Improved Staff Tracking Keeps School District Tech Support Run Smoothly
- A Savance EIOBoard Client Case Study
"Our staff is pretty mobile. A paper logbook was fine for starting and ending the day, but didn't help throughout the day."
Chief Technology Officer
Judson Independent School District is a PreK-12 public school district in San Antonio, Texas. With 25,000 students and 4,000 teachers and staff members, Judson is the fourth largest school district in the San Antonio area. There are five high schools, five middle schools, and 17 elementary schools, along with an alternative school and learning center for children living in emergency shelters. High schools include an early college academy, an evening school, and a school for at-risk students.
Steve Young, Chief Technology Officer of Judson Independent School District, knew he needed an innovative employee in out board solution to keep track of his employees. A team of about 100 computer technicians, network professionals, and data specialists support Judson's technology needs across its 28 campuses. Some employees' primary responsibility was to travel to customer locations to fix network and computer problems, or to install new systems. Other employees respond to customer calls in the office, but might also spend a portion of their day at a customer location. Office employees sometimes work from home or may have flexible schedules. "Our staff is pretty mobile. A paper logbook was fine for starting and ending the day, but didn't help throughout the day," said Young.
The problem with the paper, Young knew, was that it wasn't mobile. His department needed an electronic check in/out board system, something more efficient that could be updated from wherever the technicians were. When technicians respond to scheduled IT requests, they are often re-routed for emergencies or more urgent issues. With 28 campuses, Judson needed the ability to track the location of its technicians during the day. Also, when a customer calls into the switchboard, the secretary needs to quickly locate office staff so she can respond promptly. To provide great customer service, Judson needed to improve their workflow process. "There's always the question of, 'Where is that person?'" says Young.
After researching several options on the Internet, Young found Savance, a software and network provider that automates business functions. He had come across Savance's EIOBoard (electronic in out board) in the past, and kept it in mind. His research resulted in several other options, but most were too expensive and didn't fit the bill. Young wanted a simple in out electronic status board that was easy and convenient for his staff to update. "We are using paper and really need a more efficient way," said Young.
After considering the needs of Judson Independent School District, Savance recommended its EIOBoard Staff Tracking along with the EIOBoard add-on for Microsoft Outlook, self-service check-in kiosks with badges, and the mobile interface and iPhone/iPad apps that are included with EIOBoard.
The Outlook Add-In loads every time Outlook is started up, so employees can change their in/out status at their desk, simply using Microsoft Outlook. "We mainly use the Outlook option because we're an Outlook shop," says Young. With the electronic in out status board, employees can quickly identify the status of every other user while checking their email. "I know whether someone's there before I make the journey to their office," says Young. The Outlook Add-In also offers additional functions, such as reading notes, sending text messages and private chats, and more. Users can organize their coworkers by customized Groups, which is handy for keeping track of temporary task forces, project groups, or lunch buddies.
Judson also purchased two of Savance's 22" touch-screen kiosks with prox card readers at employee entry points. This way, employees can use their badges to change their status to in or out. The touch screen kiosks provide an interactive experience, allowing users to search for people, read notes or messages, and view others' statuses throughout the school district. It is convenient for both employees and visitors to step up to a centrally-located kiosk and quickly change their status, add a message or note, and view the status of any employee or guest.
Judson also installed several prox card readers throughout their facility. It is a quick and easy way for employees to check into and out of EIOBoard, saving time as they come and go. It also makes the process error-free and eliminates "buddy punching." The prox card readers are compatible with over 3 million different cards.
For Steve Young, the most important requirement was that the computer technicians have mobile access to the electronic staff in out board. "It's possible [the technicians'] day may change while they're out, depending on the urgency of a ticket," he says. EIOBoard mobile works on all their phones, so technicians can quickly update their location and status from anywhere. The technicians can also receive important text messages in the field from any staff member. "I can right-click on any employee, from my desk, and send them a text message without picking up my phone," says Young.
Since the initial installation in 2012, EIOBoard Staff Tracking and the EIOBoard Outlook Add-In have been installed throughout the rest of the building, and now serves over 100 employees for Judson Independent School District. Each department has found the electronic status board solution very valuable for saving time, particularly in their collaborative environment where teamwork is a critical component of serving a school district of almost 30,000 teachers and students.
Judson's primary challenge was getting his employees into the habit of updating their status while out in the field. Not all employees always correctly log themselves in and out. More importantly, not all employees would change their location as they moved to different campuses. "We're trying to get the mobile access ramped up," says Young. "Sometimes we need to revisit with the employee to make sure they log in where they are. A couple [of technicians] need to be pushed to use the app."
Departments are finding additional benefits with the electronic in out board. Judson employees often use the Private Instant Messaging feature for quick messages to each other, as the Outlook Add-In is conveniently accessible on the desktop. Some departments also use the EIOBoard to validate timekeeping and payroll. Receptionists can quickly discern who is available to take phone calls and when people will return to the office, making directing calls a simpler task. The secretary can also change someone's status as they are leaving. Says Young, "It stops that question, 'Where is this person?' It helps to make that decision about how to follow up. It really enhances communication throughout our organization."