UNIT 28 IT support for end users

UNIT 28 IT support for end users



Q1) Describe the typical role of an ICT Support Technician. You should research and include examples of how the ICT technician would support users to meet their needs, and the variety of approaches that organisation adopt to support end users.

A typical role of an ICT Support Technician is to provide support to users of a particular network (often within several buildings, depending on the size of the company).

Duties of a typical ICT Support technician would include the following:

* Installation and maintenance of the company IT network equipment (software and hardware).

* To carry out simple upgrades and repairs to company computers.

* Assist with Network User Account management and creation.

* Assist with the safe movement of computerised equipment.

* Provide support (telephone/online helpdesk/physical helpdesk) in both software and hardware queries by the users of the company IT equipment.

* Possibly assisting in the training needs of users of IT equipment.

* Escalation of more complicated faults to the appropriate senior technician or manager.

The following page shows a screen print of the online helpdesk used at Reading College. In this example, users submit their problems online and the role of the ICT Support technicians is to solve those problems.

Reading College also uses a telephone helpdesk and a physical helpdesk at which both students and staff may approach the ICT technician on duty to ask advice concerning any problems encountered when using the IT equipment

Q2) List four situations where an ICT support technician might assist a user.

Four situations in which an ICT Support technician may assist a user are as follows:

1. A user cannot log in and is certain that the password entered is correct. It would be the role of the ICT Support technician to confirm that the password is entered correctly (checking for CAPS LOCK) or resetting the password for the user and asking them to try again. Should the password be correct then the next stage would be to assess whether there is a network or hardware problem (faulty network cable, missing network cable, faulty network interface card or incorrect settings on the Network card), or a software problem (the wrong settings are enabled in the Operating System, for example TCP/IP is not enabled on a network requiring it to be enabled), or a possible server authentication problem at which point the ICT technician would escalate the problem to the appropriate senior technician or manager.

2. A user is certain that they had saved their work correctly to their network area but the files seem to have disappeared. The role of the ICT Support technician would be to determine the time and date the files were last saved and the user's network ID, the ICT Support technician would then either check backup tapes or escalate to the appropriate person in authority.

3. A user is having difficulty using a software package with which they are unfamiliar. The role of the ICT Support technician would be to assist the user in the basic commands of the software to enable the user to complete their required task, or to point them to the appropriate training person should they require extensive training.

4. A user has saved their work at home on a floppy disk but the computer at work cannot read the file. The role of the ICT technician would be to determine if the file has been saved in a different format to those readable by the company pcs and possibly search for a way to convert the file (for example .wps to .doc), or to determine if the floppy disk has been corrupted and therefore needs to be scanned by a data recovery program in order to attempt recovery of the lost files.

Q3) Design a paper-based form which could be used by ICT support staff to gather information about IT users about problems they may be experiencing with their computers.

Reference Number ***************

Name / User ID

Company / Faculty

Contact Address / Room

Contact Number

Contact email address

PC ID number

Operating System and version (if known)

RAM (if known)

HDD (if known)

Processor (if known)

Problem description

Describe what you were doing when the problem occurred

When was the hardware / software last working correctly

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Note that if ID number is obtained, technical information about the PC would not be required as that should be held in a central database, for PCs outside of the company the full details would be required.

Explain what information would need to be entered on the form for each of the situations in questions 2 and why

1. User information would be required to determine if the ID had entered the password incorrectly, the user could be asked if they had checked CAPS LOCK. A problem description and when the hardware was last working correctly would be required, as would be a description of what the user was doing when the fault occurred to determine if the user had mistakenly displaced the network cable or damaged it. In this situation, a user could be contacted by phone and asked a series of questions relating to the network cable and the LEDs on the back of the network interface card to possibly assist in determining the fault. In most cases an ICT technician would be required to check the PC physically to see if the hardware or software was at fault.

2. User ID would be required to obtain the files from back up tapes, a date and time of when the files were last seen would be required, and contact details to contact in the user in the case of any queries.

3. The User details and contact details would be required and the type of software used with a problem description in order to assess whether an ICT technician could offer basic training or the user would need to be offered extensive training by a qualified trainer.

4. The user details and contact details would be required with a description of when the software/ files were last working correctly. The user would need to provide information of the type of file or need to be contacted by an ICT Support technician in order to assess whether the disk was corrupted or just saved in a format unrecognisable to the current hardware/software.

Identify other relevant job or user information that would usefully be captured during the support activity (you may do this by showing these information topics on your form, or if you intend that such information would be put in a "comments" area, by listing the topics which might be included).

Topics that may be included in the comments area would be information such as file type (.doc,.wps etc), also filenames in the case of lost files, software type In the case of additional training required and anything else the user considers useful such as so-and-so had the same problem and a technician called..... fixed it.

Q4) What knowledge, experience and skills do companies look for when recruiting ICT support staff?

The following skills would be required for the position of ICT Support Technician:

1. Good communication skills and a pleasant, clear telephone manner.

2. Possess the ability to improve personal and technical skills as required.

3. Have a calm and methodical approach to working and the ability to remain calm in difficult situations.

4. Have either appropriate relevant experience and or qualifications in the IT field (possible Computer Science degree, Comptia A+, or ICT Support Technician ND, or C&G in the appropriate area).

5. To be able to escalate problems unable to be solved within 24 hours.

What targets would you expect Managers to set for their ICT support team?

I would expect managers to set the following targets:

1. All helpdesk jobs to be resolved or escalated within 24 hours of submission.

2. No missed calls for telephone support and appropriate technicians issued to helpdesk jobs submitted via the telephone that cannot be resolved over the phone.

3. Difficult customers dealt with in a calm manner and possibly redirected to the appropriate manager if necessary.

4. Complaints about standards of work / recurring or unresolved problems to be kept to a minimum.

5. Stock check to be kept daily with a minimum of discrepancies.

6. Health and Safety and Security policies adhered to.

Briefly outline how the form in question 2 would be used by the ICT support team to trace the progress of fault resolution, and by management to gather statistics.

The reference number could be input into a database/spreadsheet with problem description and user details with a date submitted and date resolved filed included for easy search and statistical data analysis by management.

Number of completed jobs per technician can be obtained as well as overall number of completed jobs, alongside outstanding jobs per technician and overall.

What training and qualifications are available for prospective ICT support technicians?

Prospective ICT Support Technicians should be given the chance to learn from jobs completed, be given a mentor to work alongside in the early stages of employment and should be given the opportunity to gain professional qualifications if they do not already posses them, up to MCSE or even CCNA standard and also given the chance to progress within the team should they show initiative.

Q5) Describe how the knowledge and actions of ICT support technicians can

* Influence company strategy though the use of IT and MIS

Data obtained and distributed can be used to forecast results as well as show the history of the company.

The right kind of hardware for users needs and the right design of network that will save the time of those users making them more efficient in their jobs can influence the strategy of the company and assist it in progression.

ICT Support technicians assist in maintaining the hardware and software so that it will function correctly from day to day.

* Implement Company IT and MIS strategy

Company IT and MIS strategies involve the data protection act, training and support of users, ICT technicians support and train users in using the systems as well as maintaining them centrally so that security policies in use will protect data held and make it accessible to the right people.

* Influence company performance through the design, maintenance and upgrading of IT and MIS facilities

ICT Support technicians maintain the IT hardware and software to keep them running efficiently so that time and data are not lost, consistent upgrades will ensure both hardware and software are up to date and free from corruption.

The design of the company IT equipment should enable easy expansion with little or low maintenance and reduce the need for major changes to system and network architecture. If system performance is jeopardised then company performance can also be jeopardised. 

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