FAQ

A selection of our frequently asked questions regarding our services...

Support


What will happen to our tickets?

You will receive your tickets in three formats, a CSV, a readable HTML and an XML file each day. This file will contain every query received by Norman.

Tickets are listed in two groups, unassigned calls which require further action by yourselves and resolved calls. Tickets are logged with your customer details held on our database as well as full details of the nature of the problem and any troubleshooting performed during the call.

What are the data protection implications?

Data stored by Norman will be used solely in order to help resolve queries raised.

As members of Northumbria University staff we will comply with the Northumbria University Data Protection Policy available at https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/leadership-governance/vice-chancellors-office/legal-services-team/northumbria-data-protection/ to ensure security and appropriate use of the data held.

Data will not be disclosed to any third party.

How quickly can this service be setup?

We usually suggest a timeframe of two months to ensure we have all the groundwork in place to successfully deal with all queries. We have over 45 successful implementations of the Norman service and will work with you throughout the setup period to ensure a smooth launch - tasks include setting up a data transfer, creating a knowledgebase and testing telephony/systems access (if required).

Where an immediate/urgent implementation is required we can fast-track a bespoke setup to go-live in a much shorter timeframe.

How do end users reach the Norman Service?

Norman offers support via email, chat, telephone and SMS - we will work with you to provide continuity between your existing service desk and Norman by customising telephone greetings and written messages. Most of our existing customers automatically transfer their lines and emails each day. Our additional services such as Chat Support can be fully branded to match your existing site/brand.

For our 24/7 customers Norman will provide non-geographical numbers and, if required, email addresses which can be published directly to your end users - removing the need for you to transfer or provide these yourself.

 

What access is required?

Our ability to resolve problems is often only limited by our level of access to local systems.

For example, the most common type of query made to the service is user account/login related, therefore most customers find it useful that we can deal with password resets and will provide Norman with access to tools such as Active Directory.

A majority of our customers provide us access to local systems via VPNs (typically web-based) , such as Cisco AnyConnect, or  remote access software, such as Citrix Receiver or Remote Desktop Connection (typically software).


Monitoring


How many web applications can you monitor?

We do not set a hard limit on the number of web applications that we monitor.

Monitoring is a bespoke service and as such a bespoke quote will be provided for each implementation depending on your requirements (including number of web applications to monitor, level of monitoring and what if any remedial action Norman's team will take).

What is 'Real User Experience' monitoring?

Our Real User Experience monitoring provides a way to automatically test functionality of your website mirroring a genuine user interacting with the service. For example, we can simulate a student logging into your VLE and interacting with modules within or simulate a staff member accessing an important web based system. We build multiple validation steps into our scripting to make sure any failures at any stage during the test are reported back to our 24/7 Service Desk Staff.

Our checks can be as detailed as required, login screens are not a problem so long as you can provide us an account to use and we can interact with text boxes, drop down menus and search fields as required. We do this by building scripted checks and running them at regular intervals - if something fails in the transaction, our 24/7 Service Desk Staff are immediately alerted.

Real User Experience monitoring goes way beyond traditional "is it up or down" checks which might not always detect problems (for example the web service might be "up" but showing an error page when performing a certain task), by simulating actual interaction with your service in a real web browser at regular intervals we can detect problems before your users do.

How quickly can this service be setup?

We usually suggest a time frame of around two weeks to setup our monitoring service. This provides enough time for the Norman Systems Team to create check scripting and develop processes for dealing with alerts, while also allowing checks to run naturally for a few days without alerting enabled to mitigate out any false positives.

If you require Norman to take remedial action (e.g. rebooting a server) we will also need time to confirm systems access is working and that documented steps/actions to take on system issues are agreed with our Knowledge Manager, ready for our Service Desk Staff to carry out.

What happens when something goes wrong?

Our automated monitoring platform will detect the issue and alert our 24/7 Service Desk Staff who will immediately manually validate the automated alert to make sure no false-positive has occurred.

Our Service Desk Staff will then follow an escalation process or take remedial action to restore the service, depending on your agreed requirements. They will also ensure a ticket is logged and provided to you with the exact details of what went wrong and what action was taken.

All of this happens in a matter of minutes to make sure your service gets up and running again as quickly as possible.

How can monitoring help me?

Our automated monitoring platform is capable of monitoring any system provided that it is accessible externally to your organisation (e.g. publicly accessible from the internet) - we are most frequently asked to monitor websites/web applications, but can also monitor servers and other networking equipment provided relevant ports are open to the internet allowing us to setup Ping checks.

Monitoring from Norman can be extremely valuable if you have systems that need to be reliable and highly available, automated monitoring is excellent, however, what happens when you get an alert at 2 am or when you are in a meeting? Norman removes this challenge by utilising our team of experienced 24/7 Service Desk Analysts who can respond appropriately and quickly to alerts - carrying out remedial action or alerting the relevant members of your team as required.

Norman offers a fully managed monitoring platform, including always available staff to respond to alerts.

 


Knowledge


What will happen in our knowledge reviews?

Prior to the review, our dedicated Knowledge Manager will look for gaps within the knowledgebase using analytic data from our knowledgebase and ITSM tool to help you to provide the information that our analysts need to best support your customers.

They will be proactively checking common unresolved tickets which are being passed back to the home institution for resolution. Once common issues have been highlighted they will work with you to increase our first time fix rate.

Who will be our key contact for any issues?

Our Knowledge manager is backed by a dedicated Knowledge and Training team who will be available to assist with any queries you may have.

We will be able to provide you with relevant contact information during our on-boarding process.

How quickly can this service be setup?

We usually suggest a timeframe of around 2 weeks.

Our dedicated Knowledge team are able to setup a template for the knowledge base within 1 week.

We will then request information from you to fill our gaps. We find that our customers typically spend around 1 week collating this information.

How do we provide knowledge feedback?

It's important that we are able to constantly improve our knowledge base however we will need your help to do so.

We will provide detailed reporting and statistics within our Knowledge reviews. This will allow you to check for gaps within the knowledge base or locate any patterns for high traffic articles.

To provide feedback, simply contact a member of our knowledge team.

Can we update the knowledge articles ourselves?

Yes - we will provide you with user accounts to access our knowledge tool.

Within here you will be able to view, update and create new knowledge articles.

Our Knowledge team will be able to assist with any queries you have with our tool. 

 


Contingency


How short notice can we transfer lines?

As long as the service has been setup previously we will be able to start answering your telephone calls within 5 minutes of contact.

How do we resume our service?

In order to resume your service you will simply need to remove any diverts put in place.

How quickly can this service be setup?

We usually suggest a timeframe of around a week (typically a few days) in order to setup our Contingency service.

We have a large number of non-geographical numbers ready for our customers to divert their lines to and we will simply need to test that your diverts work reliably.

What can you support?

We specialise in IT and Library Help for the HE Sector however our analysts are able to assist with a wide range of calls including; switchboard, finance queries, appointment booking and general enquiries.

For how long are you able to support our customers?

There is no time limit to as how long we are able to answer your telephone calls.

We will do so until you are confident that you can resume your service.


If any of your questions are still unanswered please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.