' needs. In this annual report, we aim to show how we work in principle with all our partners across the UBC system, and how several specific innovations in IT services help them realize savings, improve services, transform their teaching and grow their research in an increasingly competitive world.

I again want to thank UBC IT staff for their everyday dedication and our partners for their collaboration as we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for UBC.

Oliver Grüter-Andrew
Chief Information Officer


About Us

2011 About Us Statistics Stats 2012 About Us Statistics Stats
UBC IT Department Stats UBC IT Department Stats
# of employees 350 # of employees 375
CIO Office 4 CIO Office 6
Admin 4 Application Development Services 67
Enterprise Architecture 4 Enterprise Architecture 8
Audio Visual 20 Application Management Services 86
Digital Media Technologies 21 Digital Media Technologies 31
Client Services 46 Client Services 29
Infrastructure 117 Infrastructure 148
Project Management Office 40
Academic Systems 50
  • A departmental restructuring consolidated a number of areas resulting in a smaller number of functional areas
Administrative Systems 44
Additional Stats 2011 Additional Stats 2012
Academic Buildings Wireless-Enabled 100% Academic Buildings Wireless-Enabled 100%
Virtual Servers 1,500+ Virtual Servers 3,000+
Desktops Supported 2,772 Desktops Supported 5,930
In-Residence Internet Ports 8,000 In-Residence Internet Ports 10,773
UBC Phone Numbers 13,066 UBC Phone Numbers 15,441
Mailboxes Supported 49,395 Mailboxes Supported 49,651
Gigabytes of Information Stored at UBC 2,000,000 Gigabytes of Information Stored at UBC 7,340,000
Campus-Wide Login Authentications per year 125,000,000+ Campus-Wide Login Authentications per year 125,000,000+
VDI Terminals Deployed 785 VDI Terminals Deployed 1,036


How is UBC IT Innovative?

How is UBC IT Innovative? Mobile Platform

Advances in technology have changed how higher education institutions approach learning and research. These emerging digital assets have put major stress on traditional IT structures and driven UBC IT to re-architect and adjust systems and services. An environmental scan was conducted by UBC in 2010 and feedback indicated that there was a need to offer mobile enablement to the UBC community.

As students, faculty and staff increasingly move towards a "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) mobile world, there will be great opportunities and challenges with respect to user experience and core systems that are needed for support. In fall 2012, UBC IT launched the beta version of UBC's new mobile website ( and its native app experience. The goal of was to provide a starting point where students could have a central location to access mobile experiences for a variety of services such as dining, maps, athletics and news.

Mobile Development and Planning

Governed by the Digital Channels Governance Committee at UBC, which consists of directors from faculties and central units, several mobile platforms were evaluated before choosing the mobile vendor, Kurogo. Kurogo was chosen as it aligned well with existing knowledge and skills, and offered a friendly and simple-to-use interface. Kurogo products are currently in use by other top tier universities around the world, such as Harvard and Brown University, as well as Fortune 500 clients. After piloting and testing the service with members of the UBC community, was officially launched in September 2012.

The Service is accessible by all web-enabled mobile devices and its native app is available for download for iOS and Android. Since launch, the platform receives an average of 25,000 unique visits per week. The Map and Dining services on the platform are accessed most frequently with both receiving over 220,000 visits this past fiscal year. Feedback on the mobile platform from the UBC community has also been very positive and encouraging.

"UBC is definitely improving their online experience for students and I really like that.  I feel like my student fees are actually going towards something useful," says Bachelor of Commerce student, Tony.

There are 16 core services currently offered on the mobile platform including:


Users can search for staff and faculty phone numbers, email addresses and office locations by entering their first and last name.


Through real-time tracking, users can find out when their buses are coming and plan their transportation schedule accordingly.


A list of dining options available on campus including restaurant details such as hours of operation and dining menus.


The latest news from various UBC sources that features articles about the UBC community, arts and culture, as well as science and research. Users can share articles using email, Facebook or Twitter.


Critical UBC campus information will be broadcasted in this feature. A listing of important emergency contact information is also available.


Working with UBC's Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC Labs), this section features several sustainability services, including a sustainability tour on campus and a Sustainability Passport.

To encourage sustainability on campus, the Sustainability Passport feature was built on a gaming platform to encourage interaction and engagement among the UBC community. Users can track their sustainable activities, as well as compete with one another to find out who practices sustainability more actively.

The Future

This coming year, UBC IT will be working to improve the functionality with elements like simple mobile events publishing, an alumni module and a virtual tours module that will allow users to virtually tour the UBC campus.

Goals and Accomplishments

Activity/Project Goal Results/Accomplishments to Date

Mobile Framework

Improve accessibility on retrieving information pertaining to UBC on mobile devices

  • Launched a new mobile platform ( that consists of key services such as maps, transportation, emergency alerts, admissions, dining and libraries

Learning Management System (LMS)

Provide a robust platform for UBC's digital learning ecosystem and an integrated and collaborative online learning space

  • Launched Blackboard Connect for 46 pilot courses, 40 faculty and 4,225 students
  • Increased level of engagement across UBC's digital learning channels by providing an enhanced user interface and discussion tools

Lecture Capture

Support flexible learning by capturing educational content on a desktop and delivering it across a wide range of digital channels

  • Deployed lecture capturing services for 18 classrooms across campus


Enhance infrastructure to support leading edge research

  • Provided 100G ultra-high speed network infrastructure and support for a supercomputing research project
  • Supported graduate student research into next generation network infrastructure and protocols and completed five research requests for network communication data captures

Access Management

Simplify access management for users and IT administrators

  • Rolled out a centralized authentication system providing users with a simplified experience of using their CWL login and password to log in to different UBC services

Learning Space Upgrades

Enhance teaching and learning environment with audio visual (AV) upgrades that encourage interactive learning and accommodate a variety of teaching styles

  • Completed major AV equipment upgrade to Woodward IRC Theatres and Master Control
  • Introduced over 30 new AV enhanced rooms across campus
  • Completed 35 AV upgrades to existing classrooms


How is UBC IT Accountable?

How is UBC IT Accountable?

UBC is a diverse environment, with various IT groups supporting the needs of students, faculty and staff across technological, organizational and geographical boundaries. In this setting, it is imperative that UBC IT work in a shared services model that ensures accountability to the UBC community.

To ensure transparent accountability, UBC IT developed Service Level Commitments (SLC) with its clients to clearly describe the services offered and to provide specifics on how the service will be delivered and supported. Historically, it was challenging to commit to a consistent level of service since processes across support teams varied and priorities were not understood in a common way. With a universal framework in place, UBC IT worked with its partners to establish agreements on how commitments will be met for response and resolution times. To achieve this level of formal definition and arrangement, an IT Service Management (ITSM) program was developed to support a collaborative effort across IT partner groups on establishing common service support processes and on transitioning IT teams onto a common technology platform.

The IT Service Management Program

IT has evolved in faculties and departments to meet the needs of end users. Across UBC campuses, there are myriad processes for handling IT service needs. However, a closer examination reveals that regardless of faculty or departmental affiliation, the UBC community shares similar types of technology service needs and IT groups have a shared interest in supporting their client needs with technology services and conducting similar types of work in order to do so.

Given these similarities and inherent service interdependencies, teams from Arts ISIT, Sauder IT and Learning Services, MedIT, the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and UBC IT partnered together with one common goal — to allow individual IT groups at UBC, regardless of faculty, size or budget, the ability to serve their user populations better. Using service management fundamentals, the plan was to design universal process frameworks that focused on the client experience and that could be applicable to any IT environment at UBC.

To date, frameworks that have been developed include a common model for online Service Catalogues, a process for handling IT incidents when something is broken, a global prioritization matrix for SLC agreements for incident resolution times, a process for managing underlying IT bugs and problems, and a common knowledge base for IT support personnel. With these processes being a part of an enterprise service management system, participating IT groups can seamlessly share information and tickets with each other, reducing overall wait times and improving service levels for clients.

"We have experienced improvements in the consistency of how our IT incidents and requests are managed. The ticketing system allows us to easily enter and track progress on incidents, while the establishment of service level commitments has helped set expectations for both UBC IT and the Faculty of Education," says Colin Sharwood, Director of Finance and IT at the Faculty of Education.

With an enterprise service management system in place, UBC IT is able to ensure the processes that deliver support and service are effective, efficient and repeatable, thus minimizing duplication and redundant costs. ITSM also improves accountability to the UBC community by enhancing UBC IT's visibility in its overall service delivery and establishing metrics to report on the effectiveness of the delivered service processes. Since implementing the enterprise tool in June 2012, participating IT groups have recorded close to 80,000 incidents and requests. This is a 98 percent increase from the same period in 2011, which more accurately reflects the number of incidents and requests submitted by clients. In addition, with the implementation of a global prioritization matrix with priority based service levels, IT support groups have consistently met service targets, with an average incident resolution time of just over two business days.

Focusing on optimizing processes in support of IT service delivery has also brought awareness to IT staff to enhance their service management skills through education and training. Since the program's inception, the number of IT professionals at UBC completing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundations certification (a program that imparts a set of best practices in IT Service Management focusing on aligning IT services with business needs) has increased 143 percent, from 30 individuals in 2010 to an additional 73 individuals in 2012.

The Future

To ensure consistent and steadily improving service levels, UBC IT is establishing a program to measure and mark performance across services and teams so it can target incremental process improvements. These improvements will shorten resolution times for common IT incidents and will improve turn-around times for standard requests, such as creation of new accounts or access to existing services, by automating some behind-the scenes process steps. A Self Service Portal is also expected to be launching in 2013 to provide faculty and staff with a single point of contact to submit and track IT tickets.

Goals and Accomplishments

Activity/Project Goal Results/Accomplishments to Date

IT Service Management (ITSM)

Improve customer-facing IT service support and delivery to the UBC community by implementing ITSM processes and tools

  • 73 IT professionals (an increase of 143 percent) completed the Information Technology Infrastructure Library(ITIL) foundations certification, a program that imparts a set of best practices in IT Service Management focusing on aligning IT services with business needs

IT Service Centre (ITSC)

Streamline internal processes to increase Service Centre's capacity to resolve more incidents and requests

  • Developed internal processes with partner faculties that focused on minimizing the reassignment of tickets
  • Created a new role within the ITSC to serve as the designated point of contact to manage consistent communications and processes during escalations
  • Formalized response handling process for critical outages

Performance Reporting

Improve accountability to UBC community by establishing formal commitments and metrics to report on service effectiveness

  • Established processes and frameworks for Service Level Commitments for all major enterprise services

Desktop Services

Reduce implementation time for new equipment purchases

Improve responsiveness of support and increase knowledge of clients' technical needs

  • Improved delivery time for purchases of common items by maintaining an inventory of equipment to provision from
  • Transitioned to zone-based model of support across campus


How is UBC IT Collaborative?

How is UBC IT Collaborative?

Research Support

Research Excellence is one of UBC's three core commitments, along with Student Learning and Community Engagement. With an international reputation of excellence in research and being consistently ranked as one of the top 40 universities worldwide, UBC is committed to conducting research that leads and defines as many different fields as possible. In British Columbia, UBC is responsible for a quarter of all research conducted, bringing in over $500 million a year in sponsored research funds.

IT plays an integral role in the pursuit of research excellence at UBC. Data-intensive research, interdisciplinary research and multi-institutional research are considered hallmarks of the research environment and are heavily dependent, with continual growth, on high performance computation, network and storage.

A System-Wide Research IT Support Pilot

In July 2011, a decision was made by UBC's CIO, Oliver Grüter-Andrew, MedIT's Director of Operations, Christopher Pryde and UBC Okanagan Campus' CTO, Don Thompson to collaborate and cooperate on the development of a new system-wide Research IT Support (RITS) model. Prior to this, there had been no unified support structure in place for the dispersed research community across UBC campuses.

The primary goals of the RITS pilot program were to:

  1. Investigate how IT can support research excellence
  2. Determine the current state of research IT support in UBC Vancouver
  3. Evaluate the value and interest in providing dedicated and specialized IT support for the research community

With a mature and operational RITS model already in place at the UBC Okanagan Campus, the new system-wide initiative would be based on this existing model, with each of the three IT executive sponsors contributing and sharing resources in support of the pilot.

Pilot Program

For the RITS pilot program, discussions were held with 30 individual researchers and research groups across the Point Grey and Vancouver General Hospital campuses. Information was gathered on the state of IT support for research, and common research project requirements were identified (including high volume storage, high performance computing, external access and collaboration, data management planning, confidentiality and security of research data).

As the pilot progressed, a light project management framework was developed to work with researchers. A working group of UBC IT subject matter experts was put together to review researchers' requirements, discuss issues and look at how UBC IT could best align its existing processes and service  offerings to support the needs of the research community. In addition to the three IT groups involved in the pilot, support was provided by other service members including BCNET, (a not-for-profit shared information technology services consortium that is owned, governed and funded by its members, which include British Columbia's higher education and research institutions) and WestGrid (a partner consortium at Compute Canada, a national platform that coordinates and promotes the use of high performance computing in Canadian research).

Pilot Program Outcomes

Many significant outcomes were achieved during the RITS pilot, the most notable being the sponsorship of the Office of the Vice President, Research & International (VPRI); Dr. John Hepburn, Vice President Research & International and Dr. Helen Burt, Associate Vice President of Research recognized the work being accomplished and how it aligned with the vision and priorities for research at UBC. A Research IT Support Advisory Committee (RITSAC) was also formed with participation from the office of the VPRI, members of the research community, IT departments and the UBC Library.

"The RITS pilot has been a valuable resource in identifying the critical information and technology issues facing the research community as we develop a strategy to support research excellence at UBC," says Dr. Helen Burt, Associate Vice President of Research.

The RITS pilot program identified many opportunities for IT to engage and help support research excellence at UBC, including:

  • A Data Management Task Force:

A data management framework is being developed and implemented to support the UBC research community in addressing multiple compliance concerns, such as grant proposal requirements, privacy and security of research projects.

  • Direct Engagement Services:

Direct engagement with researchers in pre- and post-award consultations assists in the alignment of research requirements with IT service partners on campus or external to UBC (e.g., WestGrid and BCNET).

  • Training and Knowledge Transfer:

A shared approach and toolset developed during the pilot with service partners across UBC (primarily the IT groups) builds the capacity for more service providers to collaborate and act proactively to better support researchers.

  • System Level Initiatives:

Other opportunities to develop frameworks and services that will benefit the UBC research community as a whole include Research Computing, a survey tool in support of research studies, data sharing tools and collaboration with research partners external to UBC.

The Future

Building on the positive feedback from the RITS pilot, the next steps for UBC IT's research support model are to move towards a phase one of production in the RITS transformation program. This will involve prioritizing direct engagement services, and communicating current research IT services through a service catalogue consisting of multiple IT service partners including UBC IT, UBCO IT, WestGrid and BCNET. With the sponsorship and support of the VPRI executive, the RITS program will continue to support research excellence across UBC and provide access to a unified and dedicated network of IT service providers.

Goals and Accomplishments

Activity/Project Goal Results/Accomplishments to Date

RITS Pilot Program

Identify opportunities for IT to engage and help support research excellence

  • Discussed with 30 individual researchers and research groups across the Point Grey and Vancouver General Hospital Campuses to understand the current state of IT research support and identify common research project requirements
  • Received the sponsorship of the Office of the Vice President, Research & International (VPRI)

Student Interaction Transformation Project

Transform fundamentals of students' IT experience at UBC

  • Streamlined the application for Major Entrance Scholarship (MES) Awards to coincide with the Broad Based Admissions process
  • Implemented the Go Global Gateway, a streamlined online system to track progress for applicants, participants and active alumni seeking enriched educational experiences
  • Rolled out Early Alert across 12 faculties and 603 advisors to enhance the capability to respectfully record, respond to, and resolve unique student challenges

Client Engagement

Maintain regular contact with units and departments to improve transparency and delivery of service

  • Onboarded 17 units and departments by engaging and assessing their IT environments and transitioning support for their IT services
  • Engaged with clients in over 2,100 hours of face-to-face contact between our clients and client service managers

Community Engagement/Awareness

Foster relationships with the UBC community that includes students, faculty and staff members

  • Launched social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
  • Reached out to 4,140 students, faculty and staff members  through Back-to-School/New Staff and Faculty campus events in September
  • Organized the first IT community barbeque for over 400 IT professionals at UBC


Increase networking services to BCNET partners

  • Implemented a shared NetFlow product to assist in network support for six higher education institutions in BC
  • Transitioned nine new sites in Victoria and two in Kamloops to dark fiber services
  • Completed the shared IT service implementation of DATA-SAFE, Shared Data Storage
  • Implemented a shared router service (Virtual Router Service) for two higher education institutions
  • Provided engineering and operations service to 11 new BCNET partners

University Data Centre

Provide the research community and administrative units high performance computing and hosting capabilities

  • Commissioned a new University Data Centre in the Pharmaceutical Sciences building to centrally house computer infrastructure in a secure and highly energy efficient environment


How is UBC IT Cost Effective?

Working with BCNET

Over the years, UBC IT has worked with numerous technology vendors, ensuring that leading-edge technology is readily accessible to faculty, staff and students to complement their teaching, learning and work experience while achieving cost savings for the university. With a $46 million funding cut from the provincial government this year, higher education institutions had to search for new ways to reduce costs. Suggestions from the provincial government included combining services and sharing services among higher education institutions.

To meet these demands, UBC IT looked into furthering its successful networking collaboration with BCNET. Their first collaboration outside of the existing network service BCNET provides, was issuing a joint request for proposals (RFP) for storage. Since 1988, UBC IT has been representing UBC in BCNET as one of the six Core Members. Other members include 26 higher education institutions (including Simon Fraser University, University of Northern British Columbia, Douglas College and British Columbia Institute of Technology) and 18 research groups (such as BC Cancer Agency, Canadian Space Agency and others) across British Columbia with the common goals and interests of exploring and evaluating shared IT solutions for mutual technology challenges.

The Strategy

UBC is the largest higher education institution in the BCNET consortium and is well-recognized as a leader in establishing successful partnerships with IT vendors. Collaborating with BCNET, UBC IT devised a shared purchasing solution that involves the selection of vendors via an RFP process for solutions that will be available to all members of BCNET. Taking a leadership role in the process, UBC IT (representing UBC) is able to leverage the scale of the combined institutions when establishing new partnerships between the other member sites and vendors. This generates more bargaining power, allowing UBC IT to continue to offer innovative and out-of-the-box IT solutions for its community, while protecting the interests of and cutting costs for members in the consortium.

Shared Purchasing

The process for shared purchasing works as follows:

  • UBC IT partners with BCNET and places a posting about the required product specifications on BC Bid (a database that manages proposals and bids for public sector organizations).
  • Vendors that meet the criteria respond to the RFP outlining their offer.
  • Once the bid expires, a working group of BCNET members (including UBC IT) review the submitted proposals and select the vendors with the best proposals for further communication.

For vendors, a winning proposal results in the ability to work with all the members in the BCNET consortium. Not only will they be working with UBC, they will also be working with other higher education institutions across British Columbia. Furthermore, vendors can effectively streamline their administrative tasks and will not need to contact each post-secondary institution individually, or answer a specific RFP from each member.

The success of RFPs has created predetermined profit margins for software products from software value added resellers (VARs). VARs can no longer charge members in the consortium more than what was established in the agreement that BCNET has negotiated, since they need to consider the volume of all higher education institutions in BC when establishing pricing. With this notion, member institutions can order more software with the same budget, allowing them to continue to meet the growing learning and teaching demands of their community. In addition, time that was spent researching for vendors that meet members' product specifications is now allocated elsewhere. Vendors are now actively seeking to work with BCNET so they can be in contact with the rest of the members in the consortium.

"UNBC experienced a direct benefit on pricing because the vendors were aware of the pricing to which we were entitled through the BCNET RFP and knew they have to at least match the BCNET RFP pricing," says Glen Montgomery, Infrastructure Manager, University of Northern British Columbia.

Additional Cost Saving Method, Shared Services

In addition to shared purchasing, UBC IT has worked with BCNET and other member institutions on developing shared services solutions to reduce costs. This year, BCNET launched "DataVault" which is a storage service that allows users to back up important files out of the Lower Mainland and into the interior of BC. This service began as a test with UBC IT that allowed fellow universities to back up to storage that UBC IT had placed at University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. The result of this test was very positive and became a service in high-demand. BCNET eventually purchased their own storage, which was installed at Thompson Rivers University, and is now offering this service to all BCNET members. Currently, UBC IT backs up all storage to UBC's Okanagan Campus, but will consider the DataVault service when it's time to refresh the current infrastructure.

The Future

With the strategies of shared purchasing and shared services introduced, UBC IT has a few services in production that will demonstrate these two strategies, including a suite of cloud services that offers services such as a virtual server service and a Dropbox®-like service for file storage. These services will be offered to the UBC community and possibly extended to members of BCNET in the near future.

The Savings

Below are some examples to demonstrate the savings that UBC IT has implemented. With servers and storage, UBC IT realized savings ranging from 57 percent to 82 percent. With Adobe products, license subscription is available for clients. Rather than purchasing the full license, clients can subscribe to Adobe for their license annually, at the fraction of the cost of a full perpetual license. Since most Adobe products are upgraded every two to three years, clients can always work with the current release and realize cost savings of up to 61 percent over a three year period.


Server Size Specs



Basic 1GB RAM/32GB Disk/1 vCPU $400/year $100/year 75%
Medium 2GB RAM/32GB Disk/1 vCPU $700/year $125/year 82%
Large 4GB RAM/64GB Disk/2 vCPU $1000/year $250/year 75%


Storage Tier Use Before Now Savings
 Per Year

Per Year

Per Year

Tier I High I/O Databases  $2/gb $0.8/gb  60%
Tier II File Services  $1.50/gb $0.45/gb  70%
Tier III (Research) File Services  $0.47/gb $0.20/gb  57%

Adobe Products License Rental Fee:

Product Before Now Savings Per Year Savings Over 3 Years
Acrobat $91 $15/year 84% 51%
Design and Web Premium $440 $80/year 82% 45%
Master Collection $735 $95/year 87% 61%

Goals and Accomplishments

Activity/Project Goal Results/Accomplishments to Date


Increase savings in procurement of equipment by lowering prices through successful partnerships utilizing a request for proposal (RFP) process

  • Achieved savings for UBC and BCNET members ranging from 57 percent to 82 percent for servers, storage and other licensed software products


Simplify operations and reduce administration of desktop support

  • Deployed a centralized administration tool to 400 machines to provide efficient updates and consistent configurations

  • Deployed an automated tool that keeps servers up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates

Collaboration Tools

Consolidate IT management tools by moving to cost-effective, enterprise-wide solutions

  • Launched a team-based file storage, W Drive, to consolidate file share solutions
  • Retired four different ticketing tools and transitioned a number of email-based teams to the enterprise service management system, ServiceNow
  • Combined directory services with launch of EAD and various integration projects


Decrease administrative costs during recruitment for HR administrators

  • Rolled out an online recruiting system for faculty appointments that eliminates manual paperwork and streamlines the recruiting process

Key Performance Indicators

Number of incidents/requests serviced 43,859 Incidents
28,167 Requests
% of resolutions within SLA 80%
Adherence to budget Revenue - 98%
Expenses - 101%
Number of new onboarded departments 17
Number of desktops supported 5,930
Number of users supported 4,032
Number of people reached through surveys conducted and events attended Events – 4,140+
Surveys – 7,289
Social media followers Facebook - 56
Twitter - 195
Youtube - 7
Network uptime (internet transit availability) 99.9999%
Downtime (seconds) 14
CWL uptime (IAM) 99.85%
Wireless uptime 99.82%
VOIP phone services uptime 99.75%
SIS uptime 99.77%
FMIS uptime 99.89%
Outage time as a percentage of all time (across all monitored services) 0.76 %
Number of resolved tickets versus Help Desk open hours 18.6 tickets/hour
Supported client desktops / laptops that are encrypted 598
Spam messages suppressed 769,996,142 (91% of all incoming email)
Cost Effective
UBC IT spending as a percentage of University spending 2%
Operational spending vs. capital spending 89% vs. 11%
Number of virtual servers 3,000
Number of physical servers 200
Number of VDI terminals 1,036
Number of mobile site visits 655,000
Number of mobile app downloads 1,149
iOS 961
Android 188
Employee turnover 12%
Internal promotions 16
% of budget assigned to training 1%


Client Experience

Client Experience – Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Established in 1946, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences advances knowledge, health outcomes and the profession of pharmacy leading to enhanced societal benefit and optimal patient care. With more than 5,000 alumni, the Faculty specializes in pharmacy education, research and practice. The new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building is a 246,182-square-foot facility and the winner of eight architectural awards including the 2013 Wallpaper* Design Award for Best Lab. With such capacity, significant information technology infrastructure was required for the new building, and UBC IT worked with the Faculty to provide the IT support needed for 110 faculty and staff members, 92 graduate students and 896 undergraduate students.

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences' IT support officially transitioned to UBC IT in July 2012. However, UBC IT's involvement with Pharmaceutical Sciences began in 2010, when plans to move to a new facility were set in motion. The former home of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the George Cunningham Building was constructed in 1961. IT infrastructure and audio visual equipment at the building were well past their prime, and with more advanced research projects underway, it was evident that the current conditions were not on par with what was needed by the Faculty. To determine Pharmaceutical Sciences' IT needs, IT assessments were conducted which analyzed a variety of IT requirements including both technology and resource capabilities. Discussions were also held regularly with Pharmaceutical Sciences' leadership teams, committees and faculty members for feedback and consultation.

The results from the assessments indicated that researchers were looking for high performance computing and IT equipment; more advanced and innovative technologies were required to meet growing teaching, learning and working demands. A greater scale of IT infrastructure and support would be necessary to meet these requirements for the new facility. The integration with UBC IT provided a new IT staff arrangement that included a support team situated at the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, consisting of two IT staff members, a client services coordinator and an AV specialist, in addition to general services from UBC IT such as a 24 hour monitoring service. This level of support is a significant increase compared to what Pharmaceutical Sciences had in place previously – two staff members supporting the faculty's entire IT environment.

"The IT environment at the new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building is beyond what we could have supported with our previous IT resources at our old facility," says Jamal Kurtu, Director of Operations and Facilities Management at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

For a smooth transition to the new building, a designated project manager was hired to coordinate the IT activities and the move was completed in two phases. As the start of the school year was quickly approaching, faculty and administrative teams were transitioned first in July 2012; researchers followed shortly after, during phase two in October 2012. Getting acclimatized to a new environment and adapting to new IT systems such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Enterprise Active Directory can be challenging for faculty and staff. To ensure all IT needs were met, UBC IT's Project Manager, Doug Gregg, contacted each individual faculty member to determine whether the new facility's conditions met their expectations. He made certain that the time that was available was wisely allocated to fix any outstanding IT issues.

"This was one of the best IT moving experiences at UBC. The minute we decided to move, we started planning for IT. IT was the smoothest transition for our move. Even up until today, we haven't had any major issues. Jennifer Burns, Doug Gregg, Alex Etesami, Eric Bourdon, ISPT [Infrastructure Special Projects Team] and everyone at UBC IT deserves to be thanked," added Kurtu.

"The highly successful and smooth transition and centralization of Faculty's IT resources to UBC IT has been mainly due to tremendous collaboration between Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences leadership, faculty members and staff, with UBC IT's Leadership, Client Services and various Infrastructure Teams," says Alex Etesami, UBC IT's Client Services Manager for Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

With state-of-the-art AV equipment and IT infrastructure, and a larger IT support team, the teaching, learning and working environment for Pharmaceutical Sciences has vastly changed. Classrooms are now equipped with capabilities for lecture capture, video conferencing and other advanced technological functionality. Servers and storage are energy efficient and highly secured.

"We have a great relationship with UBC IT and we look forward to continue working with them. It's truly a beautiful building and I feel a great sense of pride and consider it a privilege to work here," says Dr. K. Wayne Riggs, Professor and Dean pro tem at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the time of writing.

Upcoming IT projects that UBC IT will be supporting for the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences include a medical clinic that will be the first in Canada hosted at a higher education institution, and a renovated digital media facility called UBC Studios that will assist Pharmaceutical Sciences and the rest of the University in media asset production and training.

What Are People Saying About UBC IT?

"We've been able to manage our infrastructure very effectively thanks to virtual servers and storage services provided by UBC IT. As a result, we're able to allocate limited resources to what matters for our business."

Mawuena Glymin, Systems Integration Analyst at Museum of Anthropology

"As Sauder continues in their partnership with UBC IT, we have created a culture of collaboration and open communication to ensure the IT needs of our Faculty are being met. As a result, we are seeing positive increased efficiencies and service satisfaction in response and resolution times."

Sandy Tanaka, Assistant Dean and Director of Finance and Administration at Sauder School of Business

"Since UBC Robson Square started working directly with UBC IT in February 2013, we have had a very positive experience and are pleased to have made the transition. Aarti Paul and the Management Team listened to our requirements and were diligent in assessing what service levels we would need. The service team are quick to respond and have been accommodating, helpful and solutions-oriented. Their ability to explain complex IT issues in non-IT terms is very appreciated. We look forward to continuing this successful relationship."

Marni Fraser, Manager of Operations & Administration at UBC Robson Square

"I have been very happy with the help and support we have received from UBC IT over this past year. I look forward to continuing the collaboration."

Gillian Harris, Administrative Manager at Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

"Overall, UBC IT Desktop Staff have been attentive to our needs and have provided service on a timely basis. In addition, we appreciate the professional work of project team members who have assisted us with specific projects for our office"

Mary Hayden, Director of Provost & VP Academic Office


What's Next?

What's Next?

Digital Media Support for Changing Learning models

Advances in technology and the emergence of flexible learning environments have changed the educational landscape. New approaches like flipped classrooms, engaging creative digital assets to support online learning and global access via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have transformed how our community approaches learning and research. UBC IT is leading the way by developing new skills and facilities to create and manage engaging digital assets.

UBC Studios

UBC IT will be launching a brand new digital media facility called UBC Studios. This space will provide the capacity for production and post-production of engaging media assets and the capacity for media literacy training. In addition, software, equipment and operational structures will be implemented to support large-scale media management external to the space via satellite studios and portable media development kits. UBC Studios will provide UBC IT with greatly increased production capacity and a dedicated environment for continued digital media innovation.

UBC Video Share

To support enterprise scale delivery of digital assets, UBC IT is launching a campus and province-wide video management solution in beta for the fall, called the UBC Video Share platform. This platform will provide great enhancements to security, content access, analytics and efficiencies related to economies of scale like storage and transcoding costs. UBC IT will be offering this service to other institutions across BC, taking on a leadership role in this innovative field.


accessUBC is an identity access management tool that empowers the user, their manager or administrator to manage access to a number of enterprise-wide applications from a single, easy-to-use interface. By providing a consolidated record of user access permissions and presenting it to numerous downstream applications, a large portion of account provisioning and de-provisioning can be automated. Users will be given the appropriate access in a timely and seamless manner. The centralization of an individual's persona will also allow for the IT Service Centre to respond with greater understanding and speed to user access related issues.

As our stakeholders grow in number and undergo changes to their various roles (e.g., undergraduate, post graduate, researchers, faculty, staff, etc.) while they're at UBC, their entitlement to services will need to reflect such changes. accessUBC will reduce the complexity and overhead of managing access in an environment of over 100,000 accounts. Furthermore, as addressing security risks continues to be a top priority, certification and auditable de-provisioning of access is becoming a pressing concern.

The accessUBC program will be in pilot phase for all of UBC IT for the remainder of the 2013 calendar year. A soft launch will take place in early 2014 to select faculties and business units.

Student Systems Roadmap

The Student Information System (SIS) Renewal project (under the portfolio of the Student Interaction Transformation Program) will be pausing renewal work in the coming year in an effort to establish a strategic roadmap for the ongoing development of the system. The Student Systems Roadmap will define the three to five year outlook of the business activities and technology related projects required to support the student lifecycle at UBC.

Following significant enhancements to the SIS (including a refreshed architectural framework that supports student success and information security), the roadmap will enable continued transformation of the student experience along with business process improvements and sustainability. The work is being undertaken with significant stakeholder involvement in partnership with faculties, students, and administrative units.

Over the next year, the SIS Renewal will be evaluated on its progress in an effort to identify and outline opportunities for improvement moving forward. Further recommendations will be established to continue to guide the project towards improving the student experience at UBC for years to come.