Managing Technology Resources

Randi from ACR proposed the topic of how to manage technology resources. She says that they are always looking for new ideas and ways to track technology, manage assets, and keep tabs on it all in order to provide top notch customer service.

ACR manages technology for lecture spaces, and manages 800 computers. With this number of assets, she poses the question of how to best manage the computers, especially when they break down or are missing essential programs, in order to not interfere with the user experience.

While ACR has some floater computers, the majority of the assets are on site. ACR currently only learns of a broken computer when someone reports it. There are some cluster techs who proactively check the spaces and submit tickets, but encouraging people to report broken machines or other issues would ensure faster service of broken items.

It was suggested that ACR could make use of QR codes to make reporting an issue easier for students and/or faculty. It was mentioned that some people might not report issues because they are not sure how or the issues occur during a time crunch for the student, so their priority is to get their papers printed and/or finished and will be inclined to move computers rather than follow through with reporting the broken machine.

It was suggested that a pilot QR code program could work, but that there also should be alternative way for people to report issues such as a telephone number and/or website.

Some are concerned that students are so desensitized to QR codes because they are frequently used for advertising. An added incentive to report a broken machine such as a copy machine credit or some other reward might entice students to take notice of the new “See something, say something” attitude towards broken machines or missing programs.

The pilot program should allow ACR to compile some data which shows whether these efforts help improve service for the community.

Monica from the School of Music mentioned that they are looking for ways to plan for error management. She mentions an example of display screens that were added to the facilities with little to no thought on what types of content or how that content would be added to the display. She suggests that bringing in IT and/or technology people during the planning stages would not only help with time-lines, but also allow some workflows to be determined and best practices to be investigated and implemented. This is essential especially when it comes to new technologies because expectations and limitations need to be determined before the technology launches. Many times there is a lot of planning to do behind the scenes. For instance with the screens, there were design aspect ratios as well as content issues to consider before implementing any procedures for adding content into rotation. They needed to find out what students and/or faculty wanted to see on the screens? A workshop during the planning stages would offset any surprises later and allow for adequate planning for these technologies.

When partnering with the broader tech community, you cannot just drop a new system into our lap and think we can run with it. We are working to make things fit, but more assistance or listening has to be done.

In most cases it is the department leadership, faculty members, or students who decide which technology will be implemented.

Back to ACR: It was recommended that departments dealing with computer repair issues use the data that has been collected by Service Now. Determine when the busy time for problems and questions happens. Ask students and faculty how they would like to see the reporting system carried out. How does a technology issue impact them? For instance, faculty members generally prefer having a button to push to request help so that they can continue to teach the class. When the process for reporting a computer or technology issue involves stepping away to a phone, it interrupts class and makes the process cumbersome.

The recent changes in organizational structure and the tools being used around campus used to service and report issues have further complicated things. The new system, which relies heavily on formal documentation and allows for transparency, allows anyone to step in to service the issues. However, while it seems that the new processes would require additional resources, it increasingly feels like we have fewer resources.

QR codes might also be useful to apply to equipment rentals for students. Many times there is a discrepancy with what should be in a camera set and what a student claims to have received. Frequently, the department has had to cover the costs of missing USB cables or other accessories which cannot be documented as borrowed. They have implemented a numerical system of numbering the cables which has helped. However, perhaps a QR code which directs a student to a list of what is in each kit might help cut down on the missing items. It also could be a place where instructions on how to use the kits could be offered to the students.

All of this is about improving the user experience and improving the experience with ITS. There are still times when a cluster tech staffs a location so that the can provide immediate assistance. However, due to demands, those situations are usually limited to busy traffic times like exams.

It was suggested to look at the data from Service Now to determine when people have more challenges and plan accordingly with staff. However, sometimes the same students who are cluster techs also face their own exams or study periods too.

Developing an app for reporting issues might make it easier for students to report broken computers, and in time become a habit. The example of airlines who allow customers to print out tickets at home or download to their cell phone.

“We should think differently on how we leverage technology… Self-reporting. Self-service is the way to go.”

How do we make the smart device the choice of tool for the client to report problems? How do we become evangelists of the technology that people are already using

214 Conference
Time Slots: 
10:00-11:00 am
Discussion Leaders: 
Randi McCray