ITS Service Level Description

This Service Level Description informs the University community regarding:

  • The technology services ITS provides to the campus.
  • The responsibilities of ITS as a provider of these services and the responsibilities of customers receiving services.
  • Processes for customers to request services and support.
  • The general levels of response, availability, and maintenance associated with these services.

Service and Support Delivery

Service descriptions and support information for commonly requested services will be published for the community on the ITS Service Catalog website. ITS also maintains an internal technical catalog with more information.

Service Catalog 
  • Available services, their attributes, and support information is documented in the ITS Service Catalog.
  • The Service Catalog is continually updated with additional and new service information. 
  • Services are provided in adherence to any related policies, processes and procedures. 
Support Scope
  • The general level of availability for services is defined.
  • Processes for service and help requests are communicated.
  • Prioritization of requests, and standard response times for service and help requests is defined.
  • An outage notification process is available and communicated.
  • The Change Management process provides for planned outages to services and includes communication to all stakeholders.

Roles and Responsibilities

ITS works to provide predictable service and support delivery to the campus community.  Achievement of service delivery standards is dependent on both ITS and the customer performing their responsibilities. 

ITS Responsibilities
  • Meeting service delivery levels specified in the ITS Service Catalog.
  • Meeting response times associated with the priority assigned to incidents and due dates of service requests.
  • Implementing defined processes to meet service level commitments.
  • Appropriately notifying clients of all scheduled maintenance via Change Management process.
Customer Responsibilities 
  • Using the defined processes for requesting help and services.
  • Monitoring the ITS outage communications and notifying ITS of forthcoming local events with ITS dependencies. 
  • Responding to inquiries from ITS staff who are resolving incidents and handling service requests.
  • Complying with campus and security policies. 

Requesting Services and Help

A customer may request a service or assistance from ITS through one of seven methods. Information is entered into a ticket in our incident tracking system to be prioritized and assigned appropriately.  

Web Help Desk Ticket System at https://whd.stthomas.edu

Directly enter a help or service request in a ticket that ITS can process quickly. This method is the most efficient to process help or service requests. Tickets are normally handled during Tech Desk hours of operation.

Phone the Tech Desk at 651-962-6230

Phone service is available during Tech Desk hours of operation as posted on the Tech Desk website. Messages left after hours will be processed the next business day by creating a ticket and assigning it. 

Email the Tech Desk at techdesk@stthomas.edu

Help or service requests received by email will be processed in a ticket during Tech Desk hours of operation. 

In-Person Assistance

In-person service is available during business hours at Tech Desk Too in St. Paul and at Scholars in Minneapolis.

ITS Service Catalog Request Button

Services listed in the Service Catalog website may include a request link to a form that captures information to process the request in a Web Help Desk ticket.

Work Orders or Web Forms

Services that utilize specialized work order or web forms will be processed from date of receipt of the completed form. 

Department Technology Consultant

For services not listed in the ITS Service Catalog, contact your Department Technology Consultant (DTC).   

Hours of Coverage, Response Times and Escalation

The Tech Desk serves as the main point of contact for managing incoming requests. Depending on the nature of the request, tickets will be assigned appropriate response and resolution timeframes. During busy times of the Academic year or in the event of unplanned priorities, normal response times may be delayed. 

Hours of Coverage
  • The Tech Desk hours of operation are published on the Tech Desk website.  The hours are adjusted for federal holidays, University holidays, closures and special events.
  • ITS responds off-hours to unplanned outages of an urgent nature using a service disruption escalation process.
Normal Response

Calls to the Tech Desk during operating hours are logged in a ticket immediately. Requests coming through other methods, will be entered into a ticket and assigned within a business day, based on the urgency.  Depending on the request type and its associated priority, there are varying initial response and resolution times. The following guideline applies unless the Service Catalog description specifies a different response time. 

Priority   

Initial Response  

Resolution      

Definition  

Emergency   

15 minutes  

1 hour  

Critical and immediate impact to a business operation. 

Urgent  

1 hour  

4 hours  

Significant impact to business operation of client.   

Standard  

2 days  

5 days  

No significant impact on business operation of the client.  

Moderate  

3 days  

10 days  

Requires time to process or schedule.  

Special   

5 days  

Need-based  

Involves in-depth, extensive or customized work.  

Many requests can be resolved at the time of Initial Response. As a ticket is processed, and more information becomes available, priority may be changed. Communication regarding progress should be captured in the ticket.

Prioritization of Urgent Requests

If you consider your help or service request urgent, call the Tech Desk at 651-962-6230.  Urgent examples include reporting a service outage or reporting an impact to instruction.  ITS has a set of criteria to prioritize an incident as "emergency" based on a global campus view. An incident will be assigned "emergency" priority if it meets any one of the following criteria:

  • Significant risk to life and safety.
  • Significant impact on the delivery of instruction.
  • Significant or lasting impact on student academic performance.
  • Significant risk to law, rule, or policy compliance.
  • Academic and Administrative Calendar deadlines.
  • Significant number of people affected. (Organizational structure is a multiplier for number of people affected.)
  • Percentage of total tasks that can no longer be performed by individuals.

For situations that affect a large number of people or otherwise generate a large amount of help requests (a system outage), a mass communication may be sent out in lieu of an individual response.

Escalation

If you are not satisfied with the level of service on a help or service request, contact your Department Technology Consultant or call the Tech Desk and ask to speak to the Manager.  

System Availability, Maintenance and Service Changes

ITS strives to keep all services operational.  However, there are occasional outages, both planned and unplanned that affect our system availability.

Outages and Communication

Planned service outages and changes result from work that is prepared and scheduled in advance and generally occurs during a pre-determined maintenance window.

  • ITS uses a Change Management process to minimize unintended service disruptions when changes are made to the production environment. This includes evaluating, monitoring and managing changes to maximize the service benefits to the customer while minimizing the risks, and also scheduling outages at optimal times.
  • Planned outages are typically performed during scheduled Change Management Events as published on the ITS Events Calendar on the ITS website.
  • ITS communicates to the appropriate audience a minimum of two days prior to a planned outage.  There are various ways that the outage is communicated (depending on the academic calendar), including the Newsroom, social media, the ITS website, and pertinent email distribution groups.
  • Campus units are responsible for monitoring the ITS outage communications to notify ITS of local events that may be affected.

Unplanned service outages are due to an unforeseen event or an urgent repair.

  • Unplanned service outages are given priority depending on the type and urgency of the service failure. 
  • These outages are communicated immediately, if possible, through the appropriate methods. Failures that occur outside normal hours are communicated the following business day to the appropriate audience.
Guidelines for ITS Maintenance Windows

A maintenance window is a defined period of time during which planned outages and changes to production services and systems may occur. The purpose of defining standard maintenance windows is to allow clients of the service to prepare for possible disruption or changes.  The following guidelines apply:

  • Maintenance windows known as Change Management Events are regularly scheduled on Sunday mornings and are published on the ITS Events Calendar.
  • Routine changes and maintenance that does not intentionally disrupt service should be made outside the stated availability hours for the service.  
  • Work scheduled outside of these windows should have explicit signoff from the system owner or designated customer representative, if possible.  Appropriate communication should precede changes.
  • Planned outages and changes should not be scheduled during the first day of instruction, the last day of instruction through finals, the day grades are due for the academic quarters, student orientation week, fiscal year end close, during Commencements, or other significant campus events.
  • Major upgrades to a service are treated as projects and a may require prolonged or frequent outages during the implementation outside of normal maintenance windows. Such work requires special communication as determined in the project.
System Availability and Restoring Services

ITS defines different levels of service for systems depending on their function and necessary operating timeframes. Minor maintenance can occur in the off-hours for a service. If an unplanned outage or issue occurs, services will be restored with an appropriate level of effort to achieve the availability goal for that service. The following tiers are used to describe the different levels of availability:

  • Essential systems – constant availability (24x7)
  • Academic systems – class hours availability (7 AM to 10 PM Mon. through Sat.)
  • Business systems – business hours availability (7 AM to 6 PM, Mon. through Fri.)
  • Supplemental systems – non-critical availability (next business day)
  • Externally supported systems – vendor service level agreement (report to vendor)