A lot’s been happening behind the scenes in IT recently. Here are just a few of the latest developments.
On Thursday 10 August, the IT Executive Leadership Team held a Q&A session for colleagues around the University.
The questions covered various areas, including projects, Identity and Access Management (IDAM), equipment, support and more.
The Information Governance Team recently hosted a Q&A session on the GDPR Filestore Project. Watch the recording of the Q&A to hear updates from various initiatives impacting research data, covering data migration, the future of research data storage, and the Library's pivotal role in research data management.
IT Services has successfully rolled out Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) across all University-managed Windows devices which will help to quickly detect and eliminate malicious activity and minimise the impact of a cyber-attack.
This is a significant milestone in reducing the risk of ransomware threats and strengthening the University’s cyber security.
We’ve nearly completed our roll-out of new wireless and wired networks to our halls of residence.
Having started in April 2022, we’ve installed over 6,000 access points and 250 network switches to date – meaning that every room in the halls we’ve updated have their own access point.
The new installations boast higher connection speeds than the previous networks, as well as a login process more akin to what students would be used to on a home network to make these connections much more user-friendly.
Previously, for example, they wouldn’t have been able to connect devices like smart speakers easily. Now they can, as there are no limits to the devices they can connect.
Each room also offers wired and wireless options, to ensure that there is some flexibility in how students can use them, and the devices they can connect. Students can also give visitors guest access.
Nick Holden, Marketing and Communications Manager for Residential and Catering Services; Conferences and Events, said: “It’s been great to work with colleagues in IT on updating these networks for our students.
“We encountered a few challenges on the way, but we managed to work together to overcome them and make sure that we’re giving everyone the quickest, most reliable connections possible for the start of the 2023/4 academic year.”
Initial feedback from students has been positive too, and the fact it’s so much easier to get connected now means that there have been fewer people getting in touch with IT for help.
Further details about the new network and how to connect to them are available on the IT website:
There are several early-adopter Agile teams working on building different products that deliver value to the University. Here’s a little more on the areas they cover:
Build on the Jadu and WordPress platforms to allow colleagues around the University to manage their own content on our web estate.
Build and implement a modern, user-focused design system providing a consistent, accessible website experience for visitors across all University websites.
Focus on the Dynamics365 Agile Applications Platform (AAP) – a framework of customer relationship management systems, websites, apps and optimised processes that offer a unified experience for staff, students, IT, and the public.
Support and develop the existing Library Systems and support associated projects. The team is not a product team and focuses on Kanban rather than the Scrum framework due to the type of work, number of products, current team structure, etc.
Manage, maintain and develop the ServiceNow platform, which is vital to providing IT’s website, help services and various internal processes. The team is made up of members of IT’s Service Delivery Management and Application Development teams.
Focusing on enabling the transformation of the way we access and use of data as part of the Data Services programme. The overall aim is to provide responsive and secure digital services, regulatory compliance, and insight to improve decision making and outcomes for our students and academics.
Work towards replacing the University's on-premises reporting system, QlikView, with Cloud-based Power BI. This is to modernise the reporting platform, enable self-service analytics, reduce operational costs, and expand data capabilities to improve business insight.
A recent clear out of some old files and desk drawers got us feeling all nostalgic when we can across a collection of archived team newsletters.
August 2001 noted that we were due to take delivery of 35 PCs running Windows 2000, with Office 2000 installed. We were also awaiting delivery of an A3 colour printer.
Approximately 10 people were using Outlook, with the next team due to start using it when their new computers arrived in mid-September. Brilliantly, foreshadowing 2023 by quite some way, this was part of an ‘Academic Services Collaborative Working Project’ in which:
“There will then be a pause in the roll-out while we consider how to make the best use of the collaborative working features of Outlook, e.g. sharing diaries, arranging meetings, publishing shared documents, handling email distribution lists. Once new business processes have been defined and agreed the roll-out will continue to all staff throughout the 5 Academic Services.”
There was also lots going on behind the scenes to find new places for a rapidly expanding team to work, and people were beavering away to build intranet websites so everyone could keep in touch.
In other news, we were getting ready for Clearing “using the new telephone hardware purchased recently for handing the enormous volume of calls received (up to 10,000 in 10 minutes!)”, and a pilot was underway that meant “purchase requisitions are being fully processed over the Intranet” via SAP.