Last Friday (1/24/2014) saw our campus experience multiple service disruptions. Both were service provider issues – one with Box, the other with Google. In both cases, the services were resolved in a timely manner. Both the Box and Google status pages were kept up to date.
What was required from OIT to resolve these interruptions? Communication and vendor management. We did not have to burn hours and hours of people time digging in to determine the root cause of these issues. We did not have to bring in pizza and soda, flip charts and markers, bagels and coffee, and more pizza and more soda to fuel ourselves to deal with this issue. We did not work late and long into the night, identifying and resolving the root cause.
Why? Because we have vendors we trust, employing more engineers than we have humans in all of OIT, singularly focused on their product.
I was part of the team that worked through our Exchange issues last fall. I will be the first to tell you that the week we spent getting to operational stability was a phenomenal team effort. We had an engineer from Microsoft and all of the considerable talent OIT could bring to bear to solve our issues. And solve them we did. Yes, we worked late into the night. Yes, we fueled ourselves with grease and caffeine. Yes, we used giant post-its and all the typical crisis management tools.
Everyone on the team did not get much sleep, did not spend the typical evenings with their families, and displayed their remarkable devotion to their profession and to our University. Everyone on the team was elated when we solved a gnarly set of technical issues and got to operational stability. And everyone on the team did not relive that experience this past Friday. They were able to focus on their core mission.
We have moved all the way up the stack of abstraction in the space offered by both Box and Google. It is something to celebrate, as it allows us to relentlessly focus on delivering value to the students, faculty, and staff at our Lady’s University.