As I walk through the crowds of students getting their VCU ID cards, I realize just how quickly the new academic year will be here. Though we do tend to be able to take some vacation time over the summer, the work does not stop. Through your efforts, we continue to make progress on large projects and initiatives while keeping our operations running. This month, I’d like to highlight two critical projects that represent important investments in VCU’s future.
Research Network Update
Work continues on the build-out and upgrade of the research network known as ResearchNet. There are two pieces that make up this network. First is the logical ResearchNet which can be extended to any location on the network. Second is the high-speed backbone within ResearchNet. Being part of ResearchNet does not automatically mean that that location is on the high-speed backbone. Planning and design will need to occur for any area that has a need for the high-speed bandwidth.
Currently there is a 20 gigabit backbone between the UCC and Harris Hall data centers, with 10 gigabit connections to Sanger Hall and Bio Tech One. Bandwidth to actual workstations is 1 gigabit at this time. In addition, planning is underway for extending 10 gigabit to Richmond Academy of Medicine. Over the next several months, upgrades will have a single dedicated switch located in the UCC to provide a concentration point for all campus locations with an interconnection speed of 83 Terabits. Connections to Sanger Hall, BioTech One, and within CHiPC and UCC will be upgraded to 40 gigabit, with 10 gigabit possible to the desktop.
RADAR – Development and Alumni Relations’ new CRM system
As you may be aware, Development and Alumni Relations and VCU Technology Services recently partnered to conduct a very thorough RFP process to select an enterprise CRM (constituent relationship management) database solution. As VP for Development and Alumni Relations Marti Heil recently announced, the VCU team selected Blackbaud eCRM as the new system. A naming contest was held, and the system will be called RADAR (Rams Advancing Development and Alumni Relations).
Support from the Technology Services team will be critical as we move through implementation. The project team will finalize a conversion timeline in the coming weeks and is committed to the goal of having the database operational by the start of FY 2016. Blackbaud eCRM (https://www.blackbaud.com/fundraising-crm/blackbaud-nonprofit-crm) is a robust and comprehensive solution that combines all the functionality and database features required by a complex fundraising operation like VCU’s. Blackbaud eCRM is currently one of the leading database vendors in the fundraising industry and is used by large, prestigious schools such as Yale University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill and Indiana University. As such, this product will allow the VCU Development and Alumni Relations team to dramatically improve current business processes, as well as expand into new offerings that will greatly enhance fundraising and constituent management at VCU. Information on the project can be found at http://www.support.vcu.edu/about/CRM-Project/.
I hope everyone has been or will be able to enjoy some time off before back-to-school hits, and I thank all of you for your continued hard work.