The latest New Core Meet the Team interview comes from Andy Ferguson, Service Development and Release Manager within the New Core IT workstream.
What is your role on New Core?
I am responsible for the transition, release, and early life support of the new service. This involves making sure that it is operationally fit for purpose, that everyone involved in using or supporting the system has access to all the information they need, and that faults and other requests for help find their way quickly to the right person or team, and are resolved to a suitably high standard.
What were you doing before joining New Core?
I was part of the IT Service Desk Management Team, and also contributed to the implementation and release of a number of key IT systems. If you have contacted the Service Desk, searched the IT Service Knowledge Base, or viewed the IT Status Page or Twitter feed then you have probably used something I have been involved in designing, building, or implementing.
Directly prior to New Core I was part of the team that organised the move of staff into the new Main Library, which involved coordinating office and staff moves to ensure that the IT Service Desk and other service points could close on Friday afternoon and open again on Monday morning with no loss of service to students. I also ran the Health and Safety tours for many of the staff who work in the new Library, and was involved in devising the dress codes and working practices that were required as several smaller teams joined forces to deliver a joined up, unified, and visually recognisable service.
What has been your focus over the past few weeks/months?
Most of my time over the last few weeks has been spent designing and building the forms, workflows, and knowledge base articles that will ensure that users of the new system can find the information they need to use the system effectively. I am also working on building a Canvas course that will present support material, videos, process maps and documentation via a platform the University is familiar with, whilst ensuring that people who ask for help via the IT Service Desk are signposted to the right content on Canvas to answer their query.
This has involved using a lot of systems I am familiar with already, but I have also had to learn about a tool called Oracle User Productivity Kit, which is used to record videos that users can watch to learn how to use the new system and test their understanding afterwards. Part of this learning curve has involved having to set up a server to enable archiving and version control of content, and I’m using this opportunity to test the service release and early life support process on something significantly smaller than the whole of New Core.
I also chair the New Core Technical Change Advisory Board (CAB), which is the group that discusses and approved major technical changes to systems that are required to build New Core and integrate it with existing IT Systems. We have recently approved the upgrade to a version of the software that will look very similar to what will be released, which allows us to start producing the training and support material that will be used at the point the system goes live.
What are you most looking forward to in the new system?
It’s not so much the system that I’m looking forward to, but the benefits it will deliver. Currently the University spends a large amount of time and effort on manual processes that are neither optimised nor standardised. By delivering a system that allows a greater level of self-service and automation we should eventually free up so many more hours of staff time that can be used for teaching, learning, research, innovation, and the many other areas in which the University excels. I’m also really looking forward to booking my first post-release holiday through the new system after 18 years of paper forms.