Centralized IT Support for University Departments – Program Description
Last updated: March 22, 2010
Program goals for academic and administrative departments:
- Provide a team of IT Support Staff to support computing activities within academic and administrative departments.
- Create a relationship between IT Staff and department administrators so that problems and solutions can be communicated effectively in both directions.
- Establish and implement hardware and software standards for departmental use across the University. Place orders for standard hardware, and provide consulting for additional departmental purchases related to specialized academic needs. Reduce Brown's cost for hardware acquisitions by leveraging bulk purchase of standard computers and equipment.
- Deploy standard computers wherever possible, and provide desktop management for users, including maintenance of operating system (e.g., Windows 7, Mac OS X.6), deployment of university-licensed software (e.g., Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat), and patching and security for hardware and software.
- Establish written Service Level Agreements for departments with the ultimate goal of ensuring that expectations are set properly regarding the desktop support that is provided to departments. Departmental administrators will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided by IT Support Staff.
- Provide written guidelines for support levels for hardware and software, and provide life cycles to inform when machines and software roll off of support. Establish and enforce minimum requirements for support of hardware and software, and notify departments that equipment outside of parameters will not be supported, or will have a fee for service.
- Work with departmental staff members to develop technology plans for departments that include all hardware (computers, printers, scanners, mobile devices, etc.), software, cycles for hardware replacements, and future technology needs.
- Direct support for grad students will only occur when students are using Brown-owned computers, and in direct support of a teaching role. Machines that are personally owned by grad students are outside the scope of the program.
- Purchasing - IT Support Staff will work with departments to facilitate technology purchases by directing administrators to established guidelines, by aggregating purchases when possible, and by creating quotes for non-standard hardware.
- Non-standard equipment or equipment beyond its useful life cycle, defined as 4 years, will not be supported by your ITSC. Equipment will only be supported on premises (defined as in the department) and within its useful life cycle.
- Dell premier page – CIS will ensure that hardware standards are coordinated with Dell so that this website can be used to purchase all standard computers with Windows operating system images.
- CIS will work with the Bookstore / Computer Technology Center to ensure that hardware standards are coordinated for purchase of all computers with Mac operating systems.
- Brown-affiliated centers (e.g., John Carter Brown Library, Watson Center for Public Policy, Education Alliance, etc.) who wish to participate in this program may do so by contributing funds towards the necessary staffing. As of this writing the approximate costs per hundred desktops is $37,500.
- We do not provide service to Emeritus faculty. Technical support for Emeritus faculty can be obtained through the CIS Help Desk.
- CIS Service and Repair support and repair guidelines will be aligned with the guidelines for this program i.e., all supported hardware and software models information will be in sync and up-to-date
Program Operations and Resources
- IT Support Staff should have an approximate number of faculty / staff for which they have responsibility in a ratio of 1 team member for every 125 faculty and staff members.
- Staff members will utilize enterprise-class tools to remotely manage desktops, including management of most security updates, and remote/automated installation of software. Tools used will include Microsoft SCCM for Windows, and Casper for Mac. Machines that cannot be managed with these tools may also use NTRSupport/Inquiero Desktop Streaming to share computer screens remotely.
- Support Staff will provide advanced File Service administration in the Windows and Novell environments, and will be able to administer portions of the email and patch management services.
- Support Staff will work with other groups within CIS, taking escalated tickets from the CIS Phone Team/Help Desk, and escalating to the Infrastructure and Enterprise Teams, as appropriate. When needs are identified that require other resources within CIS, IT Support Staff will act as liaisons into other CIS groups.
- Support Staff will track metrics to demonstrate CIS' compliance with Service Level Agreements, including availability to departmental users.
- Develop documentation and cross training among all team members to improve knowledge across the team and provide better zone defense for departmental support. Assign mentors to new staff, so that common problems and solutions can be discussed.
- IT Support Specialists will spend time familiarizing themselves with the needs and unique aspects of their assigned primary departments.
This knowledge will position them to guide the development of departmental computing plans, assist with access to CIS and outside resources where possible, and suggest solutions and tools that may solve departmental and discipline specific requirements. In this aspect the ITSS will serve as a guide to the IT resources available and possible. This does not mean though that ITSS will be responsible for provisioning all IT needs of a department. Their primary responsibilities will remain focused on the provision of desktop services
- General needs
- Transportation – CIS will deliver new computers to departments – this requires use of a Brown-owned vehicle. Steps should be taken to mitigate parking issues for staff.
- Space – need an office that can house the entire IT Support Specialist Team – approximately 10 FTEs for members, plus a manager. IT Support staff need space to do research, work on multiple computers simultaneously, and build machines for distribution. It is preferred that this space be contiguous with the Help Desk Phone Team and Accounts and Passwords Groups.