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LISA 2001 Abstract

Defining the Role of Service Manager: Sanity Through Organizational Evolution

Mark D. Roth, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign


In large university environments, a centralized academic computing organization is often responsible for providing campus-wide computing services. These organizations usually understand the need for system administrators and software developers, but the people they hire for these roles will often wind up managing service software as a secondary responsibility. This approach often results in poor service quality, overworked employees, and high staff turnover.

In this paper, I present the role of service manager as I have helped define it in my organization and explain how it addresses quality of service issues and staffing shortages. I also detail the organizational changes that my department has implemented to create a group of service managers, relate the process of implementing those changes, and examine some of the pitfalls that were discovered in the process.

Through the changes described in this paper, we have improved our quality of service, dramatically reduced the frequency of late-night pages, quadrupled the number of systems we can run with a fixed-size staff, and greatly increased staff retention.

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Last changed: 30 Apr 2002 ml
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