"No one was happy. We had old technology, things were breaking and it was taking too long to make changes or get anything done."
That’s how Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Candice Bowen described her department's former relationship with information technology. Those sentiments were also shared by her HR colleagues; the department was feeling the strain of an increasing dependency on IT, while the pool of money to address IT needs was shrinking.
When difficult choices had to be made about the HR budget, Candice took a hard look at the growing IT needs of her department. The servers and the space they occupied. The maintenance, backups and security to keep the machines up and safe. And of course there was desktop management and the need to engage external IT consultants from time to time. Management of all these moving parts were not only a strain on the HR budget, they were a strain on the two full-time employees who were being asked to do it all.
“We started to wonder if our expectations were unrealistic,” said Candice.
It was two years ago when the Human Resources department started to consider doing things differently. They started exploring what it would take for the Office of Information Technology to provide desktop support and manage the IT service needs of HR. What Candice and the leadership of the Human Resources department found was that not only could OIT provide all the IT services for less, OIT was able to provide needed services that were previously out of reach for the department.
Now the desktop support needs at HR are met by OIT’s Dedicated Desktop Support (DDS) group, with Andrew Morgan serving as HR’s lead desktop support technician. Andrew, with the support of the DDS team, provides a host of services:
And all these services are provided by one on-the-ground technician who also supports other campus DDS customers, too. One of the most frequent things Andrew hears is the astonishment about the quick response he provides.
“People tell me that they’d be expecting to hear back from someone within 24 hours, not 15 minutes,” says Andrew.
Dedicated desktop support technician, Andrew Morgan, assists HR staff member Kristen Wanderlich.
And yet, many would argue that the biggest improvements have come in the area of server infrastructure. Where HR once had five different data sources--and multiple servers for each data source--that supported all their internal IT business process needs, those needs are now met by one SharePoint environment which is managed by OIT. The hosting of the HR website and file sharing services have also been offloaded to OIT.
“We examined all their business needs, matched them to OIT services, and were able to reduce the complexity and cost of their IT environment as well as simplify it,” said Orrie Gartner, OIT’s Associate Director of Shared Infrastructure Services. “We call it CSR-- consolidate, simplify and reduce cost.”
“Our Managed Services Team--consisting of Richard Bevan, Orrie Gartner and Joseph Davalt--has been incredibly helpful starting with the transition of our servers to supporting us in our new Sharepoint database environment,” said assistant director of HR Ana Johnson. “I was especially relieved during the recent flood to know that I did not have to worry about the safety and security of HR’s servers.”
When not so long ago there was unhappiness, old and breaking technology, and long waits, now Candice says, those things have disappeared.
“Changing the way HR manages its IT needs by partnering with OIT has been one of the best operational decisions I have made.”