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Link Help Desks Across Campus Pilot Project


Thumbnail description of pilot

Link help desks across campus by sharing software that tracks problem and solutions. Set common standards and practices for using the software. SAS and ISC will initially deploy the software; SEAS, the Library, MED, and VPUL will help shape the implementation.

Scope of the pilot

  • This pilot project is a joint effort of ISC and SAS and will be limited to implementation in the ISC First Call and SAS Customer Services and Planning groups.
  • Pilot implementation is limited to currently supported customers, products, and processes.
  • Other campus organizations (including the Library, Medical School, SEAS, and VPUL) will be consulted for developing standards and requirements and for reviewing implementation plans and evaluating results.
  • The pilot will implement selected Apriori features and identify requirements for future implementation and enhancements.

Outcomes or "deliverables"

  • Formal project plan for initial implementation and for future implementation and enhancements. This will include a timetable, milestones, and budget requirements.
  • Identification of common support processes for problem resolution and management.
  • Specification of Apriori implementation requirements including database design.
  • Initial implementation of Apriori environment for use by ISC First Call and SAS Customer Services and Planning.
  • Assessment of pilot implementation results.
  • Plan for further deployment of problem resolution environment to other support sites.
  • Determination of operating costs and plan for cost recovery in operational mode

Note: the clients for these deliverables include ISC and SAS support providers.

Who has the main responsibility for the pilot?

Project management: ISC First Call and SAS Customer Services and Planning

Project implementation: ISC and SAS staff

Consultation on requirements specification and implementation design: other campus support organizations (including the Library, Medical School, SEAS, and VPUL)

Who else will need to be involved and how?

Apriori server systems administration and operation support: UMIS
Assistance on documentation standards and development, including Web documents: ISC Communications Group
Negotiation and acceptance of internal routing procedures (documents of understanding): ISC (all units), SAS Computing, and other groups as necessary

What will you need to do in order to get started?

  • Commitment of staff resources by ISC and SAS.
  • Commitment of participation from other support organizations.
  • Administrative help for the implementation team.
  • Apriori software and base licenses.
  • Appropriate hardware and software platform.
  • Budget approval for pilot implementation.
  • Tools and resources to develop project plan.

Major tasks (very high level) and estimated timeline.

Stated dates are approximate. Remaining dates will be specified further in the formal project plan.

  • Purchase of Apriori (Completed)
  • Team formation and charge (Completed)
  • Princeton site visit (Completed)
  • Apriori administrator training (Completed)
  • Information gathering from ISC/SAS(Completed) and selected schools/centers (April)
  • Detailed configuration design (Begun March 1)
  • Install Apriori in base ('empty') configuration (Completed March 15)
  • Initial Apriori configuration based on planning results (Begun March 15)
  • Testing of Apriori configuration
  • Demo initial configuration
  • Support providers training
  • Apriori go live with initial configuration
  • Evaluation of pilot implementation

Prospective team members. Staffing assumptions and constraints.

Permanent team
Emily Corse - Manager, Desktop Computer Services SAS
Michael Dettinger - Help Desk Analyst, First Call ISC
Michael Kearney - Director, First Call ISC
Katie McGee - Senior Director, Customer Services and Planning SAS
Kristin Nelson - Senior Consultant / Distributed Staff (College Hall) CRC ISC
Tony Olejnik - Senior Networking Consultant, DCCS ISC
Lila Shapiro - Technical Resources, UMIS ISC

Expert advisors in the following areas:
'People' data issues, extract, and maintenance (ISC)
Unix system operations (hardware maintenance, environmentals, backup) (ISC UMIS)
Other expertise may be needed as the project progresses.

Anticipated approach to funding the pilot

For the current project scope, staff costs for the permanent team members are being borne by their respective units in ISC and SAS. Staff costs for team expert advisors need to be discussed. Costs of administrator training for the initial implementation will be borne by SAS and ISC. The primary cost element here is travel and lodging for the implementation classes.

Open issues

At the March 20th steering committee meeting, real concerns were raised about the resources which are available to the team, even with the project's present scope. We believe that getting the resource allocation issues stated and resolved are very important to the success of the project.


Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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