Technology can be complicated, but using it to further the teaching, learning and research missions of the university should not have to be. This goal led UTech to strengthen its commitment to connecting students, staff, faculty and alumni with informational training materials that make technology resources and professional development more accessible and approachable.
The division leveraged MediaVision’s high-definition video recording capabilities and Adobe Connect to present 10 live training sessions broadcast from the MediaVision studios at the Cedar Avenue Service Center. UTech Connect sessions ranged from exploring new features of Google Mail and Calendar to offering a comprehensive tour of SlideRocket. The live sessions appealed to a large variety of skill sets found within the Case Western Reserve community and garnered more than 700 views. They are recorded and placed on Case Western Reserve University’s YouTube channel, and procure both national and international audiences. The School Board of Sorel-Tracy, a city in southwest Quebec, Canada, incorporated UTech Connect: Using Google Forms as part of a broader training series for 450 district teachers surrounding classroom technology.
The UTech Connect training sessions provide the university with additional training that supplements the division’s partnership with Lynda.com. UTech expanded its partnership with Lynda.com, which allows Case Western Reserve users to enjoy a personalized experience that includes customizable playlists, bookmarking capabilities and progress-tracking functionality. These personal capabilities allow faculty to create and distribute a predetermined series of two- to four-minute videos that can be viewed outside of class to maximize the students’ experience.
Lynda.com continually expands its library of software and professional development videos to provide visitors with useful knowledge on a range of subjects. During fiscal year 2013, Case Western Reserve students, staff, faculty and alumni viewed nearly 6,000 hours of training video on Lynda.com.
One example of an outstanding partnership is with our service desk and operations center vendor, CDI IT Solutions. According to Dave Uhrin, enterprise support leader for ITS, the “efforts in knowledge transfer, adherence to our ITIL/HDI-based methodologies in incident management and the dedication of CDI analyst and leadership teams form a valuable and highly successful service offering for the campus community.”
CDI was named the 2013 Outsourcer of the Year by HDI, the professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry, on Thursday, April 18. CDI received this award due to its commitment to excellence, efficiency and service quality based on the HDI Support Center Standard, developed by the HDI International Certification Standards Committee, which consists of more than 25 practitioners and experts from around the world.
The ITS Service Desk routinely receives approximately 3,500 requests for help each month. It reaches and exceeds its service-level agreements by answering calls to 216.368.HELP (4357) within 20 seconds, resolving 81 percent of problems on the first call and maintaining a 4.5/5 customer satisfaction rate. “We are very pleased with CDI as a vendor partner,” says Michael Kubit, director of Run for Information Technology Services. “CDI is terrifically collaborative and has become highly integrated with the university’s IT community. CDI reflects our commitment to outstanding customer service, as well as the continual improvement of what already has become a best-in-class service desk offering. I’m thrilled that the industry has recognized them for this effort.”
Expanding the role of the IT Service Desk in key areas, such as Blackboard Learn and the Software Center, ensures that users are connected to a knowledgeable resource even faster. Dedicated training during fiscal year 2013 enabled the Service Desk to assist 10 percent more users than the prior year, which increased overall customer satisfaction for the year. More than 81 percent of calls received by the IT Service Desk were resolved during the initial request for assistance. The division also trained the Service Desk to execute recurring operational tasks, such as resetting a user’s available downloads on the Software Center. By addressing more service requests pertaining to Blackboard Learn and the Software Center, the Service Desk provides users with a quicker response time while releasing ITS resources to focus on service improvements and innovation.
Additional vendor partnerships allowed us to leverage their expertise and free ITS resources to reallocate internally toward other strategic initiatives. Some examples of the ways team members were reallocated include:
- shifting two employees from deskside support to project management and process mapping
- bringing in network engineers to allow focused attention on the creation of a robust Telepresence service
- outsourcing some project management activity to expand the number of concurrent projects
Faculty and staff members also benefited from training initiatives to support changes in business processes during fiscal year 2013. For example, four, two-hour training sessions were developed and delivered to the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. A group of staff and faculty members participated in the program, which provided training on the Google Apps for Education Suite and shared ideas about how it could be utilized to further the academic and operational endeavors of the school.
The training team also was presented with a business challenge by a group on campus that created and distributed paper travel documents in individual binders. Each binder was distributed in advance, was cumbersome to carry, could not be updated easily and was not accessible through mobile devices. A solution was developed for that group, and they were trained to convert the process to an electronic travel binder that now is accessible on an iPad or mobile device and easily can be changed or updated remotely.
ITS is practicing LEAN Six Sigma, a data-driven methodology for eliminating defects in processes by following DMAIC principles. DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, utilizes customer input and metrics to free bottlenecks in workflow, streamline communication and gather requirements that are critical to the quality of service.
During fiscal year 2013, ITS completed more than 25 process improvements, which resulted in increased capacity, productivity and communication across the division and the university. Some of these improvements included:
- Recommendation of an automated solution for ordering cellular phones, which ensured faster fulfillment periods to the end user
- Routing Software Center download reset requests through the Service Desk to reduce customer wait time.
- Identified the need for a ITS skills database to determine how the skills of ITS staff can be gathered, stored and shared across the division. This resulted in faster resource identification for the support of services and ensured that skills are utilized more efficiently.
- Identified a solution for tracking ITS desktop and laptop inventory to prevent over-ordering and to promote the sharing of inventory throughout the university community
The simplification of the processes that were reviewed freed more than 4,000 hours within ITS. As a result, that time was reallocated to directly focus on the needs of the university.
In 2007, the ITS Information Security Office created a five-year Enterprise Security Plan, a comprehensive guide to information security policies and procedures at Case Western Reserve. The fiscal year 2013 revised Enterprise Security Plan aligned security goals with the university’s and ITS’ strategic plans, and it outlines the top information security risks to the campus. These include exposure of restricted information; identity/account compromise; the university’s open and permissive network; compromise of trust in the university’s brand/reputation; the increased prevalence of unmanaged mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones in the IT environment; abuse and misuse of university IT services by faculty, staff or students who are a part of the organization; and lack of awareness of applicable compliance requirements for information, such as social security numbers, personal health information and credit card information.
The plan will continue to be revised then shared with the campus in order to help secure the university’s IT services against threats to their integrity and usability, and empower members of the university community to utilize the technology services available to them in a safe and secure manner.