Volume 19, Number 3
Spring planning and cleaning!
While enjoying the warmer weather this week I was reminded that it’s nearly time to open all the doors and windows and begin annual spring cleaning -- getting fresh air in the house, organizing the linens and sweeping out the cobwebs of the previous winter. The same concept could be applied to our work -- we need to open the doors and invite input and direction on agency priorities about current and future technologies.
Springtime at VITA includes two very important planning opportunities for agency input -- the annual technology plan and the IT strategic plan. The 2021 annual technology plan (ATP) is underway and the information gathered from the agencies this winter is now being compiled from March through July. The ATP provides a rolling three-year projection of anticipated changes to the Commonwealth's IT infrastructure and is a comprehensive and powerful tool for looking and planning ahead. It is designed to guide the Commonwealth to an innovative, efficient and secure IT future. The plan will be submitted to VITA in early August; we will hold agency briefings on the outcomes and final documentation in late August or early September.
This week the IT strategic planning (ITSP) season kicked off for Commonwealth agencies with notices about their virtual planning sessions. These sessions provide the larger Commonwealth view as well as the agency level perspective. The ITSP communicates how agency business needs drive IT investment decisions for our customers and the Commonwealth. I look forward to reviewing the plans this summer and working with agencies to align their IT investments to support their business goals and objectives and those of the Commonwealth.
Speaking of shared goals and teamwork, last week, Government Technology announced the honorees of their annual “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” for 2021. I am humbled and grateful to have been recognized among talented leaders across the country, and I’m grateful to each of you and our partners for our collective progress and success. With the support of Gov. Northam’s administration, our outstanding VITA team, our customers and many other stakeholders, and the input of customer agencies executives and staff, together we can look forward to achieving new levels of excellence. Thank you for the support.
The 2021 virtual Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security Conference is open for registration. The theme of the conference is “2021 Cybersecurity Reboot: Tools for building cyber resilience.” In addition to break-out presentations, the conference program will feature two keynote addresses.
Conference participants will have the opportunity to:
We encourage you to register now as we expect the conference will reach maximum capacity. There are still a few presenter spots available, please contact Maurice Coles if you are interested. Registration is free for those presenting.
We are proud that our very own Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Nelson Moe has been named as one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers of 2021. In its 20th year, the national program has honored more than 500 individuals for their ingenuity in public service and leadership in technology innovation. As leader of VITA and CIO, Nelson oversees Virginia’s technology infrastructure, assets, security and critical government connections between citizens and state agencies.
The Top 25 awards program recognizes IT leaders who meet public sector challenges and improve performance of critical programs. In addition to his exemplary COVID-19 response, Nelson recently oversaw the transformation of VITA’s business model from a single-source provider model to a multisupplier model, one of only three currently in the nation, which offers a diverse portfolio of services for optimal operating performance and enhanced customer service. He also spearheads the Commonwealth’s evolution to cloud technologies, including an ongoing project to move all 65 state agencies’ servers to a cloud-enabled data center, which is well ahead of schedule.
Beginning April 15, Google Workspace will no longer support the Internet Explorer (IE) 11 browser. Google Workspace includes Gmail, Calendar, Chat and all other Google supported applications. Although still accessible via IE 11, some Google Workspace applications might not open or function properly. For the best user experience, please use the Chrome browser to access Google Workspace.
Beginning April 2, agency personnel who use Digital Fuel will have a new and easier way to access the monthly IT services bill.
For now: nothing is changing in the platform; continue to access the monthly IT services bill in the same manner.
Beginning April 1: there will be a new and easier way to access the monthly IT services bill. Only the login process will change. Beginning April 1, please use the login process described here.
Later this year, VITA will transition to a new ITFM platform. The new platform will provide enhanced transparency with added capability and flexibility on an industry leading user-friendly product suite. Specifically, the new platform will provide several capabilities we know are important to agencies:
Additional details and invitations to attend training on the new tool will come later this year. VITA is leveraging lessons learned from the 2019 ITFM go-live to anticipate agency needs and preferences.
This transition reflects continued focus on evolving and innovating to meet and exceed agency expectations. While this transition will require time and engagement from agencies—the VITA team is working hard to make it as seamless as possible.
Google has increased the number of delegates that can be assigned to a mailbox from 25 to 1,000 individuals. A mailbox delegate is an individual who has permission to manage a mailbox, in addition to their personal mailbox. The maximum number of delegates simultaneously logged into a mailbox is now 40.
For more information on mail delegation and how to add and remove delegates, refer to the mailbox delegation knowledge base article (KB0018373) located on the VITA service portal.
Improved install experience and reduced delivery times for new Xerox devices
Recently, Xerox engaged their physical device custom configuration center (DCC). The DCC was designed to improve the user experience and reduce delivery times for new Xerox devices. Xerox will pre-load all VITA- approved configurations, affix asset tags, add IP addresses (if provided), install card readers based on each agency’s unique physical badge, add user self-help documents like the self-mapping instructions and test the features and functions. All new orders placed in the VITA service catalog will be processed through the DCC.
Agency testimonial: “The last two desktop printers I installed that were pre-configured were the easiest to install by far. Just being able to unbox the printer, hook it up and have it working was amazing. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but we had such trouble getting the printers installed correctly that having to do nothing but hook up a printer was a breath of fresh air. While I know it would be a lot of work for your staff, having all new printers shipped like this would be a great help to my staff.” - Jason Evans, DBHDS IT Director Eastern State Hospital
And a thank you…
Thank you to an agency end user at Virginia Department of Health (VDH) who submitted a suggestion to improve the Google resource request form. To address this request, we did the following:
We are always looking for new ways to enhance our offerings. We welcome your input and invite you to submit suggestions via the improvement suggestion form in the service portal.
In an effort to help streamline where COV users get information, WCS has moved its support resources to the VITA service portal. Here, you will find FAQs, quick start guides, recorded trainings and third-party Microsoft support resources for COV-supported Microsoft services and MyHub.
Below is a list of knowledge base (KB) articles that are currently available. As new information becomes available, these resources will be updated and new KB articles will be created.
In January, we updated the way that fulfillment request due dates are calculated. The change accounts for the time spent awaiting agency approval. Fulfillment time frames were previously being impacted by the time required for agency approval. Currently, requests, with an established service level agreement (SLA) for fulfillment, have the due date reset to the pre-determined allotted workdays (as defined in the SLA for that specific catalog item) upon agency approval. For example:
For all account fulfillment requests (such as onboarding) that do not have an established SLA, the due dates are reset upon agency approval to a standard 14 business days. However, delivery of fulfillment remains the same as always by all suppliers. All requests are worked in the order they are received and best effort is made to fulfill requests as quickly as practical.
To assist with IT strategic planning, VITA is holding workshops beginning this month.
In the coming weeks, agencies will receive an email with dates and times. Each agency must attend one workshop; attendance will be recorded. AITRs are required to attend a session. Additional agency representatives involved in IT strategic planning are welcome and encouraged to attend.
We will frame agency IT strategic planning within the larger context of Commonwealth planning as a whole, while conveying detail for how this looks at an agency level including:
May 31 is the deadline for submitting agency IT strategic plans. If you have questions, please contact the IT investment management team.
Please note that the Microsoft Teams add-on for Google Calendar can only be installed if your agency has opted in to Google Drive.
To address the challenges that come along with scheduling a meeting in Teams, the Microsoft Teams meeting add-on for Google Calendar is available for installation. This add-on gives WCS customers the option of scheduling a Teams meeting right from their Google Calendar.
Instructions for installing the add-on can be found in the installing the Teams meeting add-on for Google Calendar knowledge base article (KB0018375) via the VITA service portal.
A few things to note:
On April 1, 2020, T-Mobile completed the acquisition of Sprint Solutions. VITA's contract for Sprint rate plans was extended through June 30, 2021, in order to facilitate a transition from Sprint-branded rate plans to T-Mobile.
If your agency is a user of Sprint Wireless services, please convert your current Sprint users to T-Mobile as soon as you can. There should be no change in your service coverage and services may actually improve as a result. Agencies may find that some older phones and equipment may not be T-Mobile-compatible and will need to be replaced. You can work with the Sprint/T-Mobile state account representative, Michael Girardi, to determine what the impact to your users will be and if an existing device will need to be replaced. If agencies do not complete the transition by June 30, there is a remote possibility that they could lose service on affected devices since the contract does not provide for continuation of Sprint services past that date.
Did you know you can reopen a request that is not fulfilled correctly?
Users now have the ability to confirm if a service request has been fulfilled correctly. If there is an issue, users can now click the "Reopen my request item" button in the confirmation email. Previously, users were asked to reply to the email if the service request was not fulfilled. This functionality works the same way as unfulfilled incidents.
The VITA team is in the final stages of solicitation for the IT contingent labor contract. The team expects that the award will be announced by May. To allow agencies ample time to transition, VITA has extended its current contract with CAI through December 30. More information will be shared as it becomes available, as this remains an active procurement.
VITA is currently conducting its twice-yearly customer satisfaction survey. Identified staff should have already received an invitation. Participation in the survey is essential as we use the feedback to monitor the performance of the multisourcing model and identify opportunities for both platform and organizational improvement. Survey responses are tracked and reported to VITA leadership, customer representatives and other stakeholders.
If you did not receive the survey and believe you should have received it, please check your spam folder. If you need assistance in getting access to the survey, please contact us. The survey will close on Wednesday, April 7.
VITA is preparing to transition our current electronic signature service to a new, more cost-effective model. Two webinars are scheduled that will provide an overview and demonstrate relevant use cases for this new service. Current electronic signature customers, and those who would like to learn more, are encouraged to attend one of the sessions. Please choose a date and click on the link below to register.
See below for the list of classes available in April in the ITISP learning management system (LMS).
The LMS is available via the training widget on the VITA service portal homepage—providing easy access to training registration and CBT courses. We invite you to review knowledge base article KB0018324 to learn more.
(Note: The ITISP LMS is not a replacement for the current DHRM enterprise LMS solution.)
Incident management – April 8, 2 – 4 p.m.
Service catalog – April 15, 11 a.m. – noon
Change management – April 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
HARP for submitters – April 20, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Request fulfillment – April 27, 11 a.m. – noon
If you have any questions, please contact the VCCC at 866-637-8482.
VITA has learned that some state employees have received unsolicited inappropriate text messages on their work cell phones. We know that carriers are actively trying to address the problem, but, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet, app or security appliance that reliably addresses text spam or unwanted messages. Here are a few ways to deal with this issue:
Throughout the year, especially around the holidays and during tax season, you extend your cyber footprint by paying bills, shopping, using social edia and many other digital activities. Cleaning your technology and cyber footprint can do the same thing; it removes clutter from your life while at the same time protecting you. To help you spring clean your technology and cyber footprint, this month’s security tips offer a checklist to help you through the process.