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  • Skype for Business training available

    remoteWe live in an era of constant exposure to new technology.  

    Consequently, the way we live and how we work are ever evolving.  The same holds true for Pima County.

    Skype for Business is a communication and collaboration tool now installed on all County computers running Windows 10 on the Central domain.  It provides instant messaging, file sharing and video or audio conference calling and is already changing the way we do business.  

    If you are interested in learning more about Skype, ITD currently offers Skype training.  Interest in classes has been strong so please pre-register.  

    Talk to your Department Training Coordinator (DTC) to register for a session.  For a list of DTCs, please click the following link:  http://intranet.pima.gov/itd/training/DTC-List.pdf.

    There are likely times when you find you need to know if someone is available to speak with you, and you may instinctively open their Outlook calendar to verify availability.  Skype uses red, yellow and green indicators to show whether someone is available or unavailable. A quick glance at your contact list and you’ll instantly know the person’s status.

    E-Mail is good for lengthier or more detailed communication, but what if you have a quick question and you don’t want to write and send an e-mail, then wait for a response?  Skype allows you to right click on someone’s name, Instant Message (IM) them and receive an immediate response.

    Have you ever been questioned by another County employee about how to do something, but find it difficult to understand what they are referencing without seeing it?  

    Instead of scheduling a meeting or leaving your desk to see what they’re doing, use Skype and ask them to share their desktop.  This will enable you to see exactly what they are doing in real time.  

    Still having an issue explaining what to do?  Request control of their desktop and you can show them exactly what to do.

    In our collaborative environment, we often need to share something with others and request their feedback before we can proceed.  

    Typically, you would send out a document via e-mail for review and comment.  Each person would modify their copy and then you would have to merge all the changes into a single document.  

    What if everyone could review the original document at the same time and see changes made in real time?  

    With Skype, you can share a document and all review it simultaneously.  Everyone sees the changes as they’re made without leaving their desk.

    Virtual meetings with Skype are convenient when you have attendees in multiple locations.  You no longer need to ask that they drive to your location and pay for parking.  

    Simply schedule a Skype meeting in Outlook and attendees can call in to attend.  

    It’s similar to a conference call but with the added benefits of being able to see what you are presenting on your computer and collaborating as if you were all sitting in the same room.  This saves time, is eco-friendly and makes meetings easier to schedule.

    Already, two County departments have identified ways to utilize Skype that save the County money by reducing travel while providing better service to constituents.  

    Development Services (DSD) has been using Skype for approximately 1.5 years to perform building inspections without inspectors leaving the office.  

    The client uses their phone or tablet and acts as the cameraman while an inspector gives directions from their offices about what they want to see and are able to complete the inspection without travel to and from the site.  

    Clients like it because they can schedule same-day inspections with just 30 minutes advance notice.  This program saves DSD an estimated 3 hours per day in drive time and another $700 per month in vehicle cost while providing better customer service. 

    In the future, as the program grows, field inspectors will become remote inspectors providing more just-in-time inspections and additional savings to the County.

    The Department of Environmental Quality also uses Skype to perform septic system inspections.  

    Previously, when work was complete on a septic system, the contractor had to leave the system uncovered and wait one to two days for an inspection, after which they could cover the septic system and complete the job.  

    DEQ Deputy Director Richard Grimaldi reports that approximately 70 percent of contractors are now opting for virtual inspections and, similar to DSD, the contractor acts as cameraman by using a personal mobile device.  

    The inspector provides direction and is able to complete the inspection without leaving the office.  Upon successful completion of an inspection, the contractor can cover the septic system and complete their work the same day.  

    That’s a win for the contractor, the homeowner and the County. 
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