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Information Services - Who ya gonna call?

If the Information Services department had a theme song it would probably sound a lot like the popular 1980’s film Ghostbusters tune. Who ya gonna call? HelpDesk Support!

Many of us have the extension “81377” memorized better than our own phone extension, and for those of us who don’t, it’s conveniently located on the top of every computer.

With technology surrounding us on a daily basis it’s expected that there will be issues. There is a possibility for hundreds of technology related problems throughout a busy workday. Whatever the issue or request, the immediate reaction is to contact the Information Services department because we know we can count on them to help us out.

The department is currently comprised of 15 people divided into two main arms of operation: client services and development services.

Client services focuses on the user oriented side of technology including our personal computers and supporting technological requests. Development services focuses on programming for new technology and developing useful applications.

“Our department is structured within sub-teams under the larger Information Services umbrella, and what each of the teams does is actually quite different from one another,” said Sergio Rodriguez, director, Information Services.

Rodriguez explains that a typical work-day for the department is a high energy environment.

“On any given day we will do a combination of what we call ‘firefighting’, which is technical support issues that pop-up and need attention but aren’t planned, and planned general support projects, like training for new staff members or upgrading software,” Said Rodriguez. “We also have our planned ongoing large-scale projects that can take years to complete.”

Rodriguez also stresses the importance of taking advantage of the training and courses that the department offers.

“Right now, most of the software available is only used superficially: the first 20-25 per cent of the application. The real stuff, that can help us do our jobs faster and more efficiently, isn’t being leveraged and used the way we should,” he said.

In addition to training for various applications, Information Services offers a Continuing Professional Development course called Protecting Your Digital Self, taught by Rodriguez. The workshop teaches valuable translational knowledge including creating stronger passwords and securing networks, which can be used at work and home.

It can be a challenge for the team to make it out of the office as a group, but they try to celebrate their achievements, or soften the blow from a difficult week, by heading down to the Grad Club for a well-deserved drink and a plate of nachos.

“We also try to do a yearly summer get-together. Ramiro on our team has a pool, so we’ve organized a pool party that we give a cool name like the ‘Multicultural Potluck and Pool Bash’,” said Rodriguez with a laugh.

When asked what amazes Rodriguez about the group of people he works with, he explains that, collectively, they have a spirit that can’t be broken.

“Because of the role we are in, we don’t necessarily hear all the positive stuff. We hear a lot about when things aren’t going well, and deal with frustrated people,” he said. “It always amazes me how this group can stay so highly committed and positive on a daily basis.”