Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Andrew McAlorum, and I’m the new Director of Client Services in IST. I have always worked in Higher Ed, and in a way have never left University. I did my undergrad at Queen’s University, then went on to complete my Master’s degree at UofT. After graduation, I worked in Web Developer and Project Manager roles in Libraries at York University and UofT. In 2013, I joined the University of Waterloo as the Head of Digital Initiatives at the Library. I have always gravitated to the web and technology side of things, so when the opportunity came up to move to IST as the Manager of Web Development, I jumped at it. We got a lot done with the web team and I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going in my new capacity.
What’s your vision for Client Services moving forward?
Relationship building, partnerships, and collaboration. We need to work together with our colleagues across campus to ensure we’re delivering quality service that has a positive impact on students, faculty, and staff. At the same time, I’m big on speed and agility. Sometimes we want things to be perfect before we let people use it, but it doesn’t need to be. Build the minimum viable product, ship it, listen to your customers, and continuously improve through iteration. We need to move fast and be adaptive to the changing needs of our campus community in order to remain relevant. In IST, we have a strong foundation of providing excellent client service, and I’d like to build on that by pushing beyond the status quo (where possible) with new and innovative approaches to how we work and deliver the services we provide.
Any projects you’re particularly excited about?
We are in the process of completing IST’s new strategic plan, and communications is a major theme of this initiative. We do a lot of great work, roll out many new products and services, but don’t always talk about them enough. We need to do a better job of telling our story. This will be one of our areas of focus over the coming months and you’ll see it reflected in some of our new work, including the recently launched IST Newsletter, and later, our Annual Report.
Office 365 is another great service, now available to all students, faculty, and staff. I’m excited to be leading an Office 365 advancement initiative that will further promote the service and identify new opportunities for integrating it into our day-to-day roles. For researchers and students that are regularly off-campus, OneDrive is such a user-friendly cloud storage solution.
Last year we released iOS and Android apps for the Portal and traffic skyrocketed. Portal uptake continues to increase and more features for students are being released all the time. There is so much more we can do with this platform, so it would be really great to see it expanded to the entire campus. By pulling data in from all our systems, Portal can be the digital one stop shop for everyone at the University. What about a portal for staff to help them plan their careers, or one for faculty to see profiles of the students they are teaching? How great would it be to have single sign-on to all the places students need access to on a daily basis – Learn, Quest, WaterlooWorks, Office 365 – by only having to open the app? Technically it is all possible, and I’m excited to work with our campus partners to explore these opportunities.
By pulling data in from all our systems, Portal can be the digital one stop shop for everyone at the University
IT Service Management
IT Service Management continues to be a priority – reviewing and optimizing our processes and procedures to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to our clients. Back in 2014, Bob Hicks worked on developing Service Level Agreements (SLA's) with all the faculties and administrative support units. This really comes down to having a conversation about what our clients want from us, their expectations of the services they rely on that we provide, and identifying areas of improvement. It’s also good to document this, so that we have something to refer to in the future. In 2018, I’ll be meeting with all groups on campus to update and revise these SLA's.
We are involved in so many other projects, but the last one I’ll mention is our service desks. We opened two new service desks this fall; one in the Dana Porter Library and a second in Claudette Millar Hall. Our Davis Centre Library desk is being renovated, and the service desk in Village 1 is as busy as ever. No matter how technology changes, our client-centered approach remains constant. There is always a friendly Client Support Specialist nearby to assist you; we’re happy to help.