By Vince Little, The BayonetDecember 17, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning's Network Enterprise Center, formerly the Directorate of Information Management, has changed the way it delivers information technology services.
Soldiers and post personnel who place a trouble ticket or work order with the NEC Help Desk will now reach the Army Enterprise Service Desk in Virginia. That provider will eventually cover IT support for most of the Army and have help centers located throughout the United States.
The move is the latest step by the Army to streamline communications across the service under the Global Network Enterprise Construct, NEC director Paul Yates said. The change took effect here Friday morning, but it began at other installations about six months ago.
"The major change for the customer is that the person on the phone will have the skill sets to fix their problem," he said. "That should happen about 60 percent of the time. Secondly, it's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
"Moving it to a centralized call desk is good for our customers. It will take time to get all the technical bugs out of everything. But in the long run, it's going to make everything more efficient. The goal of this program is to get the problem fixed right away."
Resetting passwords and unlocking computers are among the glitches that can be resolved immediately over the phone, Yates said. For more complex issues, a technician will still need to be dispatched to the site.
Under the old arrangement, work orders and trouble tickets could linger in the system a day or longer before people got a call back from the Help Desk, he said.
"Ultimately, when this is fully functional and they get all the technical features set, you won't have to wait a couple of hours or half a day for someone to work on your computer," he said. "The goal is quantity. They're trying to get a lot of these problems solved remotely."
Yates said all the AESD technical pieces should get sorted out within the next month and customer wait times will be minimal. The NEC won't lose any technicians, so it can respond quicker to local trouble calls that require on-site fixes.
As the program matures, IT service delivery at Fort Benning will become even faster as the NEC refines its procedures, he said. The amount and types of problems solved directly by the AESD will grow over time with technological innovations and Army network improvements.
"Technology changes from day to day," he said. "Five years ago, we couldn't even get to people remotely on the network. We literally had to go to their shop for everything. It was very time-consuming.
"All kinds of things are changing. Obviously, we want to become more and more efficient in how we do our business."
Yates said the AESD is the first of three major changes. In late winter or early spring, the NEC will move to a new Armywide e-mail system in which the Department of Defense operates the servers remotely. Plans also are being made for migration to a centralized Army network.
HOW IT WORKS
When calling the Fort Benning Network Enterprise Center Help Desk at 706-545-2178 or 706-545-2179, you will reach an automated attendant run by the Army Enterprise Service Desk, which will ask whether your service requirement pertains to AKO/DKO or installation information technology services. After selecting the option for IT services, you will then be asked if the call pertains to classified or unclassified service. Choose one of the two categories and you'll be routed to the appropriate service desk, which will walk you through the resolution process.
The service desk is staffed 24/7 every day of the year, and many problems will be solved while you are on the telephone. Tasks that require physical hands-on service and other issues too complex to fix over the phone or via remote tools will be referred back to the NEC for resolution and could take extended time to resolve.