By Sally Bogg, Head of End User Services, Leeds Beckett University
This year the Support Services Conference (SS16) will be held at the historical Queens Hotel in Leeds, looking proudly over City Square at the heart of the city centre and adjacent to the train station this venue offers high-quality luxury throughout its bedrooms, conference and meeting rooms and restaurants. This hotel is one of Leeds’ most famous landmarks. The imposing building has a striking Portland Stone façade and oozes 1930s glamour, with many restaurants, bars and shops just a stone’s throw away.
The theme of this year’s Conference is through the looking glass. Over the years we have enjoyed many inspiring presentations from support service innovators across higher education, but what can we learn from outside of the sector? This year we will be taking a peek through the looking glass to see how the challenges we all face are handled outside of higher education to give us an insight into creative solutions, lessons to be learned and pitfalls to avoid.
The consumerisation of technology and the growth in the use of social media have significantly impacted on users’ expectations of IT. Today, many of us can sit anywhere in the world and use our smartphones to control anything from central heating systems to our TVs. Our customers are now expecting this level of functionality and usability in the workplace but can we deliver and what are we doing to engage with our end users? Student voice will continue to play a critical role in the delivery of student experience so, new for 2016, the panel session will offer delegates the opportunity to ask a team of students from a range of institutions what they want to see from their university Support Services and just what their expectations are.
This year we will be taking a peek through the looking glass to see how the challenges we all face are handled outside of higher education to give us an insight into creative solutions, lessons to be learned and pitfalls to avoid
We continue to encourage contributions from our delegates. The popular 20*20 and video showcases are back giving you the opportunity to demonstrate the innovations, good practice and service excellence that is being delivered in your own organisations and we will continue to use Padlet and Twitter to engage both in the lead up and throughout the Conference. In fact, some of the most engaging and exciting Conference conversations take place on social media.
As well as the high-quality plenaries and speaker sessions, there will be a range of interaction workshops covering a broad range of topics. The Get things done session will provide practical techniques to help you gain control of your work, giving you the ability to increase your productivity whilst maintaining a clear mind by demonstrating a practical methodology to help support staff deal with changing priorities, shifting resources and the sheer volume of meetings, emails and telephone calls. There will also be a process improvement session that will explore Serious Play techniques so expect some Lego!
As always, the Programme will contain a wide range of business showcases and supplier exhibitions that are relevant to service desks, libraries and communications services.
Of course, the Programme of speakers and sessions has been based on feedback from previous years. This Conference really is all about the delegates, so we invite all staff that are involved in the delivery of support services to join us and we look forward to seeing you there.