Behind the Scenes with UBC IT's Desktop Services Team


This month marks the start of our #readyforcampusreturn series, which sheds light on the incredible IT teams who are working behind the scenes to support UBC's transition back to campus. Thank you to our amazing staff, who are adapting to meet UBC's connectivity needs as we prepare to welcome everyone back this fall.

Q&A with UBC IT's Desktop Services Team

We are pleased to bring you the third installment in our #readyforcampusreturn series, which sheds light on the IT teams working behind the scenes to support UBC's transition back to campus. Part three of our series is a Q&A with Patrice Steinmann, Manager of Desktop Services for UBC IT & MedIT in Vancouver.

The Desktop Services team provides services that range from computer and software troubleshooting to hardware and infrastructure maintenance for a complex list of clients at an array of campus and satellite locations.

In this conversation, we learn how the Desktop Services team rapidly pivoted their day-to-day operations last March. In just three business days, the team went from a primarily hands-on, in-person service model, to 100% remote support. Patrice also focuses on the team's commitment to offering the same caliber of support for their clients no matter their location, and how this involuntary change in circumstance sped up plans for more modern and efficient service delivery.

What can clients expect from Desktop Services as they return to campus?

As of September, the Desktop Services team in Vancouver will begin with full on-campus support with the hope of working towards introducing our shared remote/on-site model as we move into October.

What have been some ways in which the Desktop Services teams at both campus sites have worked together to provide integrated services?

Our Architecture and Development teams have been working together on co-initiatives to support our clients, such as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and automation of application and hardware deployments.

Safety is critical for in-person services. What safety precautions is the Desktop Services team taking when delivering services in-person?

All Desktop Services staff have completed their mandatory training from SRS, and we have weekly safety huddles to discuss any concerns. Our biggest focus in terms of safety when paying a visit to a client is mutual respect and empathy. We aim to emphasize respect and patience when meeting in person, as this has been an ongoing and ever-changing journey for all at UBC.

How has delivering remote Desktop Services helped campus clients?

The pandemic forced us to look quickly at providing strong remote support. As a result, our clients are receiving faster response times because of not having to wait for staff to travel back and forth between office buildings. In addition, the IT Service Centre has reported to us that more users are consuming the various Knowledge Base articles available to them as a way to begin their troubleshooting inquiry. This shift has allowed our team to focus more on requests that require Desktop Services' expertise.

What is the contingency plan for Desktop Services if the campus were to pivot to a more remote model halfway through the term?

This is an ever-changing and flexible plan and strategy. If circumstances change that would require us to go back to a completely remote model, we would be ready to deploy in a matter of hours with the amount of training and preparation that we've had. We have been very cautious about planning these strategies along with each of our clients, as certain zones require unique plans to ensure we are accommodating all of their needs.

What has Desktop Services learned from offering more of their services remotely this past year?

It's an exciting time for the management team in Desktop Services. We have been craving the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to move to the next level of efficiency for the benefit of our clients and to be able to modernize the delivery of our services.

We've been using real-time data dashboards to better understand our service delivery results. We are assessing tickets on a minute-by-minute basis while comparing on-site versus remote assistance. We have developed new tools that have allowed us to make informed decisions based on the data collected. Leveraging these data tools will continue to be the key to our success.

With every change comes an opportunity. Good leaders make the best of any opportunity.

If you require Desktop Support, please feel free to submit a service ticket, and a member of their team will get in touch with you to assist with your inquiry.