Reliable information technology (IT) infrastructure and support for Bible translation teams serving in Africa are essential. A new annual training conference, called IT Connect, seeks to improve and expand the knowledge of IT staff in our organization. The first one in Nairobi began last week and will continue until June 18. Students have come from several eastern African nations: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. Jeff is participating in today’s session on remote IT support.
With advancements in available technology, remote IT support is becoming a viable option for many teams serving in Africa. While it doesn’t entirely replace local IT support, remote staff can address a variety of IT problems using tools like instant messaging, VoIP, virtual private networks (VPN), and remote access software like Bomgar.
All too often thin IT teams struggle to keep up with demands in their locations. Sometimes only one IT tech is responsible for maintaining up to 30 people’s computers; other times a team may have no locally available IT support. Remote staff can help.
Jeff will soon be moving into a role as a remote IT support specialist for Africa. While he’ll stay focused on Africa, he’ll be joining a small and growing team that will provide remote IT support services to staff in four or five time zones that cover both Europe and Africa. In his new position Jeff will be able to serve teams and offices based all around the continent of Africa, instead of just serving one administrative office.
This is a new initiative of Wycliffe International, so Jeff will be the first of what is hoped to be several remote IT staff based in Africa. He hasn’t moved into this position yet, but an initial request for his assistance has already come in from some staff in Nigeria. Their IT tech will be leaving Nigeria soon for a while, and Jeff could provide them with service remotely to keep their computers running until their IT tech returns.
His new role also comes with opportunities to travel a couple of times a year out to teams that need more significant help. By providing on-site support for a specified period of time, he’ll be able to assist teams with special projects, events that require additional IT support and/or just help them catch up on regular work that has backed up.
We’re planning to coordinate his trips with mine so that we can do some traveling together. At the end of the week we’ll be traveling together to Europe so that Jeff can meet his new team, and I can talk to the Europe staff about communications in Africa.