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(info) For this document, "Staff" means all non-student employees of IUB, including faculty and admin.

Introduction

"The University's computer and information network is a continually growing and changing resource that supports hundreds, soon to be thousands of users and systems. These resources are vital for the fulfillment of the academic, research and business needs of the University community." – IUB's General Policy Governing the Appropriate Use of Computer Resources

IUB's "computer and information network" is run by the Information Resource Center, Information Technology department (IRC-IT). It's task is to enable IUB and it's users to employ those resources to the users to help them in solving their computer-based work tasks.
To efficiently support Jacobs University's computer users, it is important to provide well-known means to make use of IRC-IT's services. This document gives details on how to reach Desktop Support of IRC-IT, what its support services are, and how support requests are handled. This information will make the support for all users faster, enhance effectiveness, and increase quality of service.

Contact Channels

(info) A reference page is available as Service Desk for Faculty and Staff.

The best way to contact IT support is to

For follow-up-communication please ensure to always include the unmodified ticket number in the subject line as received in the response (hitting the reply button of any email client automatically does this; writing a new email doesn't). In cases where you need an immediate answer you can

  • call 4666 during telephone hours

(see #Support Hours table below), which is routed to multiple staff members, but not forwarded to mobile phones. In cases requiring face-to-face discussion you can visit the IRC-IT office CC 3-255 (in the Campus Center) during open office hours (see Support Hours table below).

(warning) Technical questions regarding CampusNet should exclusively be sent via email to

There is no telephone or walk-in technical support for CampusNet! There is no application support for CampusNet! See the table given at #Areas of Non-Responsibility for contact points.

(tick) With this new teamwork system gaining momentum at Jacobs University, the Home page of IRC-IT should be the primary contact point for help, as the knowledge base increases and current events are posted here.

Support Hours

IT support has defined service hours, which are summarized on the page Service Desk for Faculty and Staff.

There is no IT support on weekends or during public holidays. The office will stay closed (i.e., there will be no open office hours), if the IRC is closed (typically in the morning during academic breaks). (thumbs up) This has been changed in 2005: If the IRC part of the Campus Center Building is closed, a telephone is available at the IRC entrance during open office hours. Please use that to have the door opened for you!

During telephone hours, highest priority of servicing requests is given to answering the telephone; as much IT staff is servicing the telephone as possible.

During open office hours, the IT support office CC 3-255 is open for ad-hoc or pre-arranged visits.

During all non-telephone hours, the IT support telephone will be redirected to a voice box. If you leave a message, an IT supporter will later listen to that message, will manually type the relevant information into IT support's ticket system, account the time for typing it in, and then queue that request for action. Please note that by sending the request by email instead of by phone, you can save time and work and allow more time for answering requests.

Voicebox

The voicebox is available 24/7. Callback will happen as soon as possible. Please use it!

Please note that the IT support office will stay closed and locked outside the open office hours, including telephone hours. During telephone hours, this is to maximize available support people for answering the telephone. During off-hours, this is to allow work on complex technical issues, including trouble-shooting of support requests as well as infrastructure issues and development which require uninterrupted concentration.

(info) Please also note, due to the fact that IT support staff is also charged with infrastructure tasks, availability of desktop support even during telephone hours or open office hours can not be guaranteed in cases of technical emergencies, though efforts are made to maximize availability.

Usage Notes

Jacobs University's telephone system does not allow for call center functionality:

No busy signal

It is technically not possible to receive a busy tone if all IT support staff are already on the phone answering requests and another call comes in.

Hence, receiving a free signal on the phone during telephone hours does NOT mean that people are not there or are not working on the telephone. (lightbulb) In such a case the voice box will be available to leave a message which is later processed as described above.

Upon requesting support, please specify the problem and all necessary information as precisely as possible. Especially, state what you did on your computer, what you expected to happen then, and what happened instead of what you expected.

Be precise in your request.

As an example, instead of requesting support by writing "I have a problem with email", you could write "I sent out an email from my account me@iu-bremen.de to the account foo@bar.com, that was yesterday at around 14:00. I asked the sender about it by phone, but he/she didn't receive it. Did the email leave IUB?" The first question cannot be answered in a satisfactory manner and would only result in time unnecessarily spent on inquiry of details. The second question can easily be answered within minutes after having started working on it.

If you bring in equipment, please be sure to carry along all necessary non-standard equipment to make it work, incl. special power cables or add-ons required for operation, to reconstruct the issue. Standard equipment like regular power- or network cables, keyboard, mouse should not be brought in.

Ticket System

Please do not send support requests to individual staff members, even not if you know who will most likely service your request. Always use itsupport@iu-bremen.de as destination address to reach the ticket system. Else, expect to get ignored (unintentionally).

All IT support activities are performed by employing a ticket management system. This allows for sharing workload between IT support staff, for handing over a case to someone else without starting anew, for reconstructing the case later, and to build up a solution database. It also provides for accounting of service times, for classifying requests by priority, and for assessing the problem area to focus future development activities. It is a vital support tool to employ Jacobs University's resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.

If you sent in an email to itsupport@jacobs-university.de, you will receive an auto-generated message with a ticket number. Please always include the unmodified ticket number in the subject line of emails to allow for easy handling of your request. The auto-response will contain initial parts of the "Subject:" line sent by you; choosing a short and meaningful "Subject:" line in the initial request will later help you to associate responses to the question.

Telephone calls will be typed into the ticket system during the phone call to initiate a support ticket with a ticket number assigned, which will be used in any return emails you might receive due to your phone calls.

Please be sure to always send follow-up emails, even when and especially if itsupport@jacobs-university.de is "only" cc'ed in an email forwarded to someone else, with the ticket number in the subject line as received before; please also follow this, if the ticket was generated by a phone call. This will make responding to your requests easier and, hence, faster.

Ticket Number

Always include the unmodified ticket number in the Subject-line of your email.

Upon receipt of a request and creation of a support ticket in IRC-IT, the ticket is assigned to a problem area. Based on responsibilities and current availability, a ticket is at any time worked on by at most one assigned staff member. Therefore, it is very important, that you put only one problem in one support request email. If you experience several problems, please send a support email for each different problem (remember to choose short and descriptive "Subject:"-lines). This opens up several tickets which can be worked on by several people in parallel, based on their availability.

One Issue per Ticket

Please put only one issue in one ticket (email or phone). It makes working on them faster.

Queuing

Upon receipt of a request in IRC-IT, a ticket is created. As time allows it is then manually assigned a priority and queued in the respective work area. After that, one knowledgeable staff member picks up the ticket as time allows and starts working on it.

The evaluation of the ticket is multi-dimensional. In the following some of the heuristics which are applied are given.

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on the number of users affected, exist:

  1. Issues impeding the whole campus (e.g., hard- or software failure on central routing/switching engine, new virus spread).
  2. Issues impeding a large number of users on campus (e.g., hard- or software failure regarding whole buildings).
  3. Issues impeding smaller groups of users (e.g., failure of workgroup server).
  4. Issues impeding a single user (e.g., failure of desktop PC).

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on involved software installations, exist:

  1. Jacobs University standard installation (as done by IRC-IT).
  2. Jacobs University non-standard installation (as done by IRC-IT).
  3. Jacobs University non-standard installation (as done by delegated administrator).
  4. Jacobs University user-based installation (as done by user).
  5. Non-Jacobs University installations if necessary for Jacobs University-related work and if negotiated with IT support.

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on involved hardware, exist:

  1. Jacobs University standard hardware.
  2. Jacobs University non-standard hardware.
  3. Non-Jacobs University hardware if necessary for Jacobs University-related work and if negotiated with IT support.

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on the severity of the issue, exist:

  1. Issues disabling work.
  2. Issues hindering work.
  3. Consultation regarding implementation of new or maintaining current installations.
  4. Inconveniences in operation or use.
  5. Items "nice-to-have", "Goodies".

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on the reason for the issue, exist:

  1. Errors in hardware or software.
  2. Errors of IRC-IT.
  3. Required maintenance.
  4. Issues induced by user by accident.
  5. Issues induced by user due to irresponsibility, laziness, neglected planning or coordination, or by not following standards, guidelines, or procedures.

In general, the following priorities for dealing with requests, based on scheduling, exist:

  1. Emergencies (as judged by IRC-IT).
  2. Tasks scheduled with users or external people.
  3. Unscheduled tasks, especially if they could have been scheduled.

Services

(info) The service catalogue and detailed descriptions of services will in the future be available at Service Level Agreements.

Areas of Responsibility

The general goal is to ensure a working infrastructure. IRC-IT (incl. CLAMV) has a specified area of responsibility and expertise. To enable efficient work, IRC-IT's activities are limited to these infrastructure services. It is the service of IRC-IT to enable the standard technology for IUB's members to work with.

(info) You might also want to have a look at About IRC-IT.

It is not the task of IRC-IT to immediately provide additional infrastructure, add-on hardware or software technology (aka gadgets and programs). It is also not the task of IRC-IT to provide basic or advanced education on understanding or using the provided technology. Based on the high profile of Jacobs University, it is assumed that Jacobs University computer users understand and use these tools as appropriate for their task.

Standards!

IRC-IT's desktop service is to make Jacobs University-standard things work.

Activities of Responsibility

Installation, configuration, and maintenance of Jacobs University's infrastructure, standard hardware and standard software, is within task profile of IRC-IT.

Installing, configuring, maintaining, fixing, or helping in using non-standard hard- or software, is not (if no other prior arrangement was explicitly made with IRC-IT). If you do not feel expert enough for these tasks, please consider contracting specialized support for that product with an external service provider.

Provided Desktop Support Services

MS Windows World

  • MS Windows domain management (incl. user/password)
  • MS Windows server management (admin/faculty server)
  • Standard MS Office, MS Outlook/Exchange installation, configuration, maintenance
  • Standard MS Windows and MS Office patches, updates; licenses installation, configuration, maintenance
  • Additional standard PC software installation (incl. PC-based anti-virus) installation, configuration, maintenance
  • Additional non-standard PC software installation (only after prior consultation; no configuration, no maintenance in any case; lower service priority as defined above)
  • MS Windows-based PC user data backup and restore (server-based via roaming profiles and re-installation of standard images only, no additional software re-installation or re-configuration)
  • Standard PC desktop/laptop hardware installation, configuration for compatibility, maintenance
  • Standard network-based printer maintenance

Unix World

  • Computer Science Teaching Lab (aka CSTL) maintenance
  • Computational Laboratory for Analysis, Modelling and Visualization (aka CLAMV) teaching lab maintenance (via CLAMV)
  • Solaris/Linux server maintenance (together with CLAMV)
  • Cluster maintenance (via CLAMV)
  • Floating licenses (partly via CLAMV)
  • Access to high performance computing (via CLAMV)
  • Printer access for Jacobs University-managed servers

Network Infrastructure and Basic Services

  • Data network connection, wired (plug, cable) or wireless (WLAN)
  • Internet access
  • Mail infrastructure: mail servers, virus scanning, spam tagging, web interface, standard protocols for mail retrieval, mailing list provisioning (not maintenance)
  • Network service infrastructure: DHCP servers, DNS servers, network structuring, firewalls
  • Infrastructure planning

WLAN provisioning is a task of IRC-IT! Do not install WLAN access points by yourself. See a blog entry for an exemplary reason, why.

Telephony Services

  • Telephone and mobile phone provisioning
  • "Unified messaging system" (Siemens Hicom Xpressions) for fax and voice box management
  • Telephone cabling infrastructure provisioning and management
  • Infrastructure planning

IRC-IT maintains Jacobs University's telephony system and devices.

Database Services

  • Oracle database maintenance of Jacobs University's central university database
  • Technical support of CampusNet development, deployment, configuration, maintenance (no application support)

Areas of Non-Responsibility

The IRC-IT support team frequently receives support requests which do not belong to our domain of responsibility or expertise. The following table summarizes pertinent points of contact outside IRC-IT for some issues:

Support Request on

Entity

Contact

Macintosh operating system and applications

No-One! You are on your own!

(question) Not even a mailing list?

Multimedia equipment (esp. beamers), presentation technology

Facility Management

facility@jacobs-university.de, call 4522 for organizational issues, call 4536 for technical issues

Plotter access and use

IRC-IR

irc-multimedia@jacobs-university.de, http://www.jacobs-university.de/services/irc/multimedia/

Jacobs University web pages, Jacobs University forum

CoCo/Webservices

webmaster@jacobs-university.de, cocoweb

Mailing list moderation

Administrator and moderator of the list

Look at bottom of mailing list info page, reachable from http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo/

CampusNet workflows, procedures, data maintenance

The department offering the service

Varies, see http://www.jacobs-university.de/directory/

Purchasing procedure, addressee

Purchasing dep (Hilke Kobbe)

http://www.jacobs-university.de/directory/02970/

Anything, requested by students, undergraduates and graduates

IT Student Support

itstudentsupport@jacobs-university.de, Service Desk for Faculty and Staff, call 4667, room CC 4-218

Infrastructure Planning and Consultation

IRC-IT is in charge of the computer, network, and telecommunication infrastructure of Jacobs University. Please make sure to contact IRC-IT before planning, purchasing, or in any way manipulating Jacobs University infrastructure. Especially, prior to any of the following, contact IRC-IT:

  • Buying and/or installing WLAN access points, routers, switches, computers, printers, telephones, fax machines, network cables.
  • Moving around computers, networked or telephone equipment between rooms.
  • Changing network connectivity of your equipment, e.g. switching data network wall outlets.
  • Construction works.

Don't Do It Yourself

Doing any of this without involving IRC-IT usually will not work and/or will have adverse effects on the infrastructure, but in any way will result in additional and unnecessary costs and efforts for Jacobs University and induce discontent for you and IRC-IT.

Document Change History

Date

Changed by

Comment

03.05.2004

TS

Initial release

31.01.2005

TS

Adaptation of URLs, MD, explanations

20.06.2005

TS

Opening hours, informative expansions, service profile

11.07.2006

TS

Moved to Confluence and slightly updated

(info) This change history is now deprecated. Please see the Info of this page for older versions and changes done.

Original Word Document

(warning) The attached Word document is deprecated and superseded by this page. It is provided for historical reference only.

  File Modified
PDF File Contacting IT-Support for Staff.pdf Jun 16, 2006 by Schmidt, Torge
Microsoft Word 97 Document Contacting IT-Support for Staff.doc Jun 16, 2006 by Schmidt, Torge

7 Comments

  1. Would it be possible to clarify the issue of student IT support during e.g. summer vacation, when the official IT Student Support is closed? Are we left on our own?

    1. Short answer: yes. According to IUB knowledge, there are ~20 students on campus, getting even less during the next days. Providing IT Student Support for this small group is not reasonable, and as we are staffing IT Student Support with students, nearly impossible anyway.

      What support would you require? What would be the issues to solve?

      1. So two issues:

        • there are also students staying off campus and this doesn't mean we lose our student status (smile)
        • I totally understand that staffing IT Student support during summer time is not reasonable and if I have anything to say on that topic, I totally support the decision. I was wondering however, in case of any hypothetical problems would it be OK to contact the regular IT support.

        And of course the whole question was a hint to mention this topic on the webpage, because this is not so clear.

        Thank you for your response

        M.L.

        1. This web site is a "living" thing, so yes, there will be clarifications coming up, thanks for the hint (smile)

          Still, what support would you require? What would be the issues to solve?

  2. In general I am more or less happy with the support, particularly the ticketing system which shows a nicely short response latency - however only to the first request. I have the impression that follow-ups to replies are not handled in the same way, is that true? If yes, is it due to how the system is conceptualized and thus an intrinsic problem? What would really help to further improve acceptance by the users is to have an online tracking system for issues so that users know if their request is work in progress, closed, number 4239 in line, priority class, whatever ... . Best, BG

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      We plan to have users' tickets, including work history, accessible online, so that everyone can lookup the state and progress of their tickets.

      1. Good to know. Thanks!