Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Combined IT Help and Solution Centre
Year Submitted 2011
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Janice Sisson Director, Client Services
Name of Institution University of Manitoba
Office Address 123 Fletcher Argue Building, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
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Telephone: 204.474.9853
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Deborah McCallum
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Vice-President (Administration)
Office Address 202 Administration Building
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T2N2
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Telephone: 204.474.9777
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

The University of Manitoba’s central IT department, Information Services and Technology (IST), went through a re-organization.  In response to feedback from end users, we simplified our service delivery by combining all service desks under the Client Services division.  This included network support, computer support, audio visual and account management.  We built a ‘one-stop’ Help and Solution Centre that provides all of these support services in one convenient office area.  Telephone, cell phone and PDA support is located in the same location.

When the students walk in they now go to an electronic ticket dispenser where they select the service they want.    If they require assistance, staff are available to help them in selecting their service.  Clients can choose from a variety of services offered by the unit like password resets, wireless connectivity, audio visual bookings or general computer help.  The system is fully configurable to change requests based on client demand and the time of year.

Once they select their service, the system automatically assigns them to the first available staff person with the appropriate skill set to assist them.  When their number is called, they are directed to a specific workstation for assistance.  The system allows staff to be categorized by skill set, assuring the client inquiries are dealt with by an individual with the required skill set to resolve their problem.  The system allows simple requests like password resets to be resolved quickly and it assigns the more complex tasks to the more highly trained staff.  This moves the queue more quickly and efficiently, especially during peak times like the start of term.  Additional entry level staff are added to assist with basic requests like password resets thus allowing the more highly trained staff to deal with more complex problems, providing more efficient use of staff.  There are also touch screen kiosks used by students to claim their userid.

The area is inviting outfitted with comfortable chairs.  Service staff sit at open desks and the atmosphere is friendly and vibrant.  Also, all service desk phone numbers were consolidated into one number to call.  Faculty and staff no longer have to keep a long list of numbers to call for the variety of services they receive from the central IST organization.  Now they have one phone number and one email address.

Management and support staff are located in offices behind the service desks making them readily available if need be to front line staff.  The Help and Solution Centre also ties back into tier 2 and tier 3 support divisions of the IST department to ensure solutions are provided in an effective manner.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Any institution can develop this model. They would need to allocate the space and coordinate the service areas outlined into one functional area. The University of Manitoba would be willing to share all details of the project and facilitate on-site visits.

Quality Impact

Service quality has increased and we are better able to respond to the needs of our student, faculty and staff clients. We now are managing all service tickets through a single operation and can track performance. It is simpler for faculty, staff and students as they no longer have to self assess their IT needs - but just have to call, email or try live chat with the one office. Service requests are now tracked across all the service desks making it easier to identify trends in service issues and earlier identification of problems. Escalation processes and turnaround times have been adopted not only by the unit within the greater IT unit as a whole resulting in improved service delivery timeframes.

Productivity Impact

We now log all requests and in the past 10 months we have logged over 18,000 work tickets in the system, or 1,800 per month. Basic requests like password resets are moved through the centre quickly and efficiently where in the past, all requests were on a first come first served, regardless of complexity. This information is all aggregated in one operation and solution. We are able to report from this system to ensure tickets are closed, follow up on outstanding issues, identify system issues that need correction, and improve communication with our customers and clients. Each ticket represents a resolution to a problem, an improvement to our operations and a communication with our client. Also, having the single point of contact has increased efficiency within the IT division, letting the Help Desk provide front line support and leaving technical staff to work on service delivery. The coordinated help desk approach has enabled an increase in service and improved IT operations.


Having all support offices within one division enabled the University of Manitoba to improve its service to students, staff and faculty. They no longer must have a list of phone numbers to call in order to fulfill all their IT and audio/visual needs. Also, the environment within the Help and Solution Centre with the four staffed service desks is welcoming and always full of energy. Implementation of the electronic queuing system allows for better allocation of staff to the required tasks. Highly trained staff focus on more complex issues allowing student and entry level staff to address basic issues.