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Serving technology

Whenever you have a technology issue, whether it is trouble connecting to the network, a password reset or a specific device issue, the Service Desk is a resource on campus to go for any technology related questions.
“We have students’ best interest at heart,” Service Desk manager Bethany Witherell said. “We do want to help you. We want your stuff to work.”
Witherell said she believes the Service Desk serves an important role on campus for faculty, staff and especially students. She explained that almost everyone is going to have technology issues, and it’s convenient to have a place on campus to seek help.
“If you use technology, you’re going to have a problem with it and we have this resource right here with people who are really willing to go above and beyond to help,” Witherell said.
The Service Desk employs 18 part-time students workers to answer phone calls and complete various basic troubleshooting. There are always two students on duty. Sometimes three or four employees sit at the desk when there is an anticipated need for help, such as Welcome Week or between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Service Desk is the first point of contact for any technology related issue for anyone on campus.
“Whatever their technical issue is, don’t think that we won’t help you solve it,” Witherell said. “Give us an opportunity to help you, because 90 percent of the time, or more, we’re going to be able to.”
When someone reports a problem, it is logged into a database and indicated whether the Service Desk fixed the issue or not. If the Service Desk cannot help with an issue, then a ticket is opened and the customer is referred to the appropriate information technology unit.
In a previous interview with The Scout, chief information officer Zach Gorman said it is important for people to report problems to the Service Desk.
“If the Service Desk isn’t able to resolve the problem at that point in time when they’re interacting with the [person] … then it gets escalated to other team members,” Gorman said. “What we’re trying to do is capture and also identify trends, specifically in terms of the network, to find out where issues are persisting.”
According to Witherell, there were several hundred phone calls around March 14, after the systems outage occured on March 11. Phone calls have decreased since the Wi-Fi issues have been resolved, according to Witherell.
Witherell said that recent weeks do not compare to anything the Service Desk has experienced.
“I can look at the calls that we got this year and compare them to the same period of time last year, and there’s nothing similar,” Witherell said. “Last year, we were dealing with normal problems during that same period.”
The quicker an issue is reported, the greater chance the Service Desk will be able to fix it.
“The sooner we know about something, the easier it is to help them,” Witherell said. If somebody has lost a file or they do have a Malware infection, we are much more able to help them, say, within 20 minutes … versus waiting two or three weeks.”
Some people might come up to the Service Desk with a more significant issue, such as a failed hard drive.
“We can’t really set and reinstall someone’s operating system for them, but I’m more than happy to have someone pull up a chair while we guide them through that,” Witherell said.
There are plans in motion for a mobile Service Desk where the employees will be more amongst the students.
“It keeps us in touch with our customers, it gives us an opportunity to provide support to people who might not otherwise come to the help desk and it gives us an educational opportunity to talk to people,” Witherell said.
They are also working on other ways to make it easier for students to communicate their technology issues.
A new ticketing system will provide some new capabilities for students such as information to troubleshoot their own device.
“We know there are some limitations with current reporting, and it’s been a big endeavor to explore other ticketing systems,” said Barbra Kerns, executive director of learning design and technology. “We’re in the process of implementing a new one. The new ticket system is called SolarWinds and it will be rolled out over the summer.”
Witherell said the Service Desk is open roughly 100 hours a week. It is open until 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday. Detailed hours are available on Bradley’s website. The Service Desk can also be reached at 309-677-2964.

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