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Project Primer

Application Owner 

Makes decisions on upgrades, access rights, and which data elements can be shared with other  applications. This role typically falls to a business lead or department head. 

Functional Administrator 

Fully privileged users within the application to perform daily administrative functions, provide Tier 2 support, assist with Tier 3 support (e.g.  coordinate phone calls with vendor support, file tickets) and provide day to day operations and maintenance of the application. This role typically falls to someone  within the department. May or may not report to the Application Owner. 

System Administrator 

Responsible for the hardware, operating system, and networking of the server.  May have limited understanding of the application because of the breadth of their scope across the university’s ecosystem.  We track the System Administrator, so we know whether OIT personnel, other department personnel, or a vendor is responsible for the physical or virtual server that runs the application. 

Support Levels 

In order to understand how OIT provides support for various products, we have come up with a few definitions to clearly set expectations of who will provide what level of support for a given application.  

Before we define the tiers of support, it is important to establish some pre-call processing that will always be performed by the Support Center

  • A caller having issues connecting will be helped through the process of logging in to a known application to verify that their campus login is working.  This addresses known issues like: 
    • Password has expired
    • Account is not marked as “Yes Person” (a code that is used by many applications to distinguish “real humans” from “program/service accounts”)
    • Issues with connectivity/networking/VPN
  • Inform the caller of current outages if they are known to the Support Center (either from previous calls or from being notified by the Application Owner or Functional Administrator) 

Given these pre-call checks show no issues, the call is handled by the Tier 1 support staff (which could be the Support Center, if negotiated) 

In addition to this pre-call support, OIT System Administrators will always support the hardware, virtual machines, and Operating System of the on-campus servers that run the on-campus portion of applications.  If a vendor, or other department, physically holds the servers, that vendor or department is responsible for support of these items.  For example, the ID Card System has both an on-campus server (handled by OIT System Administrators) and a cloud server (handled by TouchNet corporate support). 

Tier Description
1 Typically a support staff member, responsible for handling the day-to-day type of calls that occur in an application.  They would provide simple troubleshooting of common issues. See examples in the table below. 
2 A staff member, usually the Functional Administrator, handles all issues within an application that Tier 1 cannot handle, including those that require deeper knowledge of the application and/or administrative access within the application. 
3 Often a vendor, provides the deepest level of support for an application.  If an application is developed in-house by OIT Application Development, they, together with the Database and System Administrators, would provide the Tier 3 support.  Most notable at this level is the need to access the server that runs the application.  Tier 3 support staff have an extra level of access, beyond the administrative screens provided by the application.  They also have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the application.  It cannot be assumed that OIT System Administrators can fulfill this role without training and a negotiated handoff. 


Example Support Models

The table below provides examples of possible support models for tiers 1 through 3 for 3 different applications. Examples may not reflect current support models and are for illustrative purposes only.  Please refer to the official support pages for each of these applications.

Application Tier 1 Example Tier 2 Example Tier 3 Example
Blackboard Support Center handles simple calls like file upload problems (e.g. file is size too large or the file name violates the naming convention enforced by Blackboard).  All other issues would be referred to Tier 2 support.  Instructional technology team provides this service, researching and troubleshoot complex issues.  If the issue is beyond their capabilities, they coordinate the call with Blackboard support to engage tier 3.  Blackboard Support
ID Card System Issues with the ID Card website are checked for connectivity and password issues, then sent to the Tier 1 support – the ID Card Office.  The ID Card Office student workers provide day-to-day problem-solving (e.g. uploading photos, re-issuing ID cards).  ID Card Office full-time staff can provide deeper support for more complex issues (e.g. Investigating login issues to the website, given that the user’s login has already been tested and works in other applications)   Provided jointly by the Auxiliary Services office and by TouchNet corporate support.  This situation is unique, and demonstrates how an  end-user could responsible for Tier 3 support. 
PeopleSoft The Support Center handles simple call types, referring more complicated issues to the appropriate Functional Administrator in 1  of 3 areas; Student Information Systems, Finance, or Human Resources.  Functional Administrators provides deeper support of user issues, coordinating complex issues with UH support or ORACLE corporate support as needed.  UH, together with ORACLE corporate support, provides support.