Moving a university to a remote environment requires a lot of time, technology, and IT infrastructure. In early March, IT staff worked tirelessly to help UWM departments create new, remote structures that still allowed them to serve the campus community. Now, more halfway through the fall semester, Microsoft Teams has become a prominent part of our virtual environment, and several departments across campus were able to fully transition to remote call centers using Microsoft Teams.
One of the first call centers to go remote was the UWM Help Desk. It was essential that IT support continued to be provided in order to facilitate the move for other departments. Trying to replicate the on-campus system proved difficult – ensuring that calls coming into the central helpline (414-229-4040) were correctly routed to individual employees that were now working remotely required a lot of technical infrastructure that did not previously exist.
It was important to ensure students, faculty and staff were able to continue to rely on the services the UWM Help Desk provided. Over the course of 2 weeks, changes and updates were made every day to ensure we could continue to help the campus with their technology needs, especially at a time when the campus community was transitioning to virtual learning and work environments.
IT staff were able to test out and implement this technology quickly in order to keep employees safe and to continue to provide key support to campus. They had successfully set-up the very first remote call center for UWM. This work was replicated for departments across the campus including the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid, Lubar Career Services, the Bursar’s Office, and many more.
Microsoft Teams is now fully available to UWM faculty and staff, and the implementation of these remote environments was not initially in scope for the project. IT staff across campus worked collaboratively to ensure there was no gap in services provided to students, faculty, and staff.
When first implementing Teams for faculty and staff in February of this year, Chancellor Mone said “UWM’s adoption of the Microsoft Teams platform will profoundly transform how we communicate and collaborate, helping deliver the benefits of ‘digital transformation’ to our campus community.”
The response of UWM’s IT staff throughout the pandemic has assuredly reached the digital transformation we set out to achieve. To learn more about Microsoft Teams please visit uwm.edu/teams.