ITS addresses service concerns

Roughly a year after completing its first University-wide survey to determine user satisfaction, Information and Technology Services has made changes to its structure to better serve members of the Yale community.

Jane Livingston, director of governance strategy and policy for ITS, said results of the survey — which polled approximately 5,800 Yale students, faculty and staff members in April of last year — revealed that many members of the Yale community feel that ITS responds too slowly to requests for technological support. In response to the findings, ITS will have launched several initiatives aimed to quicken the responses to service requests by this summer, Livingston said, including a new website, a revamped system for processing requests and a new set of practices that guides ITS staff on how to approach assessing customer service needs.

Respondents also expressed dissatisfaction with the Yale Horde email system, which ITS is currently transitioning away from with the launch of EliApps — a program that offers students access to their Yale emails with Google services along with access to Google Calendar, Docs and Sites.

“A few services did not meet the expectations of the Yale community,” Livingston said. “Across all constituents, email and calendaring and timely response to requests for support were the biggest concerns.”

Still, she said respondents were generally positive in their assessment of ITS, and most undergraduates said they were pleased with the repair services offered by student techs.

Though ITS has administered student satisfaction surveys in the past — the most recent one in 2009 found that 83 percent of students were pleased or very pleased with support services — Livingston said the survey administered last year was the first to poll the entire Yale community. The survey featured 18 standard questions related to information technology satisfaction and expectations, as well as seven questions about issues specific to Yale.

Livingston said the new website will be more user-friendly and better organize the resources available. She said the new website will be easier to navigate, with few pages and “gateways” aimed at particular groups such as students, incoming freshmen, faculty and staff.

The new practices that will be implemented in the department — a set of guidelines known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library — are intended to help ITS staff known how to approach tasks. Livingston said these practices are an established approach “to supporting and managing technology.”

Livingston said ITS has also launched a new tool that strengthens the “performance and general experience” of Yale Secure. The new tool “automatically configures your wireless set-up” to the network, she said, so that students who do not know how to connect their computer to YaleSecure do not need to seek outside help. The feature is currently available on the ITS website, Livingston said, adding that ITS is planning a “promotional campaign” for the service.

Three students interviewed who have approached ITS for help said they welcomed ITS’s efforts to streamline its services, and two said they had trouble communicating with student techs throughout the repair process.

Riley Hughes ’15 said she had persistent issues with her computer this year and needed to drop it off frequently with student techs, but she said she wished the student techs had communicated with her more often about their progress.

Last year’s survey was designed by TechQual+, an organization that evaluates expectations for information and technology departments on college campuses.

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