TSS Project Initiatives Underway

November 19, 2013

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On Monday, October 14, senior campus leadership approved changes to the ITS Support Services model as recommended by the Technology Support Services Project leadership team.  Changes include a consolidated support staff, a realignment of duties and responsibilities, and a centralized location for support.  Approval marks the end of the project’s planning phase and signals a transition to implementation, some of which has already begun. 

A consolidated Support Services staff

At the core of the new service model is a consolidated support staff incorporating the ITS Help Desk, current ITS support personnel, ResNet, and three external IT support staff members (Joe Traynor-Library, Josh Savoy-ResNet, and Jim Wiese-EMS).  A second EMS support person, Tom Starling will stay in EMS supporting the computers connected to instrumentation.  Having most IT support staff under one roof allows for increased consistency and accountability across processes on campus. All ITS Support Services personnel will report to the Director of Support Services, Tonya Stappert effective January 2, 2014.

Realignment of roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities of support staff members have been realigned to better utilize the experience and expertise within the team for the good of the entire campus.  The new model creates a pool of talent that will be called upon where most needed, replacing support “silos” where an individual team member was responsible for all tech support within his/her area regardless of circumstance.  In the new model, each professional support team member will also provide front line support and mentorship alongside student employees at the Help Desk beginning spring semester.

In addition to day-to-day issue resolution, each Support Services team member will act as a department liaison and/or a specialist. Liaisons will create a bridge between departments and ITS, relaying department needs at a project level, participating in project resolution, and representing ITS in technical discussions within their areas.  Specialists will be responsible for systems and equipment within their expertise as well as training others as back-up support.  These coordinated efforts will allow ITS to serve the community more efficiently.

Serving as the core of the new Support Services team are:

Jerry Copus
Greg Riley
Jim Weise
Patti Mitch
Joe Traynor  

The new model also includes three redefined positions: hardware asset manager, software asset manager, and software specialist.  These team members will focus on centralizing and streamlining how we purchase, prepare, and inventory software and hardware as well as how we image machines.  We are happy to announce the following individuals will be serving in these new roles:

Sean Wolfe, Hardware Asset Manager
Matt Thompson, Software Specialist
Ken Wiegman, Software Asset Manager
Sean, Matt, and Ken will also serve as ITS liaisons to several departments.

The transition from current support positions to the new roles and responsibilities has begun and will continue gradually over the next few months.  Details on the specific liaison/specialist assignments will be shared with departments during the coming weeks. Every effort is being made to ensure there is no loss of customer service during this time.

A centralized location toward a single point of contact

Finally, the new support services model calls for a centralized location as a major step toward a single point of contact for technology support services at UW-Platteville.  Establishing a support services “headquarters” that includes Help Desk operations allows for easier real-time collaboration between staff members, increased communication among management and the team, and additional coverage at the Help Desk during high-volume service times—all of which translates to improved service for our customers. To accommodate this goal, Support Services and the Help Desk will be moving to a new home.

By early Spring 2014, most of the consolidated Support Services staff will be centralized with a new ITS Help Desk on the first floor of Karrmann Library.  For customer convenience, Support Services will continue to maintain the ResNet office in Royce Hall as well as a satellite office in Engineering Hall. 

Preliminary planning for library renovation has begun with Pete Davis and Geri Zauche of Physical Plant in cooperation with Zora Sampson, Director of Karrmann Library.  Renovations are scheduled to begin over the winter break.

Plans to move the hardware and software operations from Gardner Hall to the basement of Karrmann are still being negotiated.  Hardware and software operations will remain in Gardner Hall until the basement of Karrmann is reconfigured, probably in Summer 2014.  Watch for further details on the relocation including new Help Desk hours in December’s Discover IT, Campus Updates, the Help Desk’s Latest News, and in various outlets around campus.

This move to the Library will coincide with the extension of the Help Desk hours of operation to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays effective Spring 2014.  We will continue to staff the Bears Den computer lab with a lab consultant who will also provide e-mail and phone support after Help Desk business hours and until the Student Center closes each weeknight and on weekends.  Detailed hours of operation will be announced before the end of this term.

Two managers will oversee the day-to-day operations of the newly-combined Help Desk.  Josh Savoy will become the new Help Desk Manager, running the Help Desk and ResNet service points and supervising all student IT personnel. Current ResNet and Help Desk student employees will be cross-trained to work at either location. In addition, Josh will act as liaison for Residence Life, his current employer.

Current Help Desk Manager Nathan Manwiller will become Support Services Operations Manager, responsible for administering Footprints (our issue tracking system) as well as facilitating Footprints training, reporting from Footprints, ensuring service calls are completed and closed on a timely basis, and assigning tier 1-2 projects.   Nate will also serve as a department liaison.  Tier 3 project assignments will be handled by the Director of Support Services.

Going forward, there is one campus technology contact: the ITS Help Desk.  One of the biggest customer challenges revealed by the 2012 Huron efficiency study was confusion over whom to call for technical support. At that time Huron identified almost a dozen ways a customer could report an technology issue or request support service on campus.  Though a true single point of contact is a phase or two away,  the combination of ResNet and Help Desk operations under joint management and the centralization of the Support Services team are positive steps toward that goal. 

Whether you live in the residence halls or work in a campus office, whether you are student, faculty, staff, or visitor, the ITS Help Desk will be the first point of contact for all technology service at UW-Platteville.  Contact information remains the same:  608.342.1400 or helpdesk@uwplatt.edu.

The final TSS Project recommendation was the result of numerous team meetings over the past year; engagement from staff in Media Technology Services, Karrmann Library, Residential Life, EMS, BILSA, LAE, faculty, HR, and ITS; hours of discussion on many fronts; and thoughtful feedback from the executive steering committee.  We trust these changes will allow us to serve you more efficiently and effectively.  Your patience is appreciated as we work through the necessary transition period.  If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact Sue Traxler (traxlers@uwplatt.edu), Tonya Stappert (stappert@uwplatt.edu), or Deb Meyer (meyerdeb@uwplatt.edu).

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