Employees of one Information Technology Services group are as much a part of their customers’ sites as they are ITS. The dozen members of the On Site Support staff are embedded with the departments they serve, immersing themselves into the business needs, processes and culture of their host departments and offices.
“They view our staff as theirs,” said Ken Yow, ITS On Site Support Manager. “If you’re in the house, you’re part of the family.”
On Site Support, a unit within ITS User Support & Engagement, provides customer service, information technology and management support to about 3,000 staff members and administrators who are spread over 97 offices across campus, across North Carolina, and in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.
“A lot of what we do is like management consulting and project management,” Yow said.
Large mix of customers and sites
OSS customers include the Board of Trustees, Chancellor, Provost, University Registrar, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admissions, Chief Information Officer, Director of Athletics, and Director of the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. Services include providing purchasing, systems life cycling, network storage, hardware and software support, desktop infrastructure, printer infrastructure support and managing active directory needs.
The On Site Support staff members operate out of a variety of spots across campus: the Department of Athletics, Undergraduate Admissions, Office of the University Registrar, ITS, South Building, Bynum Hall and the Friday Center. In addition to the 12 members who report directly to Yow and are ITS employees, OSS has two additional people who work with the group and are treated as if they are part of OSS even though they are part of other organizations.
Matching needs and resources
On Site Support staffers advocate for their customers and serve as liaisons between customers and central services, Yow said. They strive to find ways to match needs with existing resources, all while strengthening the bonds with the groups in which they are housed.
“We make sure we’re looking at the customer, not the tool,” Yow said.
Embedding strengthens bonds
Camaraderie, trust and a desire to collaborate abound among the OSS team as well as between OSS staff members and the employees of the departments they serve. Being on site “definitely increases communication and collaboration,” Yow said.
“Because we’re embedded, we have a different kind of relationship with our customers,” said Leslie Kreizman, Tech Support Specialist with On Site Support.
“It’s family. We wouldn’t be able to function without them,” said women’s basketball Coach Tracey Williams-Johnson.
Jumping in wherever needed
Although the On Site Support staff members are IT specialists, their work goes beyond technology. Kreizman, for example, helps presenters to the Board of Trustees get their presentations ready and more readable. Christy Suits, OSS Systems Analyst, remembers the time she jumped in to assist students with signing into football camp. “They needed someone to do it,” she said.
Fun group to oversee
Hiring and recruiting is slow and deliberate for On Site Support during the rare times when someone actually leaves. Five members of Yow’s team have been with OSS for 16 years, and much longer with the University. Not every personality can do this type of work.
“It’s so much fun managing this group of people,” Yow said.
“They’re creative, they’re inventive, they’re clever,” he said. “They have wonderful personalities. They’re very effective at keeping their eye on the ball.”
Through December and January, we will highlight the work and the people of the ITS On Site Support group, led by Manager Ken Yow. Check back often at ITS News to learn more about this interesting group’s mission, expertise, camaraderie, collaborations, projects and innovations.