UCL News


Spotlight on Donna Swann

6 July 2012

This week the spotlight is on Donna Swann, Central Operational Services and Customer Relations, Technology Services, Information Systems Division (ISD).

Donna Swann

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am the new Customer Relations Team Manager in Technology Services, part of the new Information Services Division.

This new team aims to build and create new relationships with the academic faculties and Corporate Support Services divisions, promoting and advising on existing ISD services, while looking at central IT requirements for the future.

My team are the primary point of contact if you have concerns with our services or wish to find out more about what services exist and how to access them. We aim to facilitate the transition to new ISD services in conjunction with our ISD colleagues and ensure that the necessary support is available.

We also have an internally facing role within the division to build relationships across the service teams working with the ISD Service Owners, Service Operational Managers, Facilitators and other Team Leaders.

As a division, we see the customer relations role becoming an increasingly important one at UCL and there is evidence of this becoming more common across other institutions as well.

This role is not about the 'how do I' type of support but increasingly about strengthening relationships in order to provide the best possible services to our customers. We have seen, in the past, that if we develop services in isolation from our customers then they may not be wholly suitable and this role should ensure that we minimise the risk of that in the future.

We plan to start with a focus on building the team, promoting existing services, and ensuring unresolved issues are addressed. We will also take a lead in the collation and publication of information about our suite of services (a Business Service Catalogue) through the ISD website, as we recognise that it's difficult to know what's available and appropriate to use.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I joined UCL as an ISD Trainee in 1995, which started as a three-year placement working in different areas. At the same time, I was also studying for my HND which ultimately led to a degree in Applied Computing and Business Information Systems from Middlesex University.

The trainee placement developed into a permanent position within the Desktop Support team. I then went on to become a Faculty Information Support Officer (FISO) with responsibility for the Faculty of Social and Historical Studies and, most recently, I have managed the FISO team.

For the past two years, I have been seconded to a project management role in the Live@UCL project team.

I have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning, Technology and Research at CALT, UCL, which led onto a Master's in Adult Learning and Professional Development.

I've always enjoyed my customer focus roles and I am very keen to ensure that the customer has the best possible IT experience. I enjoy building relationships; within ISD and within UCL as a whole, and my role in the FISO team and, currently in the Live@UCL team, has ensured that I continue to do this.

Through my experiences of taking courses at UCL, I understand the environment both as a student and as a staff member.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am particularly proud of my time in the Live@UCL team and proud of the roll-out of the Live@UCL email service across UCL. I joined the team when there were only a few people using the new service and looking back now, I realise what we have accomplished.

With my colleagues, I was involved in designing and implementing the service, designing and managing the migration experience and was responsible for transitioning the project into service.

One thing I can take away from the agile approach we adopted is the importance of continuous feedback and improvement, which, ultimately, ensures a better quality of service.

This approach has meant that departments have been keen to move on to the service and I, with my colleagues, receive positive feedback from those staff about their migration experience and how, in many cases, the new service has enabled them to improve or adapt their ways of working.

What is your life like outside UCL?

I like technology when it works! I'm not far away from my iPad, iPhone or Kindle and social media applications help me to regularly keep in touch with my family and friends.

I've started to learn tennis and am getting to grips with my backhand. I enjoy trying out new restaurants along with cooking for friends and experimenting with new recipes. I do some mean Bloody Mary Mussels!