Student e-mail to undergo overhaul

Technicians at Missouri Southern are putting a face on technical support with the ITS Help desk initiative.

The Helpdesk, located just above University Java on the second floor of Spiva Library is the new place to go for computer “how-tos”, lost passwords and general technical support.

Debbie Woodmansee, will manage more than 10 technicians in her new capacity as Helpdesk leader.

“We want to centralize the Helpdesk, make it more accessible to students and faculty,” Woodmansee said. “We just wanted to be in a visible spot so people would know where we are easily.”

The Helpdesk fielded more than 4,000 calls during September, including from lost passwords, connectivity issues, account management and other questions. Priority responses start with campus-wide problems and trickle down to the individual user.

Moving to a more central location has been in the works for almost a year. With the implementation of Banner, the operations channel moved to a more supportive role.

“Now that mainframe has gone away we’re focusing on PC support,” Woodmansee said.

“Helpdesk is our big initiative,” said Ryan Halstead, electronic communication technician. “We’re really striving for a world-class customer support experience for everybody who comes up to this help desk and we’re trying to focus our efforts through that help desk to enable faculty and staff to really connect with us so we can really help them with whatever is wrong at the time.

Need for accessibly and a visible point of contact prompted the change. Another upcoming change is the rollover of student e-mail accounts to the new program. Student e-mail will not change during the fall semester, but when it does transition it will be to an entirely new system rather than the two systems currently in use.

“The MSSU Groupwise, the student domain, is going to stay live until the break between the semesters, as is the Exchange, the,” Halstead said. “During the break we’re going cut all of the students over to the program that we are using.”

Students will have 90 days to move their existing mailboxes to the new program. Currently in testing, Halstead says they will prepare a list of FAQs to help with the transition. Alumni will be contacted with instructions in changing their accounts. Halstead says the move will improve e-mail services and allow ITS to better manage its in-house systems.

New e-mail addresses with the Live.Edu program will carry the extension. The program is web-based but resembles Microsoft’s Outlook program. It will allow 5 GB of storage. Beta users will help ITS management work out possible problems before the system is put in place.

“I think initially there was some talk about provisioning it over right at the end of September,” Halstead said. “But that’s just not feasible, we’re still testing we want to make sure this thing is bulletproof.”