The Computer Centre of the University of Maribor (CCUM) is the central ICT infrastructure centre, ensuring access to ICT services and information for research, teaching and non-teaching staff as well as students of the University of Maribor (UM). UM has approx. 15,000 students and approx. 1,800 employees. CCUM, which acts as the central IT support unit, has 19 staff members (19 FTE). Selected services are outsourced (in the extent of 2 FTE).
All activities of the CCUM are planned and implemented in accordance with the relevant University strategy. The CCUM communicates with over 30,000 users (employees, regular students, students who terminated their studies, and graduates), mainly through competent support staff of UM faculties (ICT coordinators, staff of offices for student affairs, e-learning coordinators), who first attempt to resolve any issues in the local environment, in line with their powers and responsibilities. Automated user privilege management extends to over 250,000 privileges. The CCUM prepares and organizes tens of meetings and trainings per year (for ICT coordinators, e-learning coordinators, employee training for Headquarters staff, training on Moodle e-learning app, training for staff of offices for student affairs / study organization departments, presentations of ITC services for faculty staff, project meetings, presentations of the security policy – ISP, etc.). The CCUM communicates with support departments of the Headquarters and support departments at faculties on a daily basis.
The CCUM cooperates
with external stakeholders through relationships with various partners, entities
(by engaging in exchange of expert opinions, training seminars, conferences, presentations),
and external service providers (project implementation, maintenance,
procurement). Our achievements did not go unnoticed: CCUM’s successful work in
identity management (IDM) led to Dell, one of the leading global IT
corporations, highlighting the CCUM in a case study (“shining example of best
practice in the region”). Working with contractors requires a great deal of
cooperation from our staff, ranging from the development of change requests, to
monitoring, understanding, introducing and using end solutions.
In the period
2010-2015, the CCUM underwent material staffing, organizational and
content-related changes. In addition to change of management (in the Department
for Computer System Maintenance and Development and the Department for IT
System), the majority of changes were introduced with the aim of improving the
work environment, enhancing and supplementing skills and competencies of our staff,
enhancing the level of IT services and duly documenting all processes and
The staffing situation stabilised in 2016, however, the workload has since increased materially, without the number of CCUM staff members following suit. The difficult economic situation, in which we are unable to secure adequate workforce, and with regard to the fact that all urgent tasks need to be performed despite understaffing, this has a material impact on the quality of service. In addition, the shortage of staff commonly leads to work overload of the existing staff. Another significant aspect is the high vulnerability associated with high staff turnover, as a small part of the team covers very complex systems, and highly skilled team members cannot be replaced in the short-term (e.g. in case of their absence) or during the period of notice in case of departures. Low pay grades of important positions of employment present an additional impediment, because even if new hires are approved, it is difficult to attract suitable candidates who would be able to work in the CCUM. The work of the CCUM is highly complex and carries a high level of responsibility, as well as a high level of professionalism and quality of output.
With regard to computer
systems, the overarching objectives were system standardization and
consolidation (e.g. virtualisation). Today, a robust and flexible network and
server infrastructure, which is regularly monitored by means of an integrated
monitoring system, regularly updated (all hardware and software is regularly
updated to the latest version), and continuously maintained, is operating
without major disruptions or errors. In addition, we defined various internal
processes and standardized procedures.
After focusing on the IT service offer and appointing administrators, significant efforts were made during the past years with regard to employee training. Our team started out with zero (0) certificates, whereas today, our staff hold more than 10 industry certificates, which allows us to use equipment and systems at higher capacity, and put our professional competencies to proper use. We regularly transfer our knowledge to other users and co-workers in various meetings and trainings.