Since I moved teams to become a member of Core Services I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my new role is all about. IT is notorious for having a wide range of peculiar titles and descriptions for job titles. At a conference it’s quite common to see name badges sporting everything from analyst, engineer or technician to even architect! Needless to say these titles have nothing to do with socket wrenches and greasy overalls or to designing towering glass skyscrapers. This doesn’t mean they aren’t valid, simply that they are a different meaning to the way these words are usually used. A systems architect will design new IT systems from the ground up, creating the structure based on user and business need but within the limits of project budget. In that way their process isn’t that different those of a structural architect, just with a different type of construction as an end result.
To understand the origin of our teams name you need a foundation course is the structure of IT Services. The department is based on a number of small teams that have responsibility for certain elements of the IT systems or infrastructure at Edge Hill. Business Solutions manage all of the business systems such as the student record system or E-Fin. The web team manage virtually every web presence in the university from the main corporate site to GO and even this blog. Technical Services look after the desktop support side of things, the actual end user devices like desktop computers or laptops. Network Services are responsible for the network infrastructure, wireless and telephony. So where does that leave Core Services?
Our responsibilities sit somewhere between the network infrastructure and the desktop. We support the servers and services that provide the back end to a lot of the systems you see. When you login to your desktop PC you will authenticate to a server we manage. Your printers exist on a different server and will be delivered to your desktop by another process we manage. The files you access on the shared drive will be handled by a server we have installed and the data stored on a SAN in our data centre. It’s fairly safe to say that every person who uses an IT resource on campus will be using one of our services in one way or another. This is where the “Core” part of our name stems from, the fact that our systems sit at the heart of the IT infrastructure. Much like the network, many of the services we manage sit at the very top of the dependency tree, if they fail then everything below stops working too. The result of this is that our customer can be anyone from a member of staff, student, visitors to the campus or just an interested party looking at the website or reading an email sent from our system. Even our own colleagues in IT Services are our customers as they too depend on the service we provide, the servers to host the website and business systems or just the information we provide for the IT Service Desk so that they can keep their customers informed.
Over the next few months I intend to write a new series of posts for this blog to give a little taste of the Core Services that we support and what each of them provides to our customers. We’ll also be looking at our current projects, as a major part of our responsibility lies with developing new solutions and integrating new systems and services. So when you bump into me at staff development and you see Core Services on my name badge, you’ll think “Shouldn’t he be back in the office fixing my email??” or more hopefully you’ll know what I do and pop over for a chat.