IS&T's New IT Client Services for DLCs

IS&T no longer charges DLCs per user or per hour for IT support. Instead, our new program simplifies the support model and leverages a core business activity of your department: computer procurement. Using a standard hardware configuration and our software configuration management tools, IS&T is able to effectively scale our efforts to broadly offer support to the MIT community.

IT around your schedule, not the reverse.

At IS&T, we believe that desk-side IT support should be available to all faculty, staff, and affiliates in our MIT community during MIT’s core business hours. We believe that IT support should align with existing schedules, and that members of the community should not have to adjust prior commitments around the availability of any IT support team. We took our first big step in delivering on this belief with the launch of our 24/7 Service Desk in 2017. The time has now come for us to take our next big step forward.

Why change? Because MIT needs us to.

We first took a step back, and looked internally at our current operating practices to ensure that we were adapting our support to align with the evolving needs of MIT. Within the fabric of MIT, the role of IT itself has evolved from a complimentary business element into a critical/core business element. When the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing task force working group published its Computing Infrastructure report last year, we took it all to heart, and began thinking about what we could do to help bridge some of the identified divides.

Years ago, IS&T launched a fee-based team to help bridge the gap between the support provided by central IT and the unique support needs of MIT’s fast-paced, dynamic community. The end result was a team that came to be known as the Distributed IT Resource team, or "DITR." This solution offered many popular features, and provided MIT the services that it needed for many years, but became increasingly restrictive to members of the community as the landscape of IT continued to evolve. It became very expensive ($15,015.15/year per weekly recurring 4-hour shift block), and it ultimately did not allow IS&T the flexibility that it needed to move fluidly between fulfilling support requests and project work focused around implementing new IT services. MIT needs a service model that allows IS&T to do both (and do both well) at a price that is affordable for the community.

IS&T teams have been piloting a new support option with members of the community; one that we believe to be a game-changer. We extended invitations to select departments (of various organizational sizes and structures) who were customers of our other legacy fee-based support options, and worked closely with them to design a model that would scale. We set out to raise the IT support baseline available to the community, and ended up with a model that we believe will allow us to deliver the IT support that MIT deserves to all faculty, staff, and affiliates in the community; from large departments, to small teams, to individuals.

IS&T’s DLC Direct support service

This new service is provided by a campus-based team comprised of many former members of IS&T’s Distributed IT Resource (DITR) team. Team members are well-versed in all the tools used by IS&T, and aim to serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to handle anything from routine IT tasks to consultations and implementation of IT services of various degrees of complexity. Members of the team closely monitor the ticketing system, and reply to customers as fast as possible every business day between 9am-5pm. The reply may include a quick answer or resolution to your question, or an offer to schedule a visit to your office on campus or a remote support session at a date and time that is convenient for you and your team.

Benefits

  1. Extension of on-campus desk-side and remote support to full-week coverage
  2. Fastest response turnaround time of all IS&T field support models
  3. Flexibility of IS&T to deploy to multiple locations to assist multiple community members (sometimes within the same department) simultaneously
  4. Lowest departmental cost over a recurring 3-year support cycle of all IS&T field support models
  5. Reduction of departmental overhead as it relates to equipment lifecycle management
  6. Peace of mind and protections against emerging IT threats

Computing equipment is an essential element to the cost of doing business in our digital world, and one that all DLCs must account for to ensure that staff are equipped with the tools needed to do the job. Procuring these assets can be enough of a burden, both logistically and financially, without the added headache of having to factor in additional costs associated with supporting the deployed equipment. Why should you pay for both your equipment and the option of desk-side IT support? We do not believe that you should. That is why we are aiming to make it very simple to utilize our services.

IS&T provides end-to-end hardware lifecycle management and standardization for all equipment purchased through us. Eligibility in this new support model is very simple—buy your computing equipment through us, let us control the lifecycle management of the equipment (from deployment to re-collection), and get IT support from us for free.

By having IS&T control the equipment lifecycle, here are some—but not all—of the responsibilities that we will manage for you:

  1. Procure additional IT resources for business hours desk-side support on campus
  2. Work with the MIT Property Office to ensure all inventory is tracked accordingly throughout the lifecycle of the asset
  3. Enroll devices in MIT’s central device management platforms
  4. Ensure adherence to security standards, such as full-disk encryption, CrowdStrike, and Sophos
  5. Deliver computers to all end-users via personalized scheduled setup sessions to complete user-specific configuration and data migration, e.g., backup configuration, user account creation
  6. Build and maintain an accurate inventory of currently-deployed machines for all participating departments
  7. Monitor device reporting to ensure that computers are continuously updated, patched, and protected
  8. Provide for and guarantee a functional loaner device to ensure that there is no work stoppage while computers are repaired
  9. Replace aging equipment on a continuous cycle, and ensure that re-collected equipment is securely erased prior to being retired in an environmentally responsible fashion

• Note: IS&T leverages our device management platforms in a manner that is both respectful of the privacy of all members of our community, and consistent with MIT’s Policy on the use of Information Technology Resources.

Eligibility

This support option is available to any members of the MIT community whose equipment meets the following criteria:

  1. Equipment was purchased through, and deployed by IS&T (using a departmental cost object), and is enrolled in IS&T’s endpoint management solutions
  2. Equipment was purchased along with the manufacturer’s protection plan/extended warranty
  3. Equipment is still covered by the manufacturer’s protection plan/extended warranty (i.e., AppleCare)
  4. At the end of the equipment’s protection plan/extended warranty, the existing device is re-collected, decommissioned, securely erased, and disposed of by IS&T as it is replaced with a new device with an equivalent manufacturer’s protection plan/extended warranty

• Note: As technology changes at an increasingly rapid pace, and as the hardware and software requirements are being driven by forces outside of MIT with the shift to cloud computing services, the devices must be within their supported lifecycle. Any equipment outside of the manufacturer’s protection plan/extended warranty is no longer eligible for support via IS&T’s DLC Direct team. Procuring computers through IS&T allows us to provide you with a full report on the lifecycle and replacement schedule for every machine, enabling your department to plan for future expenditures.

Pricing

Instead of charging members of the community per block of coverage time, or per user, the new support model leverages a core business activity of your department: computer procurement. Each fiscal year, IS&T will meet with you to determine the budget required to purchase new computers for your department and to replace those due for renewal in the coming fiscal year. Your department allocates these funds to IS&T at the beginning of the fiscal year, and IS&T takes on all procurement, configuration, deployment, support, and retirement activities for each machine, providing desk-side (or remote) IT support for department members who use IS&T-managed machines.

See a sample service agreement here (MIT faculty and staff only, Touchstone required).

How to Request Support

Customers who would like to participate in this service will be given a dedicated email address that will provide them with a single point of contact for all IT support issues. Requests will be automatically reviewed and prioritized for rapid response and resolution. Any requests for off-hours support may be submitted to IS&T’s 24/7 Service Desk via 617-253-1101 or servicedesk@mit.edu.

Getting Started

If you are interested in participating in this support option, please send an email to ist-ondemand@mit.edu to discuss further.

FAQ

Q: What if I have a request for off-hours support?
A: Off-hours support will continue to be available from IS&T via 617-253-1101 or servicedesk@mit.edu.

Q: What will happen to my old machine when I am issued a new one?
A: As a participant in this support model, the retired machine will be collected and decommissioned by IS&T, and then disposed of in an environmentally-responsible and secure fashion as part of the hardware renewal cycle.

Q: Can I buy my old machine that is being replaced?
A: As part of the decommissioning process, IS&T will still need to collect the computer, perform a complete erase & reinstallation of the operating system (to remove all MIT computer management software), and work with the MIT Property Office to ensure that the asset is taken out of MIT’s inventory. Once the asset has been decommissioned, if there is a purchase inquiry, the MIT Property Office will assess the depreciated value of the asset, and a personal purchase can be completed at that determined price. Please note: if a computer is purchased during the renewal process, the purchaser will be responsible for all future costs associated with support of that equipment directly through the equipment manufacturer, as IS&T supports only currently-deployed, MIT-owned assets through this program.

Q: Can IS&T staff a field support technician in my department when my primary IT support representative is unavailable?
A: With the changes to the legacy DITR support model, IS&T no longer offers this solution to the community. Support will still be available via the IS&T Service Desk, and on-site support may still be available through IT Client Services as long as the computing equipment meets the eligibility requirements outlined above.

Q: This sounds like break-fix, reactive support. What if I want more proactive support?
A: While the DLC Direct team does respond to issues as they are reported, their services encompass much more. The team is also available for consultation on any current or planned IT-related projects, and will serve as a liaison between departments and all IS&T teams to enlist the help of others in IS&T as needed in support of ongoing efforts. The goal of IS&T is to keep departments working, and to help anticipate and thwart future troubles before they have a chance to cause disruption.

Q: What if I want IS&T support, but do not want to purchase my computing equipment through IS&T and/or have it imaged and enrolled in all of IS&T’s central device management platforms?
A: IS&T support will always be available to all members of the MIT community on a 24/7 phone and email basis through the IS&T Service Desk. Through this new service, IS&T is hoping to deepen our engagement with the MIT community, and strengthen the relationship between departments and IS&T as we look to solve ever-increasingly complex IT problems.

Q: I want my department to participate in this support option, but we just recently bought new computers. Can these computers be supported by the DLC Direct team, or do I need to wait until the next time we purchase new computers?
A: At the moment, this new service is only available for any new computers purchased through IS&T that meet the eligibility guidelines outlined above, or customers of legacy DITR models that have agreed to switch to this support model. IS&T will work with customers of legacy DITR models to ensure a smooth transition to the on-demand DLC Direct support model.

Q: Can the DLC Direct team support labs?
A: The DLC Direct team can support computing equipment that is procured through IS&T, per the eligibility guidelines above. DLC Direct  will not support any computers connected to lab instruments and/or lab software that is not made available to members of the community via IS&T’s Software Grid.

Q: What if a member of the department leaves? Who gets support?
A: The support for the equipment would transfer to the new owner of the equipment. IS&T would just need to be informed of this ownership change so that we can update our records to reflect correct eligibility.

Q: What if IS&T previously paid for my computer renewals via the Admin Renewal Program? Will IS&T continue to pay for my computer in the DLC Direct support model?
A: The rapid shift in technology needs and deployment of new IT services has led IS&T to review which services and programs most effectively serve to advance MIT's mission during the current pandemic. In light of this, IS&T has suspended the Admin Desktop Renewal program for FY21. This will prioritize constrained resources towards the most essential needs for sustaining MIT through this crisis, most importantly to enabling the rapid reinvention of pre-existing models for learning and working at MIT. Departments that transition to the DLC Direct model will be removed from the Admin Renewal Program, but will end up saving money over a recurring 3-year cycle by using their IT dollars to only fund the equipment and not the IT support (knowing that IT support is complementary to those who purchase the equipment through IS&T).

Q: How does this compare with legacy IS&T field support models?
A: Below is a matrix that compares the on-demand DLC Direct support model to legacy IS&T-offered models.

 

 

Per User (Legacy)

Short-term Hourly (Legacy)

Long-term Hourly (Legacy)

DLC Direct (New)

Availability of Service

Support can be requested and scheduled anytime during the 40-hour work week

Support is requested ahead of time and scheduled after project estimate is created

Limited to the shift blocks that are contracted.  Emergency off-hours support is based on availability

Support can be requested and scheduled anytime during the 40-hour work week

Representatives Available

1 support representative assigned to each support request (may be instances where more than 1 support representative is on-site at a department simultaneously, each assisting different customers)

Number of support representatives determined by the scope of work

1 support representative assigned to the department to work on all issues in prioritized order (limited to 1 per department)

1 support representative assigned to each support request (may be instances where more than 1 support representative is on-site at a department simultaneously, each assisting different customers)

Supported Users

Defined by a Moira list managed by the department

Defined as part of the one-time support agreement

Defined by the department, but limited to faculty & staff (does not cover regular support for students)

Any user whose device was purchased & imaged through IS&T, and who lets IS&T manage the lifecycle of the hardware

Covered equipment

Hardware purchased through & deployed by IS&T

Hardware owned by customer, and may vary

Hardware purchased through & deployed by IS&T

Hardware purchased through & deployed by IS&T

Target response time

Within 4 business hours M-F from 9am-5pm

Defined as part of the one-time support agreement

Within 4 business hours on days with scheduled shift coverage

Within 4 business hours M-F from 9am-5pm

Inventory

 

Security compliance monitoring

 

On-boarding/off-boarding services

 

Third-Party Patching

 

Full-week business hours coverage

   

Ability to perform multiple, personalized support consultations simultaneously

   

Dedicated on-site support Technician

 

 

Cost 

$858/year (per person)

$82/hour (minimum 1 hour)

$15,015/year for each 4-hour shift block (minimum 2 shift blocks/week)

Complimentary service for all users with hardware purchased through & deployed by IS&T

Q: How do the costs compare with legacy IS&T field support models?
A: Below are two matrices of average yearly cost projections, based on a 3-year renewal cycle. Costs were calculated using the current price of the standard, recommended configuration for each device type (PC vs. Mac), and assuming that a team will use one option exclusively over another (which may not be the case, so individual costs may vary). The legacy “Long Term Hourly” SLA model costs have been placed in-line on both matrices to illustrate how many users can be covered at full business hours of the DLC Direct support model, alongside the costs of the traditional model at each level of staffing coverage.

All PC — Average Yearly Spend (Based on current standard/recommended configuration pricing)

Supported Users

DLC Direct (New)

Unit Cost $1500

Per User (Legacy)

1

$500

$858

10

$5,000

$8,580

25

$12,500

$21,450

4 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$15,015

$15,015

50

$25,000

$42,900

8 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$30,030

$30,030

75

$37,500

$64,350

12 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$45,045

$45,045

100

$50,000

$85,800

16 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$60,060

$60,060

150

$75,000

$128,700

20 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$75,075

$75,075

24 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$90,090

$90,090

200

$100,000

$171,600

28 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$105,105

$105,105

32 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$120,120

$120,120

250

$125,000

$214,500

36 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$135,135

$135,135

 

All Mac — Average Yearly Spend (Based on current standard/recommended configuration pricing)

Supported Users

DLC Direct (New)

Unit Cost $2000

Per User (Legacy)

1

$667

$858

10

$6,667

$8,580

4 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$15,015

$15,015

25

$16,667

$21,450

8 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$30,030

$30,030

50

$33,333

$42,900

12 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$45,045

$45,045

75

$50,000

$64,350

16 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$60,060

$60,060

100

$66,667

$85,800

20 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$75,075

$75,075

24 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$90,090

$90,090

150

$100,000

$128,700

28 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$105,105

$105,105

32 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$120,120

$120,120

200

$133,333

$171,600

36 hours/week Long-Term Hourly SLA (Legacy)

$135,135

$135,135

250

$166,667

$214,500