We are pleased to announce that James Van Poolen has been promoted from Support Analyst to Systems Administrator.  Over the past five years, James has been delivering outstanding technical support to our business partners as a member of our support team.  In fact, his support was so incredible that James was named the 2017 National HDI Analyst of the Year.  James recently received his Bachelor of Science in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.  In his new role, James will be responsible for the systems administration of our desktop, client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

James was born in Berwyn, Illinois and is the first of four siblings.  He is married to Christy Van Poolen, linguist extraordinaire, who recently obtained a master’s in Linguistics from Pitt.  James enjoys playing the guitar, drawing, and reading.  The last book he read is “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.  His dream job is quite unique.  If he could do anything aside from helping our business partners,  it would be making barrels for whiskey out of white oak somewhere in the recesses of Canada.  James would also really like to meet Bob Dylan.

Please join us in congratulating James on his promotion!

We are pleased to announce that Nick Contis has joined FIS technical services from the University’s Facilities Management department, effective August 5th. Nick will be joining our Applications team as a Business Analyst. His responsibilities will include application development, code review and third-party system support.

Nick obtained both a Bachelor’s and Masters of Information Sciences from Pitt. He has spent the last 23 years technically supporting and developing applications and databases for Pitt’s Facilities Management department. Nick’s experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to our Applications department. Nick will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carol Zielinski.

Nick was born near Washington, PA. He currently lives in Whitehall with his wife, Karalyn, and their dog and two cats. He is an avid traveler who greatly enjoys dining out at various establishments during his travels. His favorite restaurants across the US that he has encountered thus far are In-N-Out Burger (West Coast), Molly’s Cupcakes (Chicago), 50’s Prime Time Cafe (Walt Disney World), The Cheesecake Factory (various cites throughout the US), Top of the World (Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas), The Buffet (Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas), and Yokoso (Waterfront, Pittsburgh) for Tuesday Sushi Tsunami. Aside from traveling and dining, Nick also really enjoys photography, cooking, and baking.

Please join me in welcoming Nick to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Justin Eidenmiller has joined FIS Technical Services from the University’s Facilities Management department, effective August 5th. Justin will be joining our Operations team as a Support Analyst. His responsibilities include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, user documentation creation, customer training, and ITIL process management.

Justin graduated from DCI Technical Institute and is currently working on obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Information Science while simultaneously working. Additionally, he spent the last three years technically supporting Pitt’s Facilities Management department. His experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to our Operations department. Justin will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carrie Armstrong.

Justin was born in Ellwood City, PA which is located about an hour north of Pittsburgh. He currently lives in Millvale, PA with his fiance, Jocelyn. In his spare time, Justin enjoys biking and is really involved in photography. Feel free to check out his excellent work at his website. His favorite restaurant is a hot dog shop located in his hometown called Red Hot. If he could do anything other than technical support, Justin would like to be a pilot.

Please join me in welcoming Justin to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Barry Limppo has accepted a full time Senior Systems Administrator position in FIS Technical Services effective July 29th. His primary responsibilities include systems administration of our desktop, client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

Over the past year, Barry has worked as a temporary contractor for FIS. The experience and knowledge gained during his tenure as a contractor has already made him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Barry will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.

Barry is another Pittsburgh transplant. He was born in Hollywood, Florida but moved to the Harrisburg area when he was two years old. He moved to Pittsburgh after meeting his wife, Jennifer, about six years ago. The two of them have a five year old son named Mason.

Barry really enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, travelling, and working on various projects around his house such as woodworking. Another one of his many life enjoyments is reading to his son before bedtime. If he could work anywhere other than FIS, he would love to be the owner/operator of a brew pub.

Please join me in welcoming Barry to FIS!

We are pleased to announce that Martin Brule has accepted the Operations Engineer position in FIS Technical Services, effective June 24th, 2019. His primary responsibilities include but are not limited to systems administration of our client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

Martin graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Communications and Networking. For the past several months, Martin has worked for FIS as a temporary contractor. His experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Martin will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.

Martin recently moved from the home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in Beechview, PA with his significant other, Janelle, their daughter, Emma, and their four cats (Ninja, Pause, Matu, and Fau). In his spare time, Martin enjoys playing music such as guitar, bass and some drums. He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, camping, biking, and inline skating.

Please join me in welcoming Martin to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Jacob Preston has accepted the Senior Application
Developer position in FIS Technical Services, effective October 15th, 2018. His responsibilities will include custom application development, code reviews, and third-party system support.

Jacob graduated from CCAC.  He has 10 years of experience as a Software Developer and has previously worked for Fi360 as a Senior Programmer Analyst/Team Lead.  His knowledge and experience will make him a valuable asset to the Application Development team.  Jacob will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Rich Welsh.

Jacob was born in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  He is married and has two boys, Rand (3) and Remy (16 months).  His wife’s name is Renata.  They also have two cats, Loki and Leona.  Jacob enjoys various forms of gaming such as board, computers, puzzles, and pinball.  He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing and hiking.  His favorite cartoon character is Fry from the animated comedy Futurama.  If Jacob wasn’t working at FIS and could have any job, he would like to be running a small shop on an island in the tropics.

Please join us in welcoming Jacob to the Technical Services team!

11 Oct 2018

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams will be rolling out to FIS customers in the near future.  Before the program is installed, we thought it was worth revisiting the articles that were posted on the website this summer about Teams.  The information listed in this article goes over what Teams is, how to access it, how to create a team, the various channel spaces within a team, managing your team, and the apps within Teams.

What is Teams

Microsoft’s training demonstrations describe Teams as “A hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others.”  It was created and designed with the express purpose of having everything customers need to perform their job function from a single application.  Listed below are many of the features of Teams:

  • Seamlessly integrates with Outlook
  • Access OneDrive without opening a new window
  • Access all of your OneNote folders
  • Collaborate in real time with Office Suite files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • Communicate in real time with colleagues
  • Streamline workflow by using a staff notebook
  • Links to other cloud storage

We will be getting into more detail of Teams features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capable of doing.   As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time.  Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part.  How to access it.

How to Access Teams

It can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt credentials, and clicking on the Teams icon.  This will open up Teams in a browser tab.  A desktop version is also available.  It can be installed on the machine once the browser-based version of Teams is open by clicking on the “Get app” icon located in the bottom left-hand corner.  Once it is installed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating a team.

How to Create a Team

To create a team, select the “Teams” icon located on the left-hand side and click “Join or create a team” at the bottom.   Click “Create a team” and choose between Classes, PLCs, Staff Members, and Anyone.  The teams you are more than likely going to want to choose are either PLCs or Staff Members.  PLCs should be chosen when colleagues need to work with other colleagues.  Staff Members should be created by an admin or supervisor for employees that work for them.  Enter the name of your team, an optional description, and choose whether the team is public or private.  Private means only team owners can add members whereas public means anyone in your organization can join.  The last step is to add people to your team and make them either members or owners.  At this point, the team you created will appear within the Teams section with a channel titled “General” appearing underneath the name of the team you created.  Channels are a way to organize the team you just created.  For example, if you are working on a project that involves multiple tasks, you can create various channels associated with the specific tasks of the project.  To add a channel to a team, click the ellipses icon directly to the right of the team you created and select “Add Channel.”  Enter the channel name and an optional description.

There are three different channel spaces contained within the team you created.  The spaces are conversations, files, and notebook.  They are accessed by clicking on the team you created and selecting a channel (for example, General).  Once on the channel, the spaces are at the top of the screen.  The channel space we are going to start with is conversations because it is more than likely what you will use the most.



Mainly, conversations allows you to live chat with other members of your teams.  If you want to address someone specifically with the teams conversations channel, type the @ symbol and a list of the various members of your team will appear.  Simply select their name and type in your message.  Everyone will be able to see the message but the person you specifically addressed it to will get a notification.  If you wanted to address your team members in a more formal way, you can use the formatting option.  The formatting option lets you add a subject to your message, change font options like color and size, and mark the message as important.  This would be useful for creating an announcement to your team.  You can also create announcements and mark them as important.  A few other less important but fun options conversations provides is the ability to add stickers, add  GIFs, and create memes.  Lastly, conversations contains a “Meet Now” icon.  Meet now works like a skype meeting.  You can record the meetings and save transcripts.


The second channel space we are going to discuss is files.  Files is pretty self-explanatory.  It lets you create or upload documents.  If you are creating a document, it will open in the online version of the program you are using which doesn’t have all of the features of the locally installed versions.  However, the online versions are more than suitable to use when creating basic word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations.  Once the document is created or uploaded, it is stored in the files channel space.  At this point, you can open it in SharePoint and a site will be created.


Notebook usage varies based on the team you created. Since part one of this series advised that the team you are most likely going to want to choose is PLCs, the notebook usage example will be PLCs.  The PLC Notebook is essentially a digital three-ring binder that works in conjunction with OneNote.  OneNote within Teams functions as if the program was installed locally on your computer.  You are able to create sections which look like tabs in a binder and pages within those sections.  This feature could be very helpful when dealing with large projects that involve multiple meetings.  Each meeting could have its own section and the various things discussed can have their own pages.


Meetings is a clickable icon that is located in the sidebar on the left-hand side of Teams.  It allows you to schedule, edit, join, accept, decline and cancel meetings as well as view your Outlook calendar on a day to day basis. The meeting invites you send will come into an invitee’s Outlook inbox.  So it works in conjunction with Outlook.  To create a meeting, click the “Schedule a meeting” icon at the bottom of the page.  At this point, you will be able to enter the title, location, start time, end time, and details of the meetings.  To invite someone to the meeting, start typing their name in the “Invite Someone” field and they will appear in the drop-down below.  Once the meeting starts the interface is very similar to Skype for Business.  In fact, Teams Meetings will eventually be taking the place for Skype for Business.  Also, you are able to record your meetings in Teams.

Managing your team

Managing your team provides you with a wide variety of options such as: adding members, changing members role permissions, adding channels, adding a team picture, changing guest role permissions, etc.  To manage your team, click on the ellipses icon next to the team you created and select “Manage team” from the available drop-down options. This is where you can add members and change their permissions.  To add a member, click the “Add member” icon on the top right-hand side of the page, type in their name and click “Add”.  The other options manage teams provides is channels, settings, and apps.  Channels allows you to add channels and settings provides you with multiple options mainly involving permissions.  Apps will be discussed below.


Apps displays a list of programs that you have integrated with Teams.  A default set of applications is listed that is entirely organization based but you are able to add apps.  To add apps, click the “Go to store” icon located in the top right-hand corner of the page and select from a very large list of programs.  Apps can also be added as tabs to your team channels.  To add an app as a tab, go to the team channel you created (in previous parts of this series the channel is General) and click the “+” icon at the top of the page.  A list of apps will appear.  Select the app you want to add.  At this point, it will let you name the tab and add any appropriate content.


Polly is a bot that allows you to create polls.  It can be downloaded through apps and integrated into Teams as its own tab.  You can view the various polls you created, view poll results, and see who created polls once Polly is its own tab on the team channel you created.  To create a poll, go to the conversations tab on the team channel you created.  Once there, click in the “Start a new conversation.  Type @ to mention someone” field.  Enter @Polly and type in your question and poll options.  For example, “Do you like Microsoft Teams?  Yes, No” and hit enter.  Polly will then create the poll for you.    Keep in mind Polly cannot have more than five options as of right now.


Chat functions in much the same way as Skype for Business.  It allows you to directly chat with members of your team.  The member of your team who you are chatting with is the only person who is able to see what is being discussed.  Chat also gives you the option to audio and video call.  This option is located in the top right-hand corner of the chat you are within.


Activity keeps track of what’s going on within Teams.  Each new or unchecked activity will be highlighted in bold.  When you click on an activity, you will be directly taken to the section of Teams that it occurred in.  Activity also contains a filter option.  Filter allows you to sort by unread, mentions, replies, following, likes, missed call, voicemail, and apps.


T-bot is located within the chat location.  It provides answers to questions about using Teams.


Search is just like it sounds.  It will allow you to search for anything that was mentioned within Teams.  It is located at the top of the application at all times.

For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation about Teams, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.



FIS has just introduced new Dell laptops to the loaner equipment pool.  The new laptops that are available are the following: Dell Latitude 7370, Dell Latitude 7390, Dell Latitude 7480, and Dell Latitude 7490.  These laptops have a new and improved form factor, meaning they are smaller and lighter but the screen size is the same or larger than our previous models.  Each laptop model comes equipped with Windows 10 and standard software but provides a slightly different user experience depending on the model you reserve.  Keep reading to learn a little about each model and the standard software that is installed on all of them.

Dell Latitude 7370

This laptop should be primarily used as a teleworker laptop but it can also be used as a standalone computer.

Dell Latitude 7390

13″ business-class laptop built for business professionals who want power while staying mobile. Featuring Intel 7th and 8th Gen Core i processors.

Dell Latitude 7480

This 14” business-class laptop is incredibly mobile without compromise. Featuring industry-leading security, manageability, and reliability.

Dell Latitude 7490

14” business-class laptop built with premium materials. Featuring optional Intel 7th Gen or new 8th Gen processors.

Standard Software

Adobe Acrobat Reader: PDF viewer
Core FTP: Secure file transfer protocol client
Google Chrome: Internet browser
KeePass 2: Password manager
Microsoft Access: Database management system
Microsoft Edge: Internet browser
Microsoft Excel:  Program used to create spreadsheets
Microsoft Internet Explorer: Internet browser
Microsoft OneDrive: File hosting and synchronization service
Microsoft OneNote: Application used to gather notes, drawings, screen captures, and audio commentary and store them in a tab-based system
Microsoft Outlook: Email system
Microsoft PowerPoint: Program used to create visual presentations
Microsoft Project: Project management software
Microsoft Publisher: Desktop publishing application that places an emphasis on page layout and design
Microsoft Visio: Diagramming and vector graphics program
Microsoft Word: Program used to create documents
Mozilla Firefox: Internet browser
Pulse Secure: Program that allows users to connect to a specific network (i.e. Pitt’s) when working remotely
Remote Desktop Connection: Application which enables users to connect to their remote (office) desktop; must be connected to Pulse Secure to work
SendBlaster 2: Bulk email software used to manage mailing lists
SnagIt 2018: Screen capture software
Skype for Business: Instant messaging client
VMWare Horizon Client: Application that provides virtual desktop capabilities

If you have any questions about the new Dell Latitude laptops or would like to reserve one, please contact FIS via the support portal.

We are pleased to announce that Kimberly Phillips has accepted the Engagement Analyst position in FIS Technical Services, effective July 23rd, 2018.  Her responsibilities include supporting critical business strategies by managing application development and website projects, engaging stakeholders, and providing user experience and quality assurance.

Kimberly holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration concentrating on Information Systems Management and Statistics.

She obtained both degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.  Kimberly has over 15 years of experience in various business and systems related roles.  She previously worked for 10 years at Pitt in various positions with the most noteworthy position being Project Manager/Business Analyst at FIS.  Kimberly will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carol Zielinski.

Kimberly is married and has three children, two daughters, Lexi (15) and Gigi (13) and a son, Brennan (10).  She also has two dogs, Tasha and Bailey, but at one time her family had nine pets!  Kimberly enjoys reading, candy crush, leading Girl Scouts, biking, martial arts, traveling, and learning new things.   Her favorite restaurants are Nicky’s Thai Kitchen and Bahama Breeze.  If she could have any job, she would like to be a shark on Shark Tank.

Please join us in welcoming Kimberly to the Technical Services team!

FIS will soon be introducing iPad Pros to the loaner equipment pool.  The iPad Pro offers more power than most PC laptops, yet is smaller and lighter, making it more convenient to use when traveling. A Logitech keyboard case is now attached which means you will no longer have to use the virtual keyboard in order to type an email or document.  An Apple pencil, providing you with the ability to write as if you were using a pen and paper, is also provided.  The pencil works in many applications.  The iPad Pro models that will be available for reservation are 10.5-inch and 9.7-inch.  The following apps have already been installed:

Firefox: Internet browser
Chrome: Internet browser
Edge: Internet browser
SharePoint:  Web-based, collaborative platform that is primarily used as document management and storage system
OneDrive: File hosting service that allows users to store files and share them publicly or with specific people
Teams: Application that lets communities, groups, or teams chat through a specific URL or invitation sent by a team administrator or owner
Skype for Business: Instant messaging client
TripIt: Application that organizes user’s travel plans in one place
Yelp: Application that enables users to search for restaurants, bars, and various entertainment offerings in the city they are currently located in while traveling
Google Maps: Mapping service that helps users better navigate their current location
Box: Cloud content management and file sharing service that lets users upload documents to its servers and invite people to view the uploaded content
Visio Viewer: Application which allows users to view Visio files from OneDrive
PowerPoint: Program used to create visual presentations
Adobe Acrobat: Program used to edit and view PDFs
DocuSign: Electronic signature and digital transaction management program
Creative Cloud: Set of applications and services from Adobe that provides subscriber’s access to software used for the following: graphic design, video editing, photography, and web development
RD Client: Application which enables users to connect to their remote (office) desktop.  Will not work unless you are connected to Pulse Secure
Pulse Secure: Program that allows users to connect to a specific network (i.e. Pitt’s) when working remotely.  Users must be connected to Pitt’s network through Pulse Secure in order to remotely reach their workstation via RD Client.
Mail: Standard email
Safari: Internet browser
OneNote: Application used to gather notes, drawings, screen captures, and audio commentary and store them in a tab-based system.
Word: Program used to create documents
Excel: Program used to create spreadsheets
VMWare Horizon: Application that provides virtual desktop capabilities
Lynda.com: Application that offers video courses taught by experts in software and business skills

If you have any questions about the iPad Pro or would like to reserve one, please contact FIS via the support portal.