DARS Newsletter April 2016
Welcome to this month’s DARS Newsletter. Older newsletters can be found at https://www.darscentral.ox.ac.uk/newsletters, with newsletters since May 2015 held at http://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php/DARS_Newsletters. And remember that you can contact the DARS helpdesk via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
DARS news and features
HEAT – one year on
Along with other parts of the University, the DARS Support Centre uses a system called HEAT to record and manage incidents that you raise with us. HEAT was adopted in April 2015, so we have now been using it for a year. During that time, you have raised over 4500 incidents with us (approximately 17 every working day).
With the 40% growth in the numbers of DARS users over a two year period (and a proportional growth in the number of incidents), we need to operate as efficiently as possible, and have therefore produced the following list of best practices. Please follow them in order to help us to help you.
- Please do not send an email the DARS helpdesk (email@example.com) unless you actually wish to raise an incident. REASON: All emails to the DARS helpdesk result in an incident being automatically created – if no incident is required, we still have to spend time checking the incident that HEAT creates.
- When emailing the DARS helpdesk, please send it only to the helpdesk, not to other members of the Support Centre or colleagues (either in the To or Cc fields). REASON: doing so increases the likelihood that someone will “reply all” to the email they receive – this creates a duplicate incident, which we also have to investigate.
- When emailing the DARS helpdesk, please send the email from your own personal email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), rather than an impersonal one (e.g. email@example.com). REASON: the HEAT system does not contain information about impersonal email addresses; consequently we have to spend time determining who the email is actually from.
- When emailing the DARS helpdesk, please make the subject line as informative as possible. REASON: this helps us classify the incident, thereby ensuring that it is routed to the correct group within the Support Centre (yes, we do receive emails where the subject line is just ‘DARS’, along with ‘Problem with DARS’ and ‘DARS Issue’).
- If you need to follow up on an incident you have raised, please reply to the notification email you received, leaving the subject line unchanged. These notification emails are readily identifiable: they are sent to you from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, and starts “Support Call# xxxxxxxx”, where the x’s represent the number of the support call. REASON: this ensures that your follow up is filed against the original incident, enables us to identify that you have followed up, and avoids the creation of a duplicate incident (see point 1 above).
New BBIS website
The DPIR (Department of Politics and International Relations) BBIS website is now live. This brings the total number of BBIS live websites to 32 – 30 websites servicing alumni, the Campaign website focussed on fundraising, and the DARSCentral website.
Improvement to the registration process on the Alumni website
An ongoing problem with user registrations, notably on the Alumni Office website, is that entry of the alumni number results in a 100% match to the record with that number. That means that in the event a person enters their alumni number incorrectly – for example, by mistyping the number, or just putting ‘8-‘ in front of their old Visual Alms number, they are matched to a DARS constituent record that is not theirs. This is a breach of the Data Protection Act, and takes time and effort to sort out.
We have developed and deployed code to the Alumni Office website, which requires the person to enter their alumni number twice. This is analogous to many other sites where you have to record your email address twice, in order to reduce the probability of a typo. We believe this will significantly reduce the number of such problems. If it is deemed successful, consideration will be given to rolling out the code to other BBIS websites, though it should be noted that with much lower numbers of registrations, the cost-benefit balance will be different.
Last year, a number of changes were made to the central Alumni websites. In order to make that process as smooth as possible, we configured the websites so that anyone linking to the Data Protection statement using the old address (www.alumni.ox.ac.uk/data_protection) would be redirected to the new address (https://www.alumniweb.ox.ac.uk/oao/dataprotection). If you have not already done so, please review any material such as email templates which you have that may contain references to the old address, and amend them so that they include the new address.
In order to be compliant with the recommendations of our auditors, if one of your staff members no longer needs access to DARS, your authoriser is responsible for informing the helpdesk by completing a UARF when the staff member leaves and sending it to the DARS helpdesk. Please send the form just to the DARS Helpdesk (email@example.com). If you do not know who your authoriser is, a list can be found in the DARSWiki at http://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php/Authorised_User_Access_Requestors.
If you need to notify other impersonal email addresses (such as UAS University Card) that an employee has left, please send a separate email to each address. Please do not send one email to several such addresses, since only one address will receive the email.