Tech support for UO employees transformed this summer

Keyboard with 'Help' key

For many University of Oregon staff and faculty members, the contact points for technical support changed over the summer.

As part of Transform IT, the university's information technology restructuring process, most UO employees now receive tech help from User Support Services, the new universitywide IT support team in Information Services.

The team includes three geographically focused groups supporting academic units in the north, central and south areas of the Eugene campus and one group that supports employees in administrative units. The central academic group also supports UO Portland.

Together, the groups provide a variety of tech support services to the university, including desktop support, help desk functions, accounts and access management, electronic device management, classroom technology support and management of how-to articles.

The UO units that now receive tech support through User Support Services include the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Design, School of Journalism and Communication, School of Music and Dance, Lundquist College of Business, College of Education, Graduate School, UO Portland, UO Libraries, University Advancement, University Communications, Division of Student Life, Division of Global Engagement, Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Employees in the above units can request tech support through the UO Service Portal. Submitted tickets are automatically routed to the correct group within User Support Services. Some faculty and staff members also may have received information about additional contact points, such as phone numbers, for the User Support Services group supporting their department.

Existing campuswide resources that continue to be available to all students, staff and faculty members include the Technology Service Desk and the how-to articles in the UO Service Portal.

UO IT staff began transitioning into User Support Services during spring term, and after more than 15 units transitioned over the summer, this phase is nearly complete.

"I truly appreciate everyone's patience as we enter the final stretch of our USS implementation project," said Gary Sullivan, director of user support services.

"With fall term upon us, we are working hard to prepare and provide support in this hybrid learning environment," Sullivan said. "Looking to 2021, we will continue building on what we started in late April. Our goal is to be a preeminent support organization and welcoming partner as we work together to take the University of Oregon to the next level."

While the organizational structure is new, the service approach is heavily influenced by what was previously working well.

"As we built these four new support groups, we kept some IT support staff in place to retain subject matter expertise in the same areas," said Patrick Chinn, associate chief information officer for customer experience.

When the staffing transitions to User Support Services are complete, approximately 60 to 70 current IT employees will be part of the new team.

The units whose tech support is scheduled to transition into the new team this fall include the School of Law, Clark Honors College, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, Business Affairs Office and some groups supported by Finance and Administration Shared Services. The last transition is tentatively scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving.

Employees in units funded through fees and non-general fund revenue, such as housing, athletics and University Health Services, will continue to get technical support from their local IT staff.

"With just a few teams now instead of the previous 20 or more, we can coordinate support much more effectively, which gives us the ability to respond more productively to both common requests and new situations," Chinn said. "Given that 2020 has thrown us some curveballs, we have already seen how the more unified tech support structure of USS helps improve service to campus."

More information about the User Support Services implementation project, including the transition schedule, is available on the Transform IT website.