I originally came to the UW in April, 1994 – more than a decade ago – to manage the Client Services group for Computing & Communications, the UW’s central computing and networking organization.
After we did some realigning of C&C organizational structures last year, we ended up with two large client support units in different parts of the department. While the two units have managed to coordinate activities without letting too many things slip through the cracks (thanks to the hard work of many people), this bifurcated organizational structure has felt to many of us like a piece of unfinished business.
Yesterday we announced to our staff that on January 1 we will be combining the two organizations (Client Services and Customer Care) under the able leadership of my colleague Tammy Stockton. This will allow us to really focus our client support efforts in ways that will provide better and more integrated services for the faculty, staff, students, and others that we serve.
It’s a great move, and one that serves the institution well. There is definitely a part of me, however, that will miss being intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of supporting the users of the computing and networking services we provide.
It’s been a remarkable decade in customer support – when I started the Web browser was brand new, email was a text-only tool, and things like streaming video and instant messaging were just a project in some research lab. Over this period of time we’ve seen the use of Internet-based computing move from being the province of a few thousand alpha-geeks to something that’s used (and abused) in most households in the developed world. It’s been remarkable to be a (very small) part of such a fundamental shift in how the world works.
At the local level, we now support almost 300,000 active UW NetIDs, around 2,000 Nebula workstations, and a growing array of services and products for an increasingly diverse and technology-savvy set of people. This support is done by a small group of very dedicated and talented folks, and it’s been a real pleasure and an honor for me to be a part of that effort.
So what will I be doing?
I’ll be spending more time working with the other parts of C&C and EPLT I am engaged with (MyUW and Catalyst) looking at the array of services offered by C&C, evaluating and promoting new UW technology services, working with the institutional technology advisory structures we’ve put in place over the past two years, and furthering strategic technology efforts, like our work in evolving calendaring standards.
One thing for sure, it won’t be boring!