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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY EXCHANGE CENTER

Procedures for Obtaining Support and Assistance from ITEC 
(revised July 2008)

The following procedures were developed collaboratively between ITEC personnel and the Executive Board of the ITEC Advisory Committee.  Although the procedures were developed with primary reference towards ITEC, it is intended that they could be used in near-facsimile form at each of the Member sites to establish local support group policy and procedure.

Member:  A Member is a fee-paying organization and institution that receives services from ITEC.

1. General Considerations and Requirements

The following identifies who can request support, service, and assistance from the Information Technology Exchange Center (ITEC) previously called the Common SUNY Support Center (CSSC); how assistance can be requested; where a request for assistance is sent; how a request is recorded, responded to and reported on; and procedures for off-hour support.

2. How to Contact ITEC

The ServiceNow Service Desk is the preferred method for contacting ITEC.  All requests for ITEC assistance must eventually be, regardless of the manner initiated or pursued, transferred to ServiceNow.

ServiceNow incidents and requests can be created and viewed by going to https://suny.service-now.com

In the event that ServiceNow is not available, please email services@itec.suny.edu.  Email messages should not be sent to an individual. This way if an individual is not available the email is still monitored. Please refer to Section 3 for the Service Desk e-mail address and areas of responsibility.

ITEC and the Executive Board realize that certain circumstances may evolve where initiating or pursuing a request for assistance may become impractical and/or impossible via ServiceNow or email. Under these conditions, voice contact with ITEC should be used. When voice contact with ITEC is used, both ITEC and the Member requesting assistance are obligated to subsequently initiate or maintain the electronic form and principal context of the voice communication.

If email or voice contact is used to initiate a request for service, the ServiceNow duplication of the original request should note initial contact for assistance made by email or voice communication.

Regardless of the media used in a request for assistance, make sure the priority (urgency) level (see section 5) is identified along with the area of problem.

·         Indicate the priority level in the Impact field of your ServiceNow incident. The problem should be elaborated upon in the description field of your incident. Note: The quality of our service to you depends upon your proper categorization of the issues.  If you need help determining the proper priority (urgency) level, see section 5 for the definition of each level.

·         When using email, indicate the area of the problem and the priority (urgency) level in both the subject and the body of your message. 

·         When a voice contact is required, the Member request for assistance should include the primary phone number (and alternate) and name of the individual to address in the response.

If the supported Member has been able to post the call to ServiceNow, the ITEC person would first check there. If the issue can be solved immediately, the support person would update the ServiceNow incident with the solution (followed immediately with a phone call to the requestor of service if this is an ‘Urgent” issue). If the ITEC support person does not have access to a terminal, or have a solution available, then the Member would be contacted directly by phone.

For ‘URGENT’ issues, it is important during "off" hours to call ITEC’s main number (716 878 4832) for assistance.

2.A. Support During Normal Business Hours

ITEC’s normal business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.  ITEC is generally closed on most legal holidays (and some snow days in Buffalo).  The above procedures should be followed during normal business hours.

It is expected that the Member has exhausted the resources of its local support group before ITEC is called for assistance unless other specific agreements have been made with the Member.

For Urgent requests during normal business hours, contact ITEC’s main office and ask for the appropriate support group. The calling party should ask for "Application Support and Development," "ITEC Layered Products," or "ITEC Systems and Networking."

2.B. Support During Off Hours: Planned and Emergency Conditions

These support calls are expected to be from the same persons who would call during normal business hours (i.e. System Administrators, Systems Managers, License Managers and Database Administrators).

In addition to the procedures outlined above, the following points are to be addressed for “off” hour support.

2.B.1. Planned Conditions

Planned support objectives: To provide direct ITEC support for planned tasks that require a weekend and/or evening schedule. For example, upgrading an operating system or a major product on a Saturday or Sunday. The upgrading of ORACLE from Version 8 to 9i would be such a task. In these situations the Member would have notified ITEC beforehand.

In development of the timeframe to perform these tasks, the Member must contact ITEC to make arrangements for Support Center personnel to be available. This contact should include a description of the tasks to be accomplished so that all prerequisites, such as upgrades to software, of the tasks are met.

Procedures for Planned Tasks:

The appropriate ITEC support group (Application Support and Development, Layered Products or   Systems and Networking) would get the following information from the Member via ServiceNow:

·         Name of individual requesting assistance (E.g., DBA)

·         Primary and secondary phone number

·         Operating system version

·         Product version (E.g., ORACLE V 8.1.7)

·         Urgency level

·         A brief task description

·         A planned time to perform the task

·         Support from ITEC for the task would then be scheduled based upon mutual agreement between ITEC and the Member and formalized via ServiceNow. 

2.B.2. Emergency Conditions

Off-hour emergency support objectives: To provide direct ITEC and/or vendor support for ONLY Urgent calls. See section 5, "Severity Level of Requests for Assistance," which describes severity levels.

  Software Support Hardware Support
Hardware located at ITEC Yes Yes
Hardware not located at ITEC Yes No

Procedure for calling ITEC during off-hour emergency conditions:

·         The Member should collect the following information:

·         Name of person requesting assistance (E.g., DBA)

·         Institution

·         Primary and secondary phone numbers

·         Group to be contacted (E.g., Application Support and Development, Layered Products,  Systems and Networking),  

·         Operating system version

·         Product information (E.g., ORACLE V 8.1.7)

·         Severity level (Urgent)

·         A brief problem description

·         The Member should provide the appropriate ITEC support account via ServiceNow (or by email to Services@itec.suny.edu if they can't access ServiceNow) with a detailed description of the problem.

·         The Member having an Urgent problem should then contact the ITEC general office 716-878-ITEC (4832) and follow the “off” hour instructions in the message.

As with all technologies there is no way to guarantee a message can get through. E.g., a cell phone may not be in service if in a large building. Only wait 10-15 minutes before calling again. If all else fails, call another person and let them get the right person.

If this problem is new to the ITEC staff, the appropriate vendor support system (E.g., TARS for ORACLE) would be notified by the ITEC support person. This would be done even if the ITEC support person were able to resolve the problem with the Member. The reason for this would be to determine from the vendor if there was a preferable method of problem resolution.

3. Whom To Request Assistance From

ITEC has three support groups that Members can contact through ServiceNow. These are:

ITEC Application Support and Development, referred to as academic-type support,will provide assistance for Microsoft and Lotus Notes applications, ESRI geographic software, listserv discussion lists, other specialized academic software and for all programming languages supported by ITEC, with the exception of COBOL.  Email: services@itec.suny.edu

ITEC Layered Products, referred to as administrative support, will provide assistance for Oracle, Hyperion, RMS, Group1, and COBOL.  Email: services@itec.suny.edu

ITEC Systems and Networking, referred to as systems and communications support, will provide assistance for operating systems installs, system management, and networks in the following areas:  OpenVMS Alpha, LINUX, HP UX, Microsoft OS, Domino Server (Lotus Notes), Exchange Server, Pathworks

Email:  services@itec.suny.edu

If you are in doubt as to which ITEC area you should request assistance from, refer your request to “ITEC Application Support and Development.”  They will be responsible to "route" the request to the appropriate support group.

4. Who Can Request Assistance (Member requests)

As noted earlier, each Member of ITEC is expected to establish a local Member support group. The local support group can be developed along the lines of the ITEC organizational structure or any other organizational approach which best meets the needs of a Member. Only local Member support group designees are authorized to contact ITEC.

At this time it is not the intention of ITEC and the Executive Board to dictate or suggest the specific number of individuals composing a local support group. This approach should allow for maximum flexibility at the Member site to adjust to individual Member size, diversity and organizational structure. However, it is expected that the Member ITEC Advisory Committee representative will use discretion in the number of local individuals allowed to contact ITEC. Those individuals identified as being a member of a local support group should be reported to ITEC. It is believed that the more organized/structured the local support group is, the easier it will be for a Member to direct, analyze, respond and record local problems and resolutions. This, in turn, should lead to more effective utilization of both Member and ITEC resources. It is also expected that when a problem occurs, the local support group for that product would make sure no one in the group knows the answer.

As a Member of ITEC, you have an obligation to have appropriately trained staff. ITEC will accept requests for assistance only from Members that have received appropriate training at the SUNY Training Center (Syracuse) or an approved alternative. (See ITEC By-laws.)

5. Severity Level of Requests for Assistance

Four levels of severity have been established and one of these levels should be applicable when requesting assistance from ITEC. ITEC will respond to ServiceNow requests for assistance on a first-in first-out basis within descending order of severity level, i.e., triage method. The four levels of severity are:

Low - All systems are operational and no known problem exists.  However, we request assistance in how to do something, where to look for additional information or, is an approach to a problem solution viable.   

Normal - Assistance is needed regarding a known problem. The function/component is operational; however, assistance is needed.

High - A critical component of a system is not operational.

Urgent - Entire system is not operational.

A Member may request escalation of a previously submitted ServiceNow request. The first step towards resolution of such a request should be between the requesting party and ITEC individual handling the original request. If mutual agreement cannot be achieved, the requestor should contact his or her ITEC Advisory Committee representative. ITEC personnel should notify the ITEC CIO. If these parties cannot reach agreement, the matter becomes an issue for the ITEC Executive Board to resolve, as stated in the ITEC By-laws.

ITEC is not responsible for maintaining the appropriate engineering change level for your hardware. This is a Member responsibility.

6. Responses To and Recording of Requests for Assistance

In general, ITEC will respond to a request for assistance within one hour during normal business hours. ITEC is required to acknowledge receipt of a request for assistance within one working day. Response time is relative to severity level and total requests received by ITEC.

When a request or update is made, an email alert is sent to the requestor and ITEC support group notifying them that the ticket has been created or updated.  Where appropriate, ITEC will indicate what reference sources were used in developing the response.

When a response is made through email, the text of the original request for assistance will be included in an electronic-mail response. The individual responding will indicate his or her name. If multiple electronic dialogues are required for a request/response, each dialogue exchange will be incorporated into the previous message sequence set. 

7. Summary of Member Potential Action Items

Establish a local Member support group and its policies and procedures.

Notify ITEC of the initial and subsequent members (userids) of the local support group who can contact ITEC.

Maintain a Member file of requests for assistance and responses that users have addressed to their local support group.

8.  Customer Service

ITEC is performing special services for some Members for an additional fee. These Members have primary/secondary contacts for these customer services. When a problem occurs, the Member may contact the primary/secondary contact or use the procedures described herein. Should there be any problem, feel free to contact:

Mike Notarius, CIO
Mike Radomski, CTO
Don Erwin, CSM

If you dial the general office number, 716-878-ITEC (4832), the phone numbers of these individuals should be there.

In addition each Member/program manager (the person responsible for the service ITEC is providing) may request a list of all staff.

 

 



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