OIT Technology News: November 2013

Fall Edition

Help Desk News:  

New Staff, New Hours, New Enhancements

The Help Desk team provides technical support for faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and other members of the SMU Community.  We take great pride in continually assessing our performance as well as reviewing customer feedback.  We have made a few changes recently to enhance our service delivery.

New Staff: 

We welcomed a new staff member during the month of October. Amber Clark has joined the team and is quickly learning the ropes.  She has several years of technical experience at a University Help Desk, and therefore understands the nuances of our environment!  She has a BA in writing studies with a focus in technical writing.  She loves to help people be empowered by technology.  We are thrilled to add her to our team.

New Hours:

The IT Help Desk is staffed by 5 full time employees and several student workers.  The student worker team manages the walk in requests for support while the full time staff is primarily on the phones and answering emails, chat sessions and tickets.  During the evenings and weekend shifts, our student workers are responsible for answering the phones and chat sessions as well.  However, they aren’t able to offer the same level nor the same breadth of support offered by our full time staff. 

In order to better support the University community, the Help Desk will be staffed by a full time employee Monday through Saturday to ensure that faculty and students have full support during Saturday classes.  Phone calls or requests made on Saturday between 9am-3pm, will be answered by a full time Help Desk Consultant rather than waiting until the following Monday.

Full time help desk staff are available during the following hours:

Monday–Thursday: 8:00am-6:30pm
Friday: 8:00am-5:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am-3:00pm

The desk is staffed by our student team during the later shifts and full time on Sunday.  During these hours, support is limited to password resets, general questions about wireless, email or other services.  If emergency assistance is needed, the student team or customer can activate the emergency pager which is carried by our full time staff.  If it is not an emergency but can not be resolved by the students, a ticket should be entered so our full time staff can follow up the next business day.

Our Help Desk “Lite” service (student staffing only) is available:

Monday through Thursday: 6:30pm-9:00pm
Friday: 5:30pm-9:00pm
Saturday: 3:00pm-5:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am-9:00pm

In between semesters and during the summer, our office is typically closed on the weekends.  We follow the Fondren Library Center building closures posted at http://smu.edu/cul/flc/. If the building is closed, emergency assistance is available by calling the help desk phone number and leaving a message on the emergency line.

New Enhancements

Online Chat: We first introduced our online chat service two years ago.  However, it wasn’t well staffed or well used.  We adjusted the staffing responsibilities for the chat sessions utilizing our full time staff and our student worker team.  We also implemented a webform that opens a ticket in our system whenever anyone attempts to begin the chat session. If we aren’t available for the chat session, we have the information needed to follow up with the customer to get the issue resolved.  During the first two months of the semester, we saw a tremendous increase in the number of chat sessions.  Several of these requests were coming during hours when the help desk was closed.  Therefore, we made one more enhancement to the initial webform.  That form now shows if there are any representatives logged on and ready to accept your chat session. 

Help Desk Software—Extending to Other Departments:  We continue to work with other groups on campus with a need for a ticketing software.  We’ve added several groups to the help desk software which allows customers to submit a wide range of requests via help.smu.edu including Residence Hall and Apartment Maintenance requests, Lyle IT requests, Guildhall IT requests, Lyle Distance Ed Requests (new), CUL, OIT, and a few others.  Utilizing this same system makes it a little easier for the campus community to open a request. It also make it easier for the various groups utilizing the software to transfer requests to other departments when appropriate. 

Redesigning the Network Registration Process for Residents: Planning is underway to streamline the device registration process for individuals living in the residence halls.  Currently, devices can be connected to multiple networks each with a unique configuration and registration process.  As individuals are bringing more and more devices into the Residence Halls and as our on campus residential community nearly doubles in size, we are committed to help streamline and simplify that connection process.