Many are becoming increasingly aware of the significant increase in demand for PC support services on campus. This has come about for several reasons. The number of PCs has increased, and the number and complexity of applications being used has also increased. In addition, computers are being used to a greater extent and are becoming an integral part of our daily work. The distributed data entry, reporting and inquiries that are now possible have contributed to this. Loss of functionality in an individual's personal computer can severely impact a person's productivity, or even their ability to do their job at all.
In recognition of the increased demand being made on support resources, Information Technology Services (or ITS, formerly Andrews University Computing Center) made a request for additional personnel to strengthen PC support services, beginning in the 1997-1998 fiscal year. Three new positions have been created, taking the department from two full time staff to a total of five.
Structural changes are also being implemented to facilitate an improvement in the focus and quality of services being delivered. At the departmental level, the ITS group that was previously responsible for PC support has been separated into two departments - Client Services, and Servers & Networks. The name “Client Services” indicates the focus. That group has responsibility for the computer store, PC support and academic support. Then within that group, the five PC support staff have been divided into teams, with each team headed by a full time staff member and supported by students. The buildings on campus have been divided into sections, with each section assigned to a support team. This will improve the continuity, follow-through and local knowledge of staff delivering support. A Help Desk system is to be implemented later this year to better facilitate calls for assistance from ITS. In the interim, all calls for assistance should continue to be made to extension 6016. The request will then be passed on to the team that serves your building.
These changes and the additional personnel will significantly improve the quality and timeliness of services provided. However, along with the approval that was given to create the three new positions in the budget, ITS is required to fund the entire cost for these new employees through income received for their services.
This will necessitate some changes in our billing procedures and policies. Firstly, our labor rates, which have remained constant for the past five or six years, will be increased to $24.00 per hour for services provided by staff and $12.00 per hour for services provided by students. This change will become effective on Monday, July 14. Another less obvious change is that it will be necessary for ITS to charge for all the time a technician spends working on a repair or installation to the department. In the past, we may have absorbed part or all of the charges on some occasions, but this will no longer be possible. Further changes relating to hardware and software standards are being developed.
Please Note: Departments will be charged for the entire time that technicians spend working on their system.
This is defined to be:
Service provided on out of warranty items will be charged for on a time and materials basis.
This is defined to be:
Consulting in the use of applications may be available through seminars, but it should not be assumed that technicians will provide this.
(These notes were written at 5:00am on the morning of the second day of the Ameritech Conference. They are only a collection of thoughts that were floating around in my head as I was making.)
Hardware standardizationNo one will dispute the fact that productivity gains are possible for a support organization when hardware purchases are made according to standards. The reverse of this is that lack of standardization creates an expense with no added value.
Ameritech has been sponsoring a series of seminars and workshops in southern Michigan called the Faculty Development Technology Project. At a recent meeting held at Albion College, two institutions where the Information Resources Divisions are experiencing high user satisfaction ratings made presentations describing their support operations. In both cases, keys to their success were:
Hardware standardization is achieved at these institutions through centralizing all computer-related purchases. This results in considerable gains in productivity of support teams, and in asset management. ITS believes that this is a desirable objective, and that the University should prepare plans for moving in this direction.It is imperative that the university as a whole should maximize the value of its support staff by implementing policies that enhance the productivity of the teams delivering support. Accordingly, ITS recommends that Andrews University adopts a policy on hardware and software standardization as outlined in the following statement:
Computer Standardization Policy Statement
ITS will support:
Where other hardware or software is purchased, those making the purchases will be responsible for making their own support arrangements.
Hardware Purchase Guidelines
Approved Software List