Reboot for IT support

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mains masculines sur un clavier d'ordinateur portable
By Jacqueline L. Oliver

Information Technology is working on a series of changes to transform the IT support model at uOttawa. This move started a year ago with internal discussions that focussed on initiatives to improve the IT support model so that professors and support staff could become more productive and even more empowered.

With the exponential increase in consumer devices, such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones, people are much more knowledgeable and resourceful when it comes to  technology. This improved knowledge base opens the door to approaching Service Desk functions differently.

“I think that the new IT reality is that many people are used to looking up information; I believe the knowledge-centered support model we are developing will meet their needs”, said Daniel Trottier, Service Management Director, Information Technology.

What’s been done so far?

To lead and sustain the significant shift in thinking necessary to implement  this new vision, the University created the position of Service Management Director. Daniel Trottier started the job in January 2015. We then reorganized our section to give helpline supervisor Denis Dagenais more time to triage and tackle pending requests, and provided him with two students to handle quick requests.

We added more knowledge-based articles to provide IT staff with more solutions to problems. We implemented a specific process to follow up with clients: Service Desk analysts started booking appointments for callers unable to proceed with work instead of having them wait for a second-level support analyst to call them back.

One persistent problem was the number of password-reset calls to the Service Desk, which accounted for nearly half of all business. At the beginning of September 2015, we implemented a new telephone queuing system that directs callers with password issues to a separate taskforce group, leaving Service Desk analysts with more time to handle complex problems.

A new password reset service will be introduced in early 2016. Telephone queuing services will then be modified so that the next-most-common issue will replace the password reset activity tackled by  the small taskforce.

Thanks to these efficiencies, we have created extra capacity, which means that Service Desk analysts can now devote more time to resolving complex problems. We are changing how we work so that we can serve you better!

“Helping students, professors, and staff be more effective and productive is a key priority for IT. The changes we are undertaking will allow clients to find answers when it is most convenient for them, and not just during University business hours”, concludes Danielle Levasseur, CIO, Information Technology.

IT by the numbers

The Service Desk receives help requests through its call-in centre, walk-in centres (Montpetit Hall, Morisset Hall), and its web-based help form.

Password resets accounted for 43% of calls to the Service Desk (aka 6555).

Thanks to the new telephone queuing system and the redirection of password issues to a separate workgroup, the call abandon rate has dropped by 13%.

Before September 2015, if an analyst was not immediately available, callers would typically hang up after 2.5 minutes.

The Service Desk receives approximately 250 telephone calls per day; during September, this rate goes up to 500 calls per day.

Approximately 65% of incidents received at the Service Desk are resolved on the same day and another 20% by the end of the following day.

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