Help! I Need Somebody – Help! Not Just Anybody: New Remote Help Desk Provides On-Demand Expertise

By Todd McElroy posted 01-17-2012 12:10 PM


By Todd McElroy, Vice President Higher Education, CedarCrestone

How often do people on your campus find themselves in need of PeopleSoft consulting help, but with no easy way to get it? Maybe you need an advanced XML report, or you can’t resolve a system error, or maybe you just need some help with the setup of a new business process. Whatever the challenge, the result is usually upset students and/or impatient users who want the problem(s) resolved quickly. If this sounds familiar, today’s blog installment might just be the ticket for you.

We recently launched a new service that is exceeding even our own expectations. CedarCrestone’s Remote Help Desk (RHD) offering provides inexpensive and on-demand access to our most experienced consultants.  We created this service to support our clients in adapting to reduced budgets while meeting ever-increasing expectations regarding prompt, reliable issue resolution.

Long after the implementation completes, things continue to change and problems occur from time to time. Your campus’ functional or technical staff do not always have the time, knowledge or experience to efficiently diagnose problems or build new solutions. When this occurs, it can create a very unsettling environment.

Historically, in order for an institution to get outside PeopleSoft Help in such cases, it had two choices:

  1. Hire a consultant to help with the issue(s).  This often meant having issues pile up until they justified a contract, reviewing resumes, selecting a consultant, and hoping the consultant’s availability lined up well with the institution’s staff.
  2. Reach out to friends and colleagues in the hope that they had the knowledge and experience to help, and more importantly, that they had the time.

With the RHD, schools don’t have to spend precious time navigating these murky waters, and they don’t have to ‘shop’ for a qualified consultant. They merely submit a help desk ticket and CedarCrestone quickly gets the right consultants involved to solve the problem.

Recently, one of our RHD clients was in the middle of their enrollment cancellation process when they ran into an issue that they could not resolve.  They submitted a ticket to RHD and we moved quickly to resolve their problem, which allowed them to complete their process on the same day.

Here are a few typical scenarios where the Remote Help Desk has proven to be the perfect turnkey solution:

  • Loss of a key staff member, either permanently or temporarily.
  • More pending issues than the existing staff can handle in a timely manner.
  • More “priority” items than the current staff can handle all at once.
  • New or difficult challenges due to internal or external changes/initiatives.

Whatever the reason, when school personnel submit a ticket to the RHD, they can feel confident that the issue will be resolved quickly and effectively because the RHD draws upon the most experienced problem solving consultants within CedarCrestone.

When a ticket is received, the issue is triaged and assigned to the right consultant or group of consultants.  Usually RHD consultants communicate with the client via email, telephone and webinars. The vast majority of tickets are resolved within 48 hours.

When a school submits a ticket, they receive a confirmation that the ticket was submitted, and all subsequent communications are tracked within the ticket history.  Schools then receive a monthly report of their unit expenditures and the details behind each ticket.

The RHD is a subscription-based service.  Institutions subscribe to the RHD at various levels depending on need. Like cell phone plans, the cost per unit decreases as the volume of units purchased increases.

RHD currently supports all Campus Solutions (CS) modules (Academic Advising, Admission, Financial Aid, Student Financials, and Student Records), as well as Portal, Security and Technical issues (debugging, small modifications, reports, and queries). RHD technical developers are able to debug existing modification issues and can even build smaller modifications. (Of course, larger customizations are best handled by dedicated developers – working either onsite or remotely.) Support for PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM) and Financials are planned for the near future.

While I don’t expect the Remote Help Desk to be a panacea for all institutions, I do expect it to be a solid, cost-effective solution for the many institutions that experience challenges with their PeopleSoft applications from time to time.


About Todd McElroy

Todd McElroy, VP Higher Education for CedarCrestone, blogs about planning and managing ERP and Student Administration implementations, including project leadership, project oversight, functional consulting, end user support, and complex multi-institution project success for the Higher education market. CedarCrestone has completed over 1000 implementation and upgrades projects for more than 300 colleges and universities. CedarCrestone is an Oracle Education and Research Industry Specialized Platinum Partner.


First posted on the CedarCrestone blog: November 28, 2011

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