Reasoning the relationship between IT Services and Business Needs

“With a projected IT spending nearing $3.7 billions per year, what is the value proposition that the IT organization is providing the business it supports”. This was the opening statement of Mr. Ahmed El-Quosey in his workshop and lecture on the topic of IT Service Management. “The Technology Community has a major challenge in providing end to end practical and realistic guidance, allowing organizations to take digital actions to catch up with the disruption cause by “digital native” organizations". Mr. El-Quosey, who is the director of Key Accounts at Injazat Data Systems in United Arab Emirates, explained. “With an expected $2.2 trillion on digital initiatives in 2019 (60% increase from 2016), IT organizations need to provide their business with a clear value proposition that assist the business in achieving its digital transformation efficiently”, he added. 

For over 18 years, El-Quosey managed comprehensive IT services to key government accounts totaling over $25 million in annual volume. He developed a framework for providing efficient and measurable IT services. In his workshop to the Information Technology Solutions Center (ITSC) staff, he provided detailed examples on setting up efficient processes to deliver infrastructure and application managed services to clients. He discussed the role of the service desk in ensuring effective service operation and how to integrate change and transition in the IT service. 

Graduate students in the IT Seminar course were attentive to Mr. El-Quosey’s case studies on the impact of IT services on the business’s bottom lines, especially when working with utility companies or military agencies. Students asked about the impact of fast paced development cycles employed in agile or extreme development methodologies on the services framework and engaged in deep discussion on how the IT organization can adjust to enable the business to achieve its goals while maintaining stability, efficiency, and security. He concluded with a quick overview of the Gartner’s Run, Grow, and Transform model. 

The ITSC provides IT solutions to government agencies and companies nationwide through teams of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in the University of Cincinnati School of Information Technology. Since its inception in March 2012, the ITSC has enraged in 70+ projects valued at about $1.4 million with teams of 100+ students. The School of Information Technology is one of the nation’s top IT programs over 800 students and significant partnerships including the State’s first Cyber Range. 

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Last Spring, Professors Susan Mahoney and Erik Alanson took 16 students interested in Cybersecurity on a five-day tour to the D.C., VA, and MD region as part of a five-week online course. The trip included a variety of company and government agency visits, such as Learning Tree, Northrop Grumman Innovation Center, Under Armour Corporate Headquarters, FBI, DHS, NSA, and CIA. The Federal Agency visits included tours of the facilities and meeting with recruitment teams, analysts, and intelligence professionals. Students also had the opportunity to explore Old Town Alexandria, VA, Washington D.C., Annapolis, MD, and the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Students shared their experience following the trip:

“The tour was incredible. I had an amazing time. Visiting the agencies that we visited as well as the companies provided us with a great insight into the government world as well as private sector companies.”

“Getting to visit different agencies and learning what each of the agencies look for during the hiring process and experience what a work day is like...Also hearing how to get your foot in the door at each place.”

“Awesome experience. Cannot pass up such a great opportunity.”

In their final course reflection, students reported feeling more comfortable with networking in the field. They discussed having a better understanding of private vs. public sector work and which may be a better fit for them. Following the trip, students felt better prepared in deciding which agencies they may want to seek full-time employment or an intern/co-op.

Professor Mahoney will be offering the course again this upcoming Spring 2019. The class, PD2025, will visit DC, MD, and VA for a Cybersecurity Tour on May 5-11th, 2019 to visit federal agencies/companies and gain an insider’s perspective in the field. The course is open to any UC student with an interest in Cybersecurity. Interested students should complete the interest form* and email with questions!

Click here for the interest form

Second year MSIT student, Sneha Dhekane, received a job this summer with the CECH library. She is responsible for assisting library visitors and maintaining their technology (printers, scanners, etc). Sneha says that one of the benefits of working at the library has been working closely with other employees and student visitors. Talking with others and helping them solve their problems has allowed Sneha to improve her communication skills. Sneha is grateful that the library has a great work environment- everyone is very helpful, supports one another, and shares their thoughts.

Elaine Ignatius, CECH Operational Manager and Student Supervisor, says that the library prefers to hire students from within the college of CECH and that Sneha’s skills in IT are an added bonus. Elaine praises Sneha for being very flexible, cooperative, and willing to help any way she can. Both Sneha and Elaine agree that their work environment is upbeat, fun and they consider one another great friends. Sneha, Elaine, and the rest of CECH Library team look forward to working with students to help make their experience at CECH productive!

Vance Phu is a 4th year BSIT student in the cybersecurity track. Vance started at UC in the electrical engineering program, but realized after two years that IT would be a better fit. This summer, Vance completed his second co-op with FORCAM. During his co-ops, Vance has worked on several cool projects, including helping to create an automated installation process. Before this project, installations could take several hours to a full working day to complete. Now, the installations typically take a maximum of 2 to 3 hours. Vance also had the opportunity to visit Germany to work at FORCAM’s headquarters for a few weeks this summer. Working for FORCAM in Germany, Vance saw noticeable differences in work culture, such as employees taking a coffee break to chat with their co-workers and dressing more casually to work. The work Vance did while in Germany was similar to the work he does here in the US. However, unlike working in the US, Vance was able to consult with specialized teams of developers when he ran into problems. While working in Germany, Vance also had the opportunity to travel to Italy and Austria! Vance is continuing to work part-time with FORCAM this semester while back in school full-time.

Recent MSIT graduate, Abdou Fall, joined the School of Information Technology this Fall as a visiting instructor! Professor Fall was one of SoIT’s exceptional students who accomplished a lot in a short period of time. The key to his success was faith and never losing sight of his mission. Professor Fall moved to the United States from Africa at a very young age. While he faced many challenges, he went out of his comfort zone for a better life and to acquire knowledge. It was difficult to face many adversities, but he never gave up. Professor Fall realized that nothing is impossible during his time as a Master’s student. He had decided to complete his degree, including a thesis, in just one year. He created a plan, followed it, dedicated himself to it, and successfully completed the program and his thesis in just two semesters. His thesis correlates with his life motto of giving back and helping others. It explored improvements to assistive capability so that those living with a physical disability can also maneuver their environment, especially buildings with ease. To do so, his study outlined a step-by-step process. It helped in understanding how buildings can be mapped using drone technologies. They can be used as a method for members of society with physical challenges, especially mobility, to determine ease of accessibility before entering a building. Now, Professor Fall treats the platform of being a professor as a major achievement and understands the importance of getting an education. His hope is to use this opportunity to spread the knowledge and awareness that he has gained from his personal experience and education.

The DITLE project brought together IT professionals, high school teachers, and IT professors in an effort to increase the quality, quantity, and diversity of information technology professionals in the greater Cincinnati area.  This effort focused on 6 CPS and 1 Oak Hills high schools creating a true partnership with the University of Cincinnati and a bridge for the students.  The DITLE project served over 300 high school students and 20 high school teachers in after school IT clubs, IT community events, IT Internships, and an immersive 3 week IT summer camp at UC held every summer.  All programs were free to students and provided resources such as transportation and computing devices to remove barriers for students interested in the field.  As of Fall 2018, 8 students from the DITLE camp have joined the University of Cincinnati in a computing degree and have been given advanced standing in the Fundamentals of Information Technology 3 credit hour course for their work in the summer camp.

“Dr. Wei (PI) and Dr. Ma (co-PI) are planning to use the permissioned blockchain as the fundamental infrastructure to secure large volumes of data in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). ITS has witnessed tremendous advancements along with the artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities.  From autonomous vehicles to urban traffic management, ITS has been playing a vital role in improving the regional and national transportation systems to better serve the movement of people and goods.  ITS, however, heavily relies on big data to realize the intelligence, and data security has always been a great challenge. Furthermore, centralized applications and services in ITS limit their flexibility to take advantage of most benefits out of ITS and are usually subject to single-point failure. We are planning to use the emerging blockchain technology to improve the security and management of ITS. We will use the immutable feature to secure the data transmissions among ITS stakeholders and the decentralized feature to ease the management burden from ITS services and applications. Empowered by the blockchain, we envision that we can establish a more secure and usable ITS in the future.  This grant is aimed at quantifying scalability limits of the permissioned blockchain, the implications of which will serve as the first step to inspire us to efficiently and effectively secure large volumes of data in ITS.”

See pictures of Dr. Xuetao Wei and Dr. Jiaqi Ma.

The School of Information Technology at the University of Cincinnati, through a grant from the National Science Foundation, offers IT education to select high school students.

Experience hands-on learning of current technologies; use state-of-the-art equipment; and learn from college professors and IT business leaders.

Learn more about the DITLE Grant.

Information Technology (IT) is one of the fastest growing disciplines in graduate education today. The reason is simple - Every industry needs IT. We live in a networked, electronic world and rely on always available, secure systems to live, work, and play. We have electronic classrooms, health records, manufacturing, etc. The field of IT is responsible for building, managing, and securing these global systems. There is no other field of study that cuts through so many domains and has such on impact on the world.

UC's Master of Science in Information Technology gives you the hands on skills to immediately solve problems in all of these industries. One of the biggest problems today is now that our world is becoming electronic, we must secure all of the information transferred and stored every day. Our focus on cybersecurity will prepare you to secure software applications, networks, and systems making you a vital part of every organization.

Read more about the IT Grad Program.

The School of Education and the School of Information Technology in CECH have come together to create a unique opportunity for students in the Information Technology program. With this agreement, undergraduate students in the Information Technology program will be able to complete the Masters of Education in Instructional Design & Technology while completing their undergraduate degree, both within the same 5 years it would noramlly take to complete only their undergraduate degree.

Learn more about the BSIT + IDT Accelerated Program.

"Cardinal Solutions, a national IT solutions provider with headquarters in Cincinnati, signed an agreement with the University of Cincinnatis Department of Information Technology on Monday, Oct. 21. In a ceremonial signing at Cardinal Solutions office in Kenwood, Kelly Conway, president of Cardinal Solutions, and Hazem Said, department head of the Department of Information Technology, committed to an ongoing effort to collaborate on information technology initiatives."

"CBTS, a leading technology solutions provider, signed a multi-faceted collaboration agreement with the University of Cincinnatis College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH), enabling the two entities to provide a world-class educational experience for students pursuing a degree in information technology."

"Vali Tadayon has recently received the 2013 Hamilton County Entrepreneurship Award. He received the award with 9 other recipients that included three UC faculty. Vali's patented ThinkingFolders system has been translated into a viable software application. He is working on expanding the application of his system to other domains and is currently working on a prototype with the IT Solutions Center to apply it to higher education domain." - Dr. Hazem Said

High school students at Hayah International Academy ( in Egypt participated in a seminar about the University of Cincinnati on Thursday February 28. Dr. Hazem Said presented UC and the IT program and answered questions. The students, who are in the International Baccalaureate program showed great interest in the coop program, hands-on experience, athletics and were interested to learn about what UC can offer them.

The 2013 George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations goes to Annu Prabhakar. Annu is an associate professor of Information Technology and faculty advisor to the Women in Information Technology student group.

Each year, the UC Academy of Fellows for Teaching & Learning selected faculty members based on scholarly teaching. The AFTL class of 2013 included Dr. Hazem Said, associate professor and department head. Hazem hopes to work with faculty across the University on improving teaching and learning.

Volunteers from the IT Advisory board came together on Wednesday 3/13 to kick off the implementation of the IT 2019 Strategic Plan. Aleth Rhodes, project manager with Great American Insurance Company, has volunteered to manage the implementation of the plan. The meeting included Jim Scott, Parminder Sinai, Michael Beck, and Tom Luhmkuhl. The team discussed the discussed the strategic plan and was able to identify some strategies to build foundation for all projects that stem out of the plan. The team will convene one more time in April before presenting to the IT advisory board meeting in May.

In the last advisory board meeting in November, members were invited to volunteer to take a leading role in implementing the strategic plan. The kick off meeting was the first gathering of those who volunteered.

The IT staffing firm Bluewolf identified mobile, cloud, big data and user engagement as the tech skills most in demand in 2012. The firm says proficiency in those areas could bring in the big bucks this year.
Did you know that a .NET developer could see his or her salary reach the $91,000-to-$137,000 range this year?
Read the full article written by Camille Tuutti of FederalDaily, and the full 2012 Salary Guide published by Bluewolf!

  • Mobile
    Hot: HTML5, iPhone/iPad, Android
    Cooling off: Blackberry, Windows Mobile
  • Big Data
    Hot: MySQL, HBase, Cognos, Informatica
    Cooling off: DB2, Crystal Reports, Business Objects
  • Cloud Computing
    Hot: Eloqua, Marketo, Salesforce, Google Apps
    Emerging: AWS-EC2
  • User Engagement
    Hot: HTML 5, Javascript, UI Design
    Cooling off: Flash, Flex, ActionScript