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Unit 28: IT technical support

BTEC National IT Practitioners

Unit 28 Assignment brief Criteria addressed by this assignment P1 identify different sources of technical information for problems and for each, describe how valid they might be P2 appropriately respond to questions raised by users and check that solutions proposed were successful P3 explain information gathering techniques that can be used to answer a problem or request P4 describe different communication routes through which advice and guidance can be made available to users P5 describe two current diagnostic and one current monitoring software tool used by support staff and outline possible future developments in this area P6 describe how organisational policies and procedures impact on the provision of technical advice and guidance. M1 evaluate different sources of technical information M2 produce appropriate support material that will guide users in relation to a specific area of expertise M3 explain the advantages and disadvantages to users and organisations of outsourcing the provision of technical support. D1 evaluate the impact of an organisation’s policy in relation to the support service provided to internal customers D2 review comprehensively a recent advance in support systems technology and evaluate the impact it is having on the provision of such support.

General scenario ITSMAGIC is a small company which makes props for magicians, such as top hats from which a rabbit can be pulled. ITSMAGIC employs 35 people, most of whom need access to information that is currently held on a number of standalone computers. The company operates from 08.00 to 17.30 Monday to Friday and 08.00 to 13.00 Saturday. Most of the marketing work is done on computers. Customers are contacted by telephone, but the customer details are called up from a large database. Mail shots are sent out on a regular basis using a mailing list held on a computer. Leaflets and questionnaires are designed in-house to be sent in mail shots. The company administration tasks are performed on computer, e.g. the payroll details for all staff. The company owns a 10 user licence for Microsoft Office XP Professional that is used for most of the tasks highlighted above. You are new to ITSMAGIC and your role is to provide IT support to all staff. Your immediate line manager supervises you and two other support technicians.

Report Log Extract

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Day

Time

Issue

From

Mon

0800

Cannot get Excel to load the spreadsheet developed at home over the weekend. Urgent as need to prepare report for company auditors.

George, company accountant, been with organisation about a year

Mon

0845

Cannot log into system.

Fredya. New assistant to MD

Mon

0915

Cannot make orders print off.

Edith, been with company since it was formed, marketing assistant

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BTEC National IT Practitioners

Unit 28: IT technical support

Unit 28 Assignment brief (contd) Report Log Extract (contd) Day

Time

Issue

From

Mon

1000

Cannot access orders list from new machine installed last week, cannot even find database package.

Willo, production team

Tues

0845

Same problem as yesterday.

Freyda

Tues

1300

Mouse keeps jumping then screen locks out, trying to print out college assignment finished at home last night, screen displays message ‘Gotchya’.

Jules, receptionist

Wed

1630

Keep getting message ‘Normal.dot cannot be saved’ when using the templates on the wordprocessor.

Fredya (her CV says she really does have some IT skills)

Thur

0900

Got new piece of design software that needs installing on machine and making compatible with printer.

Willo

Thur

1530

Went to check orders list and screen went ‘pop’ with a nasty smell.

Sunil, production assistant

Fri

1600

Need access to documents stored on Fredya’s machine but her machine won’t get past boot up stage.

Mr Magic, the boss

ITSMAGIC IT Policy and Procedure document extract • The working week for the IT support division is 08.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. Any requests for additional time must be submitted two working days in advance. • Hardware under guarantee must be returned to the manufacturer in order not to invalidate the warranty. • All other hardware will be repaired on site if possible, otherwise it will be sent to a recognised specialist (the current list is maintained in e:/techies/spec.doc). • Hardware replacement will take place on a five year rolling programme (full details to be found in e:/techies/hwpl.doc). • All documentation supplied with new hardware or software is to be kept in the IT manager’s office. • No unauthorised software is to be installed on company machines unless proof of a licence is available. • Internet use is restricted to permitted sites at all times. • Any member of the technical team who cannot resolve a problem must refer it to their line manager within 24 hours of starting work on the problem. • Requests made by the managing director or accountant must be given top priority. • All user requests must be acknowledged upon receipt and a timescale for start of support supplied. • All current legislation must be complied with at all times. • All technical staff are allowed 2 training days per year to allow for professional development.

Task 1 (P1, P3, M1) The list in the scenario shows you an extract of some problems that ITSMAGIC employees have raised and requests that they have made in the past week. From this you should: 1

Identify three different sources of technical information and, for each, discuss how useful these sources might be in resolving each of the employees’ problems.

© Owned by or under licence to Harcourt Education Limited 2007

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Unit 28: IT technical support

BTEC National IT Practitioners

Unit 28 Assignment brief (contd) 2

For one of the situations provided, explain the techniques that you could use to gather information about the request from an ITSMAGIC employee.

3

For another of the situations provided above, use different sources of technical information and evaluate your sources of information.

Task 2 (P6, D1) An extract from the policy and procedure document that could be used within ITSMAGIC is included in the scenario. It includes details such as those regarding setting priorities and any working conditions of the support team. Describe how these policies and procedures impact on the provision of technical advice and guidance. Review the organisational policy, and evaluate the impact of this policy on the support service provided to internal customers.

Task 3 (P2, P4, M2) Using the list supplied in the scenario, you will work with a partner for this activity and take turns to take the role of the ITSMAGIC employee and support technician. Your teacher will check that you respond appropriately to questions raised by the employee (your partner) and that you checked that the solutions you proposed were successful. Your teacher will complete the following witness statement on your behalf following the role play. Witness statement – supplied by magician regarding ………………… Date of activity Aspects addressed

Signature of magician

In relation to the specific technical problem that you addressed in the role play, explain the different communication routes you can use to make advice and guidance available to the ITSMAGIC employees. You must also produce support material that will guide the employees in relation to that an appropriate specific area of expertise.

Task 4 (M3) ITSMAGIC is considering disbanding the in-house support team and outsourcing the provision of technical support. Explain the advantages and disadvantages to users and organisations for outsourcing the provision of technical support (ignoring the fact that you will be made redundant).

Task 5 (P5, D2) Identify two current diagnostic tools and one current monitoring software tool that may be used by the ITSMAGIC support staff. Describe these tools and outline possible future developments of these tools that might prove useful for ITSMAGIC. On behalf of ITSMAGIC, comprehensively review a recent advance in support systems technology. Prepare a report evaluating the impact it could have on the provision of support within ITSMAGIC.

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© Owned by or under licence to Harcourt Education Limited 2007


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