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User Support. Miroslav Milinovic Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet Zagreb, Croatia <miro@srce.hr>. 5th CEENet Workshop on Network Technology, Budapest, Hungary, August 1999. Content. Who are you? Who are your users? Current situation Goals and activities

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User support l.jpg

User Support

Miroslav Milinovic

Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet

Zagreb, Croatia

<miro@srce.hr>

5th CEENet Workshop on Network Technology, Budapest, Hungary, August 1999.


Content l.jpg

Content

  • Who are you? Who are your users?

  • Current situation

  • Goals and activities

    • Helpdesk/hotline service

    • Training activities

      • Traditional training

      • Training trainers

    • Network based training

    • Complementary activities

  • What is wrong?

  • Strategy

  • Conclusion


Network l.jpg

... network


Who are you l.jpg

END-USER

INFORMATION

PROVIDER

END-USER

INTERNET

PROVIDER

INTERNET

END-USER

Who are you?


Who are your users l.jpg

END-USER

INFORMATION

PROVIDER

END-USER

INTERNET

PROVIDER

INTERNET

END-USER

Who are your users?


Current situation l.jpg

Current situation

  • rapid growth of the Internet

  • immense increase in the volume and the range of the available information

  • users require

    • basic training

    • constant knowledge improvement

    • competent and current information

    • expeditious helpdesk/hotline service


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Goals and activities

  • goals:

    • support user activities

    • promote effective use of network (services)

  • activities:

    • helpdesk/hotline service

    • training activities

    • other (complementary) activities


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Helpdesk/hotline service

  • single, competent contact point for users

    • institutions

    • end-users

  • can be reached by:

    • e-mail, phone, fax, post, personal contact

  • has proper connection with experts

  • provide on-line help tools (FAQ, advisories)

    • collect the data

    • publish information


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Helpdesk/hotline service

  • provides correct and actual information

  • it is important to keep users informed about:

    • network operations

    • network events

    • new services, software, ...

  • it is good to have documentation archive


Training activities l.jpg

Training activities

  • training for:

    • end-users

    • information providing stuff

    • network support stuff

    • trainers

  • enable constant and scaleable training for each type of user and knowledge level


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Training activities

  • under constant development

  • two kinds:

    • traditional (courses)

    • network based

  • supported with complementary user support activities


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Traditional training

  • based on courses (lectures, workshops)

  • design a courses schema (structured, scaleable)

    • recommend schedule for basic, typical, full training

  • prepare companion WWW pages

  • train the trainers

  • ask the users for their opinion


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Traditional training

  • courses should:

    • be focused on subject

    • be hands-on (workshops)

    • be short as possible

    • promote IS and the Internet as a knowledge resource

    • encourage users to self-education

    • have companion material (reference card) for each course


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Training trainers

  • important task

  • prepare trainers to:

    • prepare a course materials

      • slides, handouts, software

    • deliver courses

      • teaching (presentation) skills

      • make class comfortable

      • catch attention; interaction

    • handle technical things

      • preparations for course

      • problems


Network based training l.jpg

Network based training

  • several topics:

    • WWW based training

    • CMC - Computer Mediated Communication

    • distance learning

  • no (spectacular) results, yet

    • pure tutorials are not efficient (boring ?)

  • special software

    • FirstClass, TopClass (http://www.wbtsystems.com), ...


Network based training16 l.jpg

Network based training

  • users would like:

    • just-in-time

    • just-enough

  • some problems:

    • on-line courses completely substitute “normal” courses

    • learner left alone

    • missing navigation

    • “media overkill”


Complementary activities l.jpg

Complementary activities

  • use network services as much as possible

  • printed materials

    • absolute necessity for the absolute beginners

    • reference cards

    • user manuals

  • software packages

    • customized software for Internet access


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Complementary activities

  • pilot projects

    • IT penetrates in some fields of interest or communities

    • improves the network skills in a traditionally closed or disinterested environment

  • dedicated events

    • organize or participate

    • chance to widespread the information and basic knowledge


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What is wrong?

  • long-lasting phone and “face to face” dialogue

  • fragmented support

  • unscaleable service

  • duplication of effort

  • ineffective support

  • lots of paper


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Strategy

  • provide as many user support services as possible on-line:

    • enable users to easily obtain current information

    • exploit e-mail, WWW, lists, news, …

  • think pro-active rather then re-active

    • prepare and educate users

    • concepts rather then quick fixes

  • involve responsible (experts) in support


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Strategy

  • design scaleable service

    • good for novice and advanced user

  • plan your activities

    • training activities

    • user support for new services

  • maintain quality and currency of information

  • do not forget:

    • high user expectations

    • lots of novice users


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Conclusion

  • a wide range of activities is needed

  • remember:

    • competent helpdesk/hotline service

    • on-line help tools (FAQ, advisories)

    • training activities

    • printed materials for beginners

    • constant training for user support personnel

  • Make realistic plans!


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Questions ?


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