Author Archive for ucUserz – Page 2

Going the distance

April 5, 2017

Whether on a bike or at work, CSS IT’s Eric Avila always goes the distance. So it was no surprise that when Avila found a problem, he followed it all the way to the finish line. 

Eric Avila

Eric Avila

CSS IT maintains an inventory of standard computers and equipment. To save customers time and effort, orders are handled from start to finish including the BearBuy portion. Avila noticed a pattern of inaccurate ticket information from clients and CSS IT zone technicians that caused a lot of lost time in relaying information.

Puzzled by this persistent problem, Avila turned to the data and concluded that the CSS website was the clear choice to get better details to customers and CSS IT’s own technicians. (The IT pages had few visitors because the information wasn’t clearly outlined.)

Avila researched solutions, and began experimenting with ideas for a product catalog. He had four metrics in mind:

  1. Look and feel
  2. Ease of set up
  3. Sustainability and maintenance
  4. Room to grow

For Avila, testing the various options and learning how to use them was “a fun way to gain new skills.” He also had multiple meetings with his team and other key stakeholders to gather feedback that would improve the end result.

In collaboration with the CSS communications team, the IT Equipment Catalog was launched in January, and soon became one of the top ten places customers look for information on the CSS website. According to Kyle Pope, Deputy Director, CSS IT, “Eric did a great job of taking information that was unclear to our customers and translating it into English.”

Although he still has more ideas for expanding the catalog, Avila says, “Just launching it was a success, and helping our  campus customers and teams be better informed by providing the resources and education was crossing the finish line.”

For a behind the scenes look at delivery in action, watch this video!

Taking Care of Business

March 30, 2017

Adam Grimaldi

Adam Grimaldi

What would happen if technology at UC Berkeley’s number one rated business school came screeching to a halt? This was at the forefront of CSS Business Technical Analyst, Adam Grimaldi’s mind when he noticed that Haas School of Business would soon run out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, the very thing allowing traffic to flow over their internet.

Grimaldi discovered that there were approximately 2500 IP addresses, all of which needed to be checked manually, and these would soon run out, leaving thousands of faculty, staff, and students without internet connection from the school. He proactively reached out to the Haas Technology Solutions team to solve the problem by switching the static addresses to dynamic ones. His solution also brought  Haas’ IP addressing into alignment with the campus standard.  

Working with the Haas Technology Solutions team and IST Telecom, who provided resources and connections to other campus partners, Grimaldi led the project to completion in six weeks without anyone losing internet connection. This beneficial and transformative work reduced time spent on delays caused by this issue from days to hours. According to Grimaldi, “The project resulted in a dramatic improvement in client relationships. It’s less stressful and much faster.” His supervisor, Lois Wareham, agrees, “The planning, collaboration, preparation, and careful execution resulted in a resounding success. This is such a big win for all teams involved.”

To achieve this, Grimaldi collaborated closely with partners from Haas Technology Solutions, Tony Cricelli, Charles Lam, Robert Lozano, Ramon Soto, and Usha Manandhar in addition to the campus hostmistress, Kellsie Adams, from IST Telecom.

Director IT Enterprise & Research Computing and Deputy CIO, Haas School of Business, Barinder Flanagan says, “Haas Technology Solutions has a very strong partnership with the CSS IT zone teams, and the Service Desk team. As a result, we have accomplished technology improvements that are helping us provide excellent customer service to our clients and making work more efficient for staff on all teams.”  

Kellsie Adams, Adam Grimaldi, Tony Cricelli, Ramon Soto

Kellsie Adams, Adam Grimaldi, Tony Cricelli, Ramon Soto

Photo credit – Celia P. Chu

New IT Equipment Catalog

January 17, 2017

Do you need to order computer equipment or upgrade your existing equipment? CSS IT has just made it easier to view our standard selections. You can check out all of our options in the new IT Equipment catalog!

Once you’ve decided, follow this process to start your order.

Defying Gravity: Supporting a Franklin Institute Award Recipient

How does it feel to know you supported the research for a 2017 award-winning Physicist?

November 17, 2016

Munira Tarmohamed

Munira Tarmohamed

“So rewarding” says CSS Research Administrator, Munira Tarmohamed. “I was at home, browsing the internet when I learned about the news, it was very exciting!” The news was one of her Principal Investigators, (PIs) Professor Marvin Cohen, is one of eight recipients of the prestigious 2017 Franklin Institute Award. These awards are given in various fields for achievements in science and technology and was originally founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1824.

Professor Cohen, a Physicist here at UC Berkeley, was honored for making atomic-scale calculations of the properties of materials so detailed that new materials and their mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties can be predicted in agreement with experiments.

Says Munira, “Hearing this exciting news makes you appreciate what our researchers do on a daily basis; they do so much. Awards like this one really make them stand out from others. To know I supported his work was very rewarding.”

Munira manages one of Professor Cohen’s core grants funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Professor Cohen’s work is mostly theoretical which means that the transactions are not as bulky as those on the experimental side of research. With continuous monitoring, his fund continues to be well managed as required by agency and institutional policies.

Examples of how their partnership works

Professor Cohen reaches out to Munira for different matters related to his grant and they have a strong working relationship. He calls on her for advice and support in understanding the various financial transactions involved. In turn, Munira tries to enlighten him with the campus systems such as PI Portfolio and BearBuy. Munira provides ongoing support to Professor Cohen with increased support when preparing the documentation for their NSF proposal and later, managing all the purchasing and payroll expenses that are needed to support the research work. Recently, she helped Professor Cohen understand and clear concerns about some  charges that were incorrectly posted and they took steps to correct them. Professor Cohen  routinely consults with Munira about other grants and often calls on her expertise, knowing she is a trusted advisor.

CSS RAs provide outstanding service to researchers all across campus. This is just one “award-winning story” of CSS supporting the Berkeley mission of teaching, research, and public service.

You can read more about the 2017 Franklin Institute Award here and specifically, Professor Cohen’s award here. Most notable past recipients include Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, and Bill Gates. Professor Cohen is continuing his work in nanoscience and nanotechnology and Munira continues to support those research efforts.

Please take our 30-second survey to help us continually improve upon this communication and make it meaningful for you.

June 2016 Metrics

Controller’s Office announces fiscal close deadlines

May 13 2016

This week, the Controller’s Office announced that fiscal close information for FY2015-16 is now available on the web at:

Though this year’s fiscal closing steps and deadlines are similar to those in previous years, we’ve simplified it. For tasks in which Campus Shared Services plays a role (denoted by **), the deadlines listed already have CSS timeframes incorporated; no second set of CSS dates are needed. Please review the information to ensure that all relevant steps are taken according to the schedule. Submitting requests to CSS by the dates listed will ensure that they are processed in accordance with campus year-end timelines and guidelines.

If you have any questions about the fiscal close process, you can contact your CSS Service Director, CSS Human Resources Partner, or your Business & Financial Services manager or supervisor.

What you need to know about the BFS cyberattack

March 2, 2016

  • On Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 the campus announced that it is mailing notification letters to about 80,000 current and former students, employees, and vendors about a cyberattack on a UC Berkeley system that stored their Social Security numbers and/or bank account numbers.

  • Those impacted would have received a payment from UC Berkeley as a student, employee, or vendor estimated between the time period of 2004 through 2015. Most were non-salary payments.

  • There is no evidence that this sensitive information was actually accessed, used or acquired. Notices are being mailed so that individuals can be alert to signs of any possible misuse of their information.

  • If you are among those potentially impacted, you will receive a letter in the next few days from ID Experts on behalf of UC Berkeley. Each letter has a unique activation code to sign up for free credit monitoring services, insurance information, and other resources.

For more information, please review these FAQs or call toll free at 844-746-4685 (international 503-520-4458).

BFS resumes normal operations

January 11, 2016

The Berkeley Financial System (BFS) and ancillary systems that interact with BFS – including BearBuy and the Travel & Entertainment reimbursement system – are back online.

This outage had a significant impact on campus business and Business & Financial Services will be working diligently to get the pending requests processed as quickly as possible.

Contact the BFS/BAIRS help desk at 510-664-9000 (Option 1) for additional questions.

January 2016 CSS Update

January 8, 2016

The second issue of the “CSS Update,” our communication effort to keep you, our campus partners, informed has been released.

Our goal is that this update provides you the information you need to provide timely feedback and prepare for changes. For more in-depth information, please continue to turn to your CSS Service Director and the supplemental information that is linked to within the document.

Please take our 30-second survey to help us continually improve upon this communication and make it meaningful for you.

The Impact of the BFS Outage for CSS campus customers

January 7, 2016

The Berkeley Financial System (BFS) and ancillary systems that interact with BFS – including BearBuy and the Travel & Entertainment reimbursement system – have been taken offline to investigate potential security risks. BFS will remain offline until approximately Monday, January 11, 2016.

We realize this outage has a significant impact on campus business. A list of impacted systems and workarounds is available on the System Status page. Here’s what CSS is doing as a result.

Business & Financial Services

B&FS has been working with Supply Chain Management for emergency purchases. Departments can contact B&FS or use their own bluCards for low value purchases. Contact your department’s Campus Buyer for major purchases (over $4999).

B&FS has processed a number of emergency orders from campus units using CSS bluCards.


IT is seeing increased call volume and number of tickets related to the outage. IT will post updates to the System Status page dynamically as information becomes available.

More Information

Visit the Technology website for more information about the outage.

Contact CSS IT or the BFS/BAIRS help desk at 510-664-9000 (Option 1) for additional questions.

Campus Resources for Lab or Office Supplies

The MCB Storerooms in Barker Hall and Life Sciences Addition are available to the entire campus.  They are currently fully functional and while they primarily carry laboratory supplies (chemicals, enzymes, labware, etc.), they also offer office supplies.

To learn more, visit: or

To open a new account with a valid chartstring, visit: