NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

25 Years

IT Service Desk Marks Milestone

Employees celebrate the service desk’s 25th anniversary
Tony Roberts (l) and John Buglio at the service desk’s 25th anniversary celebration

When the NIH IT Service Desk recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, veterans of the desk noted the great strides the team had made since its early days in 1994, when team members distributed yellow Rolodex cards containing phone numbers for technical support. No one could have anticipated that, 25 years later, the service desk would operate as a central hub for IT services and support at participating NIH institutes and centers and certain operating divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The NIH IT environment now supports more than 19,000 mobile devices and 50,000 computers in facilities around the country. Last year alone, the service desk team (along with IC help desks) handled more than 279,000 calls.

The team has managed to handle that deluge of tickets by adopting IT best practices and tools that improve the customer experience.

One such tool is remote assistance, which allows technicians to access a user’s machine (with his or her permission) to resolve a technical issue remotely. On average, the tool was used more than 1,000 times per month in 2018. 

Another such tool is VoIP (voice over internet protocol), a cloud-based phone service that provides customers the convenience of voice interaction and caller ID. It also offers better geolocation services for emergency personnel and saves money by lowering the cost per call. 

These tools are supported by a team of technicians who provide help to the NIH and HHS communities 365 days a year. 

“Since its inception 25 years ago, the team has pushed itself each and every day to provide better support to the NIH community,” said Tony Roberts, the IT support service division chief. “And we’re also proud to offer a range of services that make the service desk more accessible, including bilingual and TTY services.”  

In the future, says Roberts, “we’re going to continue developing processes that improve the speed and quality with which participating NIH staff engage with the service desk team. Even with a 97.5 percent customer satisfaction rating, it’s always our goal to provide faster and better service.”—John Hotka

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)