We think it’s pretty cool when companies reach out and ask our team members to share how we’ve been using one of their tools. And that’s exactly what happened when Microsoft asked JEB Sherriff, Manager of our Operations and Logistics team, to join them in presenting during a recent webinar. We’re pleased JEB agreed to tell us more about that experience.
So, JEB. Tell us what you’ve been working on!
The goal of the Power BI project is to improve efficiency on our campus. This specific project involves documenting our campus network by utilizing interactive maps, digital media streams, and customized databases.
I contacted Microsoft with my idea because I wanted to get their thoughts on the best way to implement it. Microsoft looked at it and said, “You’re going to have to custom code it, and what you’ve done… no one else is really doing this. We want you to do a webinar to show other institutions how you’re using this tool in a completely different way — in a way that they’ve never viewed it before.”
That’s fantastic! How are you using the software?
My team is mapping every IT closet with all of the information for each one including what kind of power it has, where it’s located, and what it looks like on a map. This project will not only help new employees but also technicians that do cabling or installations. They are able to know exactly where the building is and all information on that specific IT closet.
How did the webinar go when you presented this with Microsoft?
Really well. We had about 50 connections with multiple individuals per connection tuned in. Viewers were from higher education institutions like Harvard, Iowa, and Kansas State.
How do you think this will impact other IT organizations in higher education?
It could be a cost savings measure. Technicians can gain the information they need from the dashboard instead of having to physically go out to every single building they aren’t familiar with. For example, we recently had a meeting with a customer who wanted to knock down half of the building for renovations. During one five-minute meeting we were able to find out that the IT closet in that building shared the same space as the main breakers, so they determined that they did not want to cut that part of the building off. Not only was that cost effective, but it allowed them to make informed decisions based on data in a timely manner!
We’re so glad you’re working on this. Last question: What is your favorite thing about working in OU IT?
The people! Also, every day is a different challenge here. I enjoy having the ability to engage with students within the OU IT community and also through teaching. Often students will come to me with ideas and say something like “Hey I really don’t know how to get this off the ground. Can you help me?” It’s great to be able to give them advice and the right resources to help advance them in their careers.
We love seeing new ideas come to life. Thanks for talking to us today, JEB!