Delivery of IT Services

The Delivery of Technology Services and the Role of ITS
For Arts, Science & Engineering, The School of Nutrition Science & Policy , and The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy

Purpose
This document details the transition of technology services from a centralized service provided by TCCS to a decentralized service provided by Arts & Sciences. It is intended to be a document encouraging input, questions and discussion among faculty and staff in academic and administrative departments who will be affected by this policy.

Background
The decision to use a decentralized technology services support model was made by the University wide ITTF (Information Technology Task Force) in January 1996. Since then the A&S ITMT (Information Technology Management Team) has interpreted this decision and made recommendations for implementing this model in A&S.

In collaboration and cooperation with ITC, TCCS and other school-based IT groups, Information Technology Services (ITS) will be the A&S group responsible for implementing the new model. ITS will provide IT services such as technology planning and consulting, system and application design (not provided to Nutrition), instructional services, training and documentation, and desktop support service, while coordinating resources with TCCS and other A&S departments, and ensuring user satisfaction. In addition, ITS will be contracted by The School of Nutrition, Science & Policy and The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy to provide the same services.

Therefore this policy is based in part on the decisions and recommendations of the ITTF and the ITMT . Furthermore, decisions and recommendations made by the Desktop Standards Committee, and the FSP (First-Line Support Providers) Transition Committee will be incorporated in this proposal as well.

Outline
This document is comprised of the following sections:

  1. ITS Staff delegation of responsibility
  2. Services provided
  3. Service Requests
  4. Hardware and Software standards (see ITS Standards)
  5. Service Standards (see ITS Standards)

1. ITS Staff Delegation of Responsibility

Information Technology Services (ITS) will have the responsibility of providing technology services and support to academic and administrative departments within Arts & Sciences, Nutrition and Fletcher.

Exceptions are departments presently receiving desktop support from Student Services. ITS will act as a resource to these departments by providing training and documentation (as we do to other A&S departments), diagnostic tools, and advise, but is not responsible for support. ITS will provide assistance to the Student Services departments to help offset vacations, etc.

In addition to other positions, ITS consists of seven (7) Information Analyst positions providing consulting, planning and advice, system and application support, training and documentation, and desktop support.

With the number of Information Analyst staff proposed and the number of users/computers in A&S, we must have a clearly defined set of expectations and be organized in order to be effective. Therefore, ITS will distribute technology services to departments by categorizing departments in a logical way. Each department will fall into a category based on discipline: Academic & Student Services, Engineering, Humanities & Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, or Nutrition/Fletcher.

These categories will vary in size based upon the number of departments from which they are composed. Within ITS, Information Analysts will be assigned a 'discipline' as an area of responsibility. Some disciplines may get more than one Information Analyst assigned and some Information Analysts will be responsible for more than one discipline. Each discipline will have at a minimum one primary staff assigned and one backup/alternate assigned to ensure adequate coverage. Cross training will be necessary to make sure primary and secondary support staff are sufficiently versed in the detail support for each discipline; such as the text intensive needs of departments in the Humanities & Arts or the specialized statistical/computational needs of departments in the Sciences. The reasoning for this structure is twofold:

  • Ownership and Responsibility
    Each department will know the person(s) responsible for providing service. Information Analysts will be direct liaison between A&S and TCCS resource providers.
  • Develop Expertise
    Staff will better understand the unique complexities (platforms/applications) and underlying business needs of the group.

This structure is not intended to be overly rigid, and as circumstances arise that call for additional support in a particular area, surely we will be able to adjust. However this approach does set basic guidelines and creates order and understanding both for those requiring support and those delivering support.

2. Services Provided

ITS staff will have responsibility for the distribution of technology services and will work in conjunction with TCCS to see that the best service is provided, duplication of effort is minimized, and standard policies and procedures are followed whenever possible. ITS staff will be responsible for solving the technology problems of faculty and staff and coordinating efforts with other departments/organizations as necessary. In this way, faculty and staff will not be bounced from one service provider to another.

Services will be categorized in the following ways:

  1. Consulting and Planning
  2. System Design and Development
  3. Instructional Services
  4. Desktop Support
  5. Training and Documentation

Consulting and Planning

  • Consult with departments on ways to use IT in teaching, research, administration and communications
  • Identify new technologies to allow Faculty and Staff to be more productive/effective
  • Provide project management in the introduction of new systems and applications
  • Evaluate hardware and software products and make purchasing recommendations
  • Provide information on University standards and TCCS services
  • Function as liaison between departments within Arts & Sciences, and between departments and TCCS

System Design and Development

  • Develop and maintain school-wide and departmental information systems

Instructional Services

  • Provide services in support of teaching and learning; operation of computer labs, electronic classrooms
  • Coordinate services, policies and procedures with departmental labs

Desktop Support

Acquisitions

  • Stay abreast of current and emerging standard products and pricing
  • Assist users in acquiring hardware and software

Installation

  • Install Macintosh and DOS/Windows and UNIX systems, operating systems, printers and peripherals
  • Install standard supported applications acquired by department members
  • Install standard supported network cards and software
  • Work with TCCS to assign and configure IP addresses
  • Create Banyan accounts, user profiles, print and file services
  • Configure modems and network printers, scanners, etc.
  • Distribute software upgrades

Troubleshooting

  • Correct problems with Macintosh and DOS/Windows systems, and the applications running on them in the department
  • Work with TCCS to identify and resolve problems on departmental UNIX and VMS systems
  • Correct user problems with TCP/IP, Banyan, and other network software running in the department
  • Remove viruses, restore files from backups, memory conflicts, file conversions
  • Oversee repair of hardware and hardware upgrades

Training and Documentation

  • Provide informal and formal training sessions on standard supported systems and applications in department.
  • Develop documentation on departmental standard procedures and applications
  • Obtain vendor information for department users
  • Document and encourage standard procedures for data backup, removal of viruses, maintenance of software licensing and other appropriate records
  • Inform users about their "User Responsibilities" as defined by the ITMT for A&S. See below.

    Note: ITS does not support home PCs except to the extent to troubleshoot ITS remote access solutions. For example, if you decide to use Trumpeter webmail and are having trouble, ITS will troubleshoot - to the best of its ability over the phone - to assure that these solutions are properly installed and used. ITS will not troubleshoot any further if the problem appears to lies in the PC/Mac itself (modem, memory problems, etc.) or with the ISP (Internet Service Provider). Resources will be dedicated to remote/home support as are permitted by workflow and may vary accordingly.

User Responsibilities
It is important to ensure users make effective use of I.T. systems, and that ITS contain the costs associated with providing desktop support. Knowing how to use I.T. appropriately should be regarded as part of the professional responsibilities of faculty, staff and students. The list of user responsibilities should include:

  • To use standard hardware and software wherever possible
  • To communicate with other users in standard formats
  • To acquire training in the use of their system (as necessary to do their jobs) by attending training classes, keeping available and reading instructions, manuals, etc.
  • To follow standard operating procedures for backups, software installation, troubleshooting
  • To use their systems responsibly and ethically as University assets to do their jobs.

3. Service Requests

ITS services can be requested as follows:

  1. Consulting and Planning
  2. System Design and Development
  3. Instructional Services
  4. Desktop Support
  5. Training and Documentation

Consulting and Planning
Planning and introducing new IT solutions and technologies will be an ongoing function of ITS requiring no special request process. However, if IT consulting for a school-wide need or issue arises, route the request to either the Faculty Computing Committee or the Administrative Computing Committee. If the issue pertains to a departmental need or issue, contact the ITS HelpDesk. Service requests will be responded to within five (5) business days. At that point the request will be discussed at an internal ITS staff meeting to decide the need, feasibility, resources required, and any action necessary. An ITS Programmer/Analyst or Information Analyst will contact the requestor to continue the process.

System and Application Development
To request a school-wide system, system change, application or application change, route the request to either the Faculty Computing Committee or the Administrative Computing Committee.

To request a departmental system, system change, application or application change, use the web based form for requesting such service. Service requests will be responded to within five (5) business days. At that point the request will be discussed at an internal ITS staff meeting to decide the need, feasibility, resources required and any action necessary. An ITS Programmer/Analyst or Information Analyst will contact the requestor to continue the process.

Instructional Service request
To request services in support of teaching, learning and research and/or using the A&S computer labs, contact the Assistant Director for Instructional Services.

Desktop Support
See ITS Standards for a complete review of desktop support services.

Training and Documentation
Training and documentation will be an ongoing ITS function requiring no special request process. However if a special training and documentation need or issues arises, use the web based form for requesting such service. Service requests will be responded to within five (5) business days. An ITS Information Analyst will contact the requestor to continue the process.

4. Hardware/Software Standards

5. Service Standards


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