Case 4 is in two parts: virtualization and software for Technical Support. Part lution of white-collar information technology that began with the introduction of the telephone, typewriter, and vertical file back in the 1880s through the proliferation of personal computers in the 1980s (when the phrase “office automation” was a popular buzzword) and into the networked 21st century. Its triumph is not yet a done deal – there are still enough reservations about the technology that substantial caution is urged, as the following article indicates: Reliability Edge. (n.d.). Is enterprise-wide, web-based Software right for you? It depends on the application! Reliasoft. 7Although virtualization and "the cloud" are both based in the network infrastructure, they are not identical ideas; it's worth drawing some distinctions to avoid being bowled over completely by either trend: Boothe, H. (2013, February 19). What is the difference between virtualization and cloud computing? Retrieved from. (2011, October 14). Virtualization vs. cloud computing FAQ. AppNeta. The following two articles, appearing in the same journal and by the same author, present a reasonably balanced view of the current state of these approaches in the business context. Please review them carefully, since you'll be applying these ideas (among others) in your paper: Marshall, D. (2011, April 6). Top 5 reasons to consider VDI in 2011. InfoWorld. Retrieved from Marshall, D. (2011, May 4). Top 5 obstacles to wider VDI adoption. InfoWorld. The background readings also identify a number of optional sources that you may wish to draw on to help you understand particular issues and/or terminology. Also, there's no shortage of online information that may also be of help to you in examining these issues. Now here's the situation you're going to examine. You've undoubtedly been going to school here, or at least at some university, for several terms now, and you've encountered quite a range of faculty and faculty behavior. Some of you may even be faculty somewhere, or at least involved in teaching and related stuff. Trident has quite a lot of faculty, and relatively few of them are actually located in the main offices in Cypress CA – most are spread around the country and even across the world. Relatively seldom does this actually matter to you as students, and in fact it doesn't matter a lot to the faculty most of the time, except when we're trying to coordinate real-time meetings, usually involving conference calls (old technology, we know, but that's life.) However, it's recently been learned that in the near future, Trident University will be rolling out some form of “virtual desktop” for use by all faculty, wherever they are. It's not clear what this is going to look like, but the first step toward it will be making available to faculty the same SharePoint-based applications and related tools that were recently made available to you students. But to be of real utility to faculty, it will have to go beyond these relatively simple tools and encompass a wide range of other tools. Here's the point – we don't know more about it than you do. So we're asking you to help us think through the implications of these developments, based on your own reading and experiences. So when you've had a chance to read these articles, review information from the background readings, and perhaps research other sources on your own, please prepare a 3-5 page paper on the topic: What is a virtual desktop infrastructure? What is the impact to migrating to a VDI solution on the IT department? Part II One of the most critical problems faced by the information technology department in virtually every organization is how to provide effective help to end-users facing problems with the technology. The help desk is the point at which every frustration, every concern, and every mistake known to humanity is brought for resolution. Typically staffed by lower-level and often new personnel, help desks often have a reputation for minimal service and buck-passing. It shouldn't be this way, and doesn't have to be; there's a lot of information out there about how to effectively manage and coordinate help services, and a great deal of information about how important is to do so. But like many aspects of IT, this knowledge doesn't always make it into the field in many organizations. Software support is not merely an ongoing issue in the computer business at all levels; by virtue of that fact, it has become a veritable industry in its own right. There are numerous firms peddling various varieties of help desk software, and a wide range of consultants willing to offer advice, usually for fairly hefty fees. Certainly many of these programs are worth their cost, and the consultants usually definitely earn their fees; this isn't a problem easily resolved. However, it's also true that the basic principles underlying good software support are not all that complicated. Mostly, they're based in the ideas of good marketing, good customer relations, and good general management. But, as they say, "the devil is in the details." Setting up, establishing, and above all maintaining consistent levels of technical support service are very complex organizational processes. Getting from the general principle to a working version is enough to keep the "support of support" industry alive and well. So what are these "basic principles" that sound good but are hard to implement? Here are two articles that offer reasonable summaries; note that there is partial but not complete overlap between them, and some rather different ways of phrasing similar advice: Vogel, J. (2011, June 1). Seven tips for giving good tech support. The Bottom Feeder. Retrieved from Schiff, J. (2011, September 14). Six helpful customer support software solutions. EnterpriseSAppsToday. Offering advice is one thing; actually putting that advice into practice is another. The following article provides an interesting description of the actual support practices of one software vendor. In general, you'll find it to be consistent with the tone of the advice offered earlier, but it is elaborate considerably on the real world context within which this advice is implemented: Andrew, R. (2011, October 10). Supporting your product: How to provide technical support. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/10/supporting-product-providing-technical-support/ When you've had a chance to read these articles, review information from the background readings, and perhaps research other sources on your own, please prepare a 3-5 page paper on the topic: How is Andrew’s description of support provided for Perch consistent with the advice provided by Vogel and Schiff? How is that advice not consistent? Please include in your analysis any points of advice that you can derive from Andrew’s description that you believe are not adequately developed in the two advice articles. Assignment Expectations Your paper should be between 6-10 pages. Combine parts I and II into a single report labeling each part accordingly. Take a definite stand on the issues, and develop your supporting argument carefully. Using material from the background information and any other sources you can find to support specific points in your argument is highly recommended; try to avoid making assertions for which you can find no support other than your own opinion. You will be particularly assessed on: •Precision: Your draw on a range of sources, and to establish your understanding of the historical context of the question. You carried out the exercise as assigned, or carefully explained the limitations that might have prevented your completing some parts (running out of time isn’t generally considered an adequate limitation). •Support for assertions: You use examples, citations (especially to the required readings), and elaboration to support assertions. You provide evidence that you have read the required background materials. •Clarity: Your answers are clear and show your good understanding of the topic. You see what the module is all about and to structure your paper accordingly. •Breadth and Depth: The scope covered in your paper is directly related to the questions of the assignment and the learning objectives of the module. •Critical thinking: The paper incorporates YOUR reactions, examples, and applications of the material to business that illustrate your reflective judgment and good understanding of the concepts. It is important to read the "required readings" posted in the background material plus others you find relevant. Your informed commentary and analysis is vital -- simply repeating what your sources say does not constitute an adequate paper. •Overall quality: Your paper is well written and the references, where needed, are properly cited and listed (refer to the university guidelines if you are uncertain about formats or other issues.