For those that don’t know, I work at a higher ed institution in IT. Specifically I started as a student employee at the central helpdesk, then moved to work as a sys admin, then manager at the Journalism school for over a decade.
For the last couple years, our CIO has been working toward centralization/consolidation/unification/buzzword of IT on campus. This is partially because campus has “haves” and “have nots” as far as IT, and also in an attempt to get ahead of any discussion on cost cutting/savings. State funding has wained for years, and every few years budgets get scrutinized/cut and people start asking “how can we save money?” When the vast majority of expenses are FTE (people), you have to start looking at job cuts. But, when you’ve centralized, and eliminated a lot of the redundancy, and are offering more consistent services across campus, it’s hard to come and say “you need to cut services”. This theme is playing out across campus as things like Communications, Business offices, HR, etc are all slowly consolidating for various reasons above and beyond cost savings.
Related to this, we launched a “Transform” process where working groups were built to plan the future. What did we want to do? Part of the process was also to highlight things that campus needed and were missing, and if we could use this as a chance to implement. In my case, we formed a Device Management group to plan and pitch for a Device Management team that would handle managing macOS and Windows computers across campus, iOS/Android, and also ideally handle lifecycle management (purchasing, surplus/food chaining, and disposal). Campus already had a few Jamf Pro instances, and a couple SCCM/MECM instances. There were no campus standards for computers, but many departments had standards. Some departments were heavily macOS (Design, Journalism) and some were heavily Windows (Business, Administration), but most departments were mixed, and management was extremely inconsistent across campus (some were entirely managed, some were partially managed, and some had almost no management because of lack of knowledge, or faculty resistance).
The outcome of the work was to have support for campus broken into 4 different support units. Academic North, Academic Central, Academic South, and Admin (handling the bulk of the administrative units). Then there was the central helpdesk that would continue to handle non-employees, and personal computers, and then Enterprise Device Management, or EDM. The support zones were just going to absorb the existing departmental support based on where they were, the helpdesk was largely going to stay the same, but EDM required interviews since it was determined none of the existing people on campus were doing that job already (this was arguable, but whatever). Those of us that were doing the job all applied, and got the jobs. It was 4 primary EDM Admins who did management of fac/staff and departmental machines on campus with both Jamf and MECM. Then a labs team who would handle the academic labs across campus.
Which is where I come in. I got one of the EDM Admin jobs, so my job now is 100% device/computer management which is what I wanted. I was a Sys Admin and enjoyed it. I got promoted to being a manager (and still did sys admin stuff), which I didn’t overly enjoy. I always felt I preferred a “lead” position more than a “boss” position.
While all this was being planned, we had our final recommendations, and things were moving along… then COVID happened and everything got pushed forward much faster because campus had to go 100% online in very short notice, and we all had to work together. Many of us started doing our jobs before we got the jobs officially because of this. We stood up a much larger VDI infrastructure to offer online labs. We also took on much of campus computer purchasing, and campus software licensing. We also went about standing up a brand new MECM instance (that was clean and would JUST handle things supported by the new support), and a new site in our existing main Jamf Pro instance to handle macOS and iOS devices.
Anyway, greatly enjoying new job. It’s a great team, and has given many of us team members we can trust to handle things if we take vacations, are sick, etc. Many of us were solo in our previous jobs and being on a team is a huge win.
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