By Keith Allison
April 30, 2012
In fall 2007, ITS launched NYU’s first online knowledgebase for computer, telephone, and other IT-related questions and answers. Since then, the evolving needs of our Global Network University and the emergence of new tools have given ITS the opportunity to modernize and enhance this community resource. Beginning in summer 2012, a new and improved Ask ITS knowledgebase service will be rolled out to replace the knowledgebase currently available at www.nyu.edu/its/askits. The new knowledgebase will both expand the amount of information available to the NYU community (as well as IT Service Desk support staff) and offer a variety of new and easier ways to access solutions to many of the University’s most common—and uncommon—technology questions.
As part of the launch, ITS initiated a large-scale review of the solutions available in the current knowledgebase and has worked to update and improve existing content. The number of services supported by the new knowledgebase will greatly expand as well, especially as it relates to NYU’s global locations. If a community member chooses to log into Ask ITS with their NetID and password, the site will also offer pre-packaged content straight from the product’s vendor (RightAnswers) with information about software that is not currently fully supported by the IT Service Desk (e.g., Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite). After the initial launch, we plan to further expand the NYU-specific offerings in Ask ITS, partnering with departments outside of ITS and providing ever-greater self-help information on a wide range of ITS-supported services.
Ask ITS will launch with a much improved user interface, bringing the website more in line with the University’s visual identity standards. This will help continue the transformation of NYU’s many online services into an integrated suite of tools that are easy to navigate, while remaining visually appealing.
At present, searching the Ask ITS knowledgebase requires visitors to use a separate search box in order to search the rest of the ITS website, making it challenging to know where to find information. The new Ask ITS knowledgebase integrates its search functions with the rest of the ITS website (www.nyu.edu/its) and with the entire NYU website so the information you need is readily available.
In the current knowledgebase, the discovery of information is limited to a keyword search. In the new service, information can be found using a keyboard search, but content is also categorized based on the service it relates to, in parallel with the organization of the ITS Service Catalog (www.nyu.edu/its/servicecatalog). This new feature will enable you to browse through solutions or refine search results using Category, Service, and Topic drop-down menus. This will make finding answers easier, especially if a keyword search returns a high number of results (e.g., E-mail or Blackboard ). It will also make it easier to discover and learn about ITS-supported services you may not know existed.
The new Ask ITS service also provides the ability to rate whether you found a solution helpful or not, flagging those that might need improvement and raising the search rank of those that you find particularly useful. In addition, we will be using a built-in survey tool to occasionally poll visitors on their experience with the site. Your input, along with ongoing assessments we’ll be able to conduct thanks to improved usage statistics, will enable us to ensure that the quality and accuracy of solutions remain high.
Should you still not find the answer to your question after a search, Ask ITS will now allow you to submit a question directly to the IT Service Desk. Questions will be associated with your NYU NetID and will immediately generate a Service Desk request. An ITS support analyst will then respond via e-mail or telephone within no more than two business days, but often much sooner.
ITS is very excited to launch this improved service and looks forward to rolling out additional enhancements and improvements over the course of the coming months. During this transition, we will be interested to hear your feedback on what works or what could use improvement. After Ask ITS launches, please submit feedback to the IT Service Desk using the built-in “Submit a request” form, or by calling 212-998-3333. Also, stay tuned to Connect or the ITS website for news about the upcoming launch. We hope you will find Ask ITS useful, and that you will use it often!
Keith Allison is a member of the Publications and Communications group at NYU Information Technology Services.