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UIT, ITS merge, form Tufts Technology Services

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 08:01

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Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

Beginning on Feb. 1, University Information Technology (UIT) and Information Technology Services (ITS) will combine to form Tufts Technology Services (TTS), which will provide technology support to the Tufts community.

University Information Technology (UIT) and Information Technology Services (ITS) will merge together on Feb. 1 to form Tufts Technology Services (TTS), the new main information technology service for the university. The goal of combining ITS and UIT is to simplify the services both organizations offer, according to Vice President for ITS and Chief Information Officer David Kahle.

The new service will make Tufts’ tech support more accessible, faster and integrated, according to Dawn Irish, UIT’s director of communications and organizational effectiveness. Traditionally, UIT provided technology services including Tufts’ email, data storage and wireless networking, while ITS conducted the underlying technical support for these services to students and faculty at the local level.

Representatives from UIT and ITS met last February to discuss how to better serve students and faculty, and ultimately decided to integrate into one organization, Irish said. According to a letter that Kahle sent out to the Tufts community this week, UIT and ITS members also received feedback about the plan from Tufts community members and a consulting firm.

One of the goals for TTS is to reduce the complexity of finding the right service, according to Kahle. He outlined what the integrated service will entail, including that it will make the user experience for students and faculty simpler.

“A single number to call, one web address to remember and a team of IT professionals fully aware of the entire portfolio of IT services available to the community,” Kahle explained. “[This] will result in more responsive service.”

Alison Tai, a sophomore and computer science major, looks forward to a modified TTS website.

“The UIT site right now is really messy and hard to navigate,” Tai said. “I’m glad there will soon be a cleaner, more centralized site.”

Tufts’ technology services had been decentralized since the 1990s, with UIT and ITS holding diverging responsibilities, according to Irish. Back then, computers were not as advanced and departments all used different forms of software and data storage, she said. Because of this, Tufts separated ITS from UIT.

Today, with large, interoperable tech services developed by UIT such as Trunk there is no longer the need for individual programs, and so the merge comes from a desire to modernize the tech support offered at Tufts, according to Irish.

“Now that computers are more integrated, we must become more integrated as well,” she said.

Irish said that websites from both services will be consolidated, as will contact information and the type of tech support offered.

“You won’t have to know how the organization is organized to get the help that you need,” Irish said.

Kahle explained that a new IT Service Desk is under development as part of an effort to attain centralized support.

“The new IT Service Desk will offer extended hours, be accessible through multiple channels—web, phone, chat, in−person— and provide ‘first−call’ resolution for the majority of IT support incidents,” he said.

Kahle believes that bringing ITS and UIT together will bridge gaps in communication that exist between those who design Tufts’ technology and those who service it.

“Through coordinated planning and investment we can also better ensure that the many, interdependent technologies required to effectively support academic and administrative activities are up−to−date and consistently maintained,” he said.

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