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The Work Update

Lots of stuff happening at the Help Desk. New people and new services being taken on and a new desk? Maddness!

New People:

They are working out well. One is working on the Microsoft 365 deployment project along with our student advisor (who got the other 8 month contract). The other two take turns on the desk and taking on and learning about the different issues and processes we deal with on the desk. One like to take on about 10 things at once and it's hard for the rest of us to keep track of what he's doing. The other seems to keep his workload small but there are some processes he needs to learn more about (like taking a ticket from the IT queue and assigning it to himself if he's going to respond on an issue). I've done my best to help them along and make them aware of how to work through certain requests.

New Desk:

It has been a work in progress for most of the month. The library circulation desk is being expanded to accommodate our presence on the second floor. The parts of the desk had to be designed and built over at the physical resource department, then they were brought over and assembled. We've had the electrical guy and the cabling guy out trying to run these wires and cables up into the ceiling and across and down a pillar and through the desk. The reason this is happening is because we have an opening in the desk so it's easier and faster for us to get into and out of the service desk area, not to mention we're taking over the office behind the new desk and we'll all have desks!!!

I'm not sure if the jacks are ready for use, or the outlets but this is all stuff the needs to be up and ready, for the most part, for September 3rd, first day of classes. Ideally we will have one person on one end of the desk and as it wraps around in an L shape, there will be a second person along the other section. See the weird lines below to get a slight idea of what it all looks like. The X's are where people should be. It's neat, I like it, I just want it ready now!

New Services:

So, services desk is taking on tier 1 support for the Blackboard Learning System, and we're not really sure what that entails. We've had a basic intro to the system but we don't know what kind of issues we can help with or how. It's scary. We've been given access to the System Admin controls, a few controls, but that those we have just enough power to help or cause more problems!

We're also internalizing Residences Internet services. By the way, those have been under construction for a good chunk of the summer term. One of the buildings is fairly new so it's easy enough to update the infrastructure. The other 3 buildings are super old and made of concrete and those are holding us back. We don't really know what we can get the student to do on their end and we don't know what level of access we have in the tools that will be used to troubleshoot RezNet issues. The one manager in charge of the project has the tool but it's not really set up and basically nothing works in Rez. Ideally we should be able to see what access point they're trying to connect to and if it's functioning or if the signal is weak.

Bold Chat service is another we're taking on. So not only will people be able to get a hold of us via phone or email or walkup, they can also enter a chat session with a help desk agent when they're online. Bold Chat seems to have a number of features and functions we don't need. All we want is to be able to log on and have people start a session with us and then we chat, hopefully resolve the issue, and then we're done. This one... the person requests a session and that requests goes around like a phone call until someone takes ownership of the chat. You can also chat with people who are online with you, which makes it confusing because you can see where your chat session is. I'm not looking forward to this with all we have to do on the desk.

There's also supposed to be some Always On video chat thing from the other campus to the main campus. I... Don't like this one. We're supposed to have a TV or something set up with a video feed from the other campus and the person on the other side can see us too. From there we're supposed to help them with issue. It's like a Skype session... What we don't like is the Always On part. They really don't need to see and hear us trying to work with someone else while they wait.

The Schedule:

Myself and the new guys are going to be working a rotating schedule. I'll be starting the Red schedule and each week we switch. From Red to Yellow I'd get 1 day off, from Yellow to Green I'd get 2 days off and from Green to Red I'd get 3 days off. Pretty crazy. There are other schedules in here too.

Red Schedule:
Tuesday - Friday 8am to 4pm
Saturday 9am to 5pm

Yellow Schedule:
Monday - Friday 12pm to 8pm

Green Schedule:
Monday - Thursday 2pm to 10pm
Friday 1pm to 9pm

My Supervisor works Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm and our other guy work Sunday to Thursday. Tuesday and Thursday he will be working at the other campus. There's a decent amount of overlap but we may still end up with only 1 person working on the desk at any given moment. If it's really busy we might be able to get two.

So try and picture one person answering the Help Desk line, the classroom emergency line, RezNet line, handling walkup traffic and email issue in addition to chat! And add in the Always On video chat idea.


Anyways, I can't really remember what else I was going to mention in this one... So I'm going to submit this.

4 blog comments below

Who planned this schedule?
It's unrealistic!
How could one person handle all incoming customers and pending issues at the same time?

The customers will complain the phone is always busy, and the issues are always waiting.

This department really needs to increase the headcount.
rx9876 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:11 pm
holy smokes, L a lot of different 'projects' to keep track while little brother (Always On) watches.
Blackboard Learning System problems? reboot works 95 percent of the time to clear up issues.
standready on Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:12 am
From what I understand our IT department is hugely under funded. We finally got a break this time around but while we got more money, other people had to make some cutbacks. All eyes are on us to perform and then they stick the help desk with a ton of more stuff to handle. There was a woman from food services who emailed the other day about support for some software and the emailed in again the next day asking if we received the request. I can only imagine who people are going to react when they don't hear from someone for a couple days.

What would be nice is to have two people on during the 9-5pm zone when we'd be the businessest and have a third person hanging back dealing with tickets and chat and if we need a third up front or for call overflow then we have it. From my experience traffic died down after 5pm and was a wee bit more manageable.
TheGremlyn on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:55 am
OK. You're still at the University, but they've revamped everything. Agreed, that schedule looks a bit out of sync with the usual. I'm sure it will work out eventually though. As long as you are gainfully employed, is the main thing.
deanhills on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:59 am

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