Are UK University Service Desks Leading Their Peers?

By Jennifer Carr

When I was at university in the 80s, tuition fees were fairly reasonable (in my opinion), and I
only knew one person who owned a computer. Most people were using an electric typewriter to complete assignments.  There was no WiFi, social media channels, smart phones or MOOCs. Things have certainly changed.

The U.K. university sector is a great one to study, review, and benchmark. With increasing tuition fees, BYOD and the consumerisation of IT, service desks at U.K. universities are facing a number of tough challenges and great opportunities. It is for these reasons that we recently worked with SDI and UCISA to benchmark all of the great work being done by service desk staff at U.K. universities.

This was the first time a comprehensive survey was carried out on the service desk function within U.K. universities. Some of the results are a surprise, and some are not. You can see all of the results in the recently published UK Higher Education Service Desk Benchmarking Report.

Want a sneak peak?

  • 19% provide 24-hour support;
  • 57% use Twitter to communicate with their customers;
  • 4% provide full support for BYOD, including the device itself;
  • 27% said their service desk spent most of its time fire-fighting; and
  • 76% selected improving what we have as a top service desk priority for the 2014-2014 academic year.

It is interesting to learn about the innovative programmes these service desks have been implementing to meet the growing demand and expectations of their customers. One has teamed up with a local repair business to provide hardware support for customer owned devices. Another has created its own YouTube channel where it posts video about everything from connecting to WiFi to setting up email.

I couldn’t agree with Peter Tinson (executive director of UCISA) more as he writes in the Foreword section of the report, “It is positive that the sector appears to recognise that the service desk is a key component in delivering the overall student experience, and institutions are looking to invest in developing both the staff and the processes that underpin the service desk operation.”

If you happen to be attending the upcoming UCISA Annual Conference 2014, why not go along to Sally Bogg’s presentation (on day one) that highlights the report and its findings. Cherwell Software will also be at this event, and we look forward to seeing our university customers.

Courtesy of Cherwell Software. Jennifer’s post was originally published on 19 March here 

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