We are too fractured!
Why I can write this: I run the University Help Desk at San Jose State University. I have been a university employee working at SJSU for 21 years. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from SJSU. I have taught at SJSU. I am also a taxpayer.
One of he most frustrating things I have to deal with at the University Help Desk is the run around our clients, the students, faculty and staff at San Jose State University often receive when they seek support. To understand how the university’s information technology (IT) support structure works you need to forget most of what you may know about how most enterprises and many universities function. These enterprises usually have one enterprise support group that works together under the management of a chief information officer to solve customer problems. In this type of enterprise resources can be allocated where needed and pulled from where they are not. This group is accountable for solving problems within any part of the enterprise, from start to finish.
At SJSU we do not have one information technology group supporting the network, computer resources and conduits of data at SJSU. Instead, at SJSU we have a complex aggregation of silos of support that function with almost no structure, sense or logic. Our university has at least a half-dozen help desks and several dozen independent support teams that are under disparate chains of command. Communication and sharing of resources between these silos of support is rare. Indeed, it sometimes seems as though they compete more than cooperate. At SJSU resources seldom leave their support silo no matter how acute the need for help is elsewhere. Often the folks who mange these silos know little or nothing about the technology they manage. Only a handful of these groups share a trouble ticket system. Most have their own homegrown systems or, more often, no system at all! Many different systems exist that cannot talk to each other nor share data nor accommodate the hand off of trouble tickets. Often the solution for one team is to close a ticket in one ticket system with instructions to a client to open a ticket in another system with no assurance that anybody in the other unit will take ownership of the client’s problem nor way to know if the client gave up in frustration.
This is really frustrating to clients. They see their tickets closed routinely without their problems being solved. Often this happens several times for a single problem.
In my opinion
It is not acceptable for us to be telling clients to go somewhere else for service. In my opinion we can do better than this. We have created a Tower of Babel. In my opinion we are wasting resources (and the taxpayers money) in duplicate and confusing services and support systems in some areas while leaving large gaps of lack of customer service in others. I think we need to do better than this to provide better customer service and give the taxpayers (myself included) a fair return on their investment. I think we need to have a massive reorganization of IT support at SJSU and do it soon.