Ryan Gay presents importance of IT Service Design at EDUCAUSE

Gay joins fellow service design practioners to offer insights into service design best practices at EDUCAUSE's annual conference. 

By Elizabeth Kirkhorn ’19

Ryan Gay, service design manager in the Office of Information Technology, recently presented at EDUCAUSE, where he offered his insight into a new unit within IT’s Campus Technology Support called Service Design.This unit assists IT in streamlining the technology services that are available to the community. The EDUCAUSE conference is geared towards higher education IT professionals.

Gay, who has been with Campus Technology Support for five years, presented specifically on what service design looks like in a practical work environment. The intended outcome was to give attendees a better view of how to identify service owners.

When asked about the presentation’s goals, Gay commented that it meant to “give attendees a better view of how to identify service owners and service offering managers, as well as a real-world case example of how best practices translated to reality.”

EDUCAUSE paired Gay with fellow IT Service Management practitioners Todd Jensen and Meggan Levitt. Jensen is the Academic Technologies Manager at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Levitt is the Director of Educational Technology Services at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Todd and Meggan were a joy to work with and present with,” says Gay. “It was odd—we were paired together on the presentation by EDUCAUSE and did not meet in person for the first time until 15 minutes before our presentation. Until then, all of our collaboration was via web conferences.”

Levitt and Jensen offered expertise they gleaned from working on an EDUCAUSE white paper that discussed theoretically the roles and responsibilities of service owners and service offering managers.

 Gay feels that the content of what he presented at EDUCAUSE is important to the higher education IT community for a myriad of reasons. He attests that it is not uncommon for IT organizations to become strapped with limitations and staff and budget, and as a result, many professionals are overwhelmed in focusing on daily operations or university priorities. Service Design is all about ensuring that what IT offers provides something of value to clients, so that organizational tasks are streamlined and efficiently managed.

 “We are able to help provide recommendations in this area so that staff can continue doing what they have been tasked with—keeping the lights on and the house running while still striving to bring innovation to campus,” says Gay.

At the conclusion of EDUCAUSE, Gay felt content in having imparted the importance of service design on conference participants.

 “For an end-of-the-day presentation time on the next to last day of the conference, the room was almost completely full,” he reported.

In addition to the high attendance, the audience was receptive and interactive when it came time to questions at the end. Afterwards, Gay was approached by many representatives from other universities from across the country that reached out for assistance.

 “An overwhelming response was ‘wow, we’ve been struggling this for a really long time—but y’all are actually doing it! That’s amazing!’” said Gay. “I made connections to universities both locally and across the nation, which will be valuable opportunities to reach out and collaborate with other institutions on future endeavors.”

To learn more about Service Design at Elon, visit https://www.elon.edu/u/bft/technology/about/departments/campus-technology-support/.