Technical Expertise

New technology consultants are already making their mark
on campus

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Five months after being implemented, the Technology Consultant phase of the University's Local Service Center project is drawing positive reviews from around campus.

As part of a Project Delta initiative begun in January, 23 highly skilled tech consultants have been assigned to schools, academic support units and administrative departments, and the results have been overwhelmingly favorable, according to University administrators.

"The tech consultants are one of the best things to have happened at BC in a long time," said John Boylan Jr., Chemistry laboratory manager. "To have somebody in the department who is both qualified and willing to address our computing issues is a tremendous asset.

"It puts somebody local, rather than central, in a position to give us immediate help. It gets us off the 'Help Line' and puts someone right in the building on the job. Our TC has been very, very efficient," Boylan said.

Technology Consultant Dao Thach works with Publications and Print Marketing work study student Christine Zanchi (left) and Production Assistant Annette Trevette.
Many administrators have echoed Boylan's sentiments, according to Technology Consultant Team Leader Julie Olivieri, who noted that the TCs "have only just begun" to share their computer, voice-mail and telephone system knowledge and skills with the University's faculty and staff.

The tech consultants have interacted well as a team, Olivieri said, continually exchanging information and individual expertise to better solve all computer-based problems as they occur. Although they normally work one-on-one with individual offices, TCs can work in a group to provide wider services as needed, Olivieri said. She noted the recent installation of 19 new computer stations in O'Neill Library as an example of the flexibility of the new TC force.

"We sent a team of eight TCs in for the job and we were able to install them with a minimum of disruption, in spite of the fact that it was a high-traffic period in the library's schedule," Olivieri said.

She said that a similar "SWAT team approach" will be utilized this summer with the beginning of the Desktop 2000 Project, which will provide some 2,500 new computers across campus.

Olivieri said that the technology consultants have a two-fold mission. "We want to bring our information to each department and we want to bring the concerns of each of those departments back to the Information Technology staff for planning and training purposes.

"It has been a fabulous partnership all around," she said. "We are always looking for more feedback."

Schools, departments and offices will soon be forming Service Partnership Agreements with their TCs, Olivieri said, which clearly outline the services the TC provides and what the employees should do to obtain them. This enables a department that uses a specific computer application, such as FileMaker Pro, to ensure that the appropriate technical support will be available.

"Overall, the TCs have made an invaluable contribution to Boston College," said Local Service Center Director Brenda Ricard, who supervises the TCs. "The feedback we are getting is that they are accessible, responsive and supportive of people's computing needs.

"Most importantly, they have put a human face on Project Delta," she added.

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