HITS celebrates major Windows upgrade amid ongoing service improvements

By | February 19, 2020
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To better meet the needs of Michigan Medicine customers, Health Information Technology and Services (HITS) has been working hard to replace devices, upgrade technology, and improve services. Here’s a wrap-up.

HITS celebrates successful conclusion of largest IT upgrade in Michigan Medicine history

In January, HITS celebrated the successful migration of more than 35,000 devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10 – the largest upgrade in Michigan Medicine history.

Planning began in June 2017. Upgrades began in January 2018, and continued for nearly two years. Dozens of HITS staff members, along with numerous contractors and partners, worked together to complete the project. During that time, the project team:

  • Performed an average of 352 upgrades per week.
  • Traveled more than 1,000 miles to upgrade devices in more than 200 physical locations.
  • Upgraded approximately 4,500 devices in University Hospital alone, the largest single location.
  • Replaced approximately 2/3 of Michigan Medicine’s entire fleet of Windows devices.

“We couldn’t have achieved this major accomplishment without tremendous help from the Michigan Medicine community,” said John McPhall, HITS Senior Director for Architecture and Operations Management. “Their willingness to help us coordinate upgrades, and accept the downtime inconvenience was instrumental to complete this effort.”

Ongoing “Own Your Upgrade” self-serve updates give users more options, greater flexibility

The upgrade to Windows 10 also changes the way future Microsoft updates will be applied. Users will now receive notices to self-install more frequent and less disruptive updates. HITS is encouraging users to  “Own Your Upgrade” by choosing the best time for them to apply the updates to their device. 

“Asking users to accept their own Windows updates is a new practice in our environment, but we think most users will come to see it as a crucial to making sure they have the best performance, latest features, and robust information security protection,” said McPhall.

HITS introduces “Linux for Research” option to meet specialized customer demand

While most Michigan Medicine computer users rely on either a Windows or Mac device, other users (especially in research-focused areas) rely on Linux devices. To meet this need, HITS recently introduced a new “Linux for Research” option.

Among the benefits of the new Linux configuration are quicker onboarding to high-speed research networks, better integration with U-M data-storage systems, and enhanced support for both standard and custom computing applications. 

Mac improvements coming soon

HITS is also working to deliver substantial improvements to Michigan Medicine’s Mac devices.  This includes upgrades to its existing Mac platform to improve performance, enable users to use the most up-to-date Mac operating systems, and provide more convenient ways to find and access commonly-requested software programs and applications. 

Additional HITS service enhancements recently announced

In addition to device upgrades/improvements, HITS has also recently introduced a number of customer service enhancements designed to make getting help faster and more convenient — including live chat support, improvements to its service portal, and a new way to schedule appointments at its three Help Me Now drop-in locations. 

Michael Warden, HITS senior director for business IT, said that one thing the HITS consistently heard was that employees want better, faster and more convenient ways to get help.“The introduction of live chat support, improvements to our Customer Service Portal, and offering scheduled appointments at our three Help Me Now drop-in locations are just three ways we’re delivering on that feedback,” Warden said.