What's New in IT Services – January 2024


A lot’s been happening behind the scenes in IT recently. Here are just a few of the latest developments. 

Introducing Copilot 

Copilot is a suite of AI-powered productivity solutions developed by Microsoft.  

We've created an article providing a brief overview about the website-based chatbot version of Copilot (formerly known as Bing Chat) that can help with a series of tasks, such as coding, writing, generating images, answering general questions, and more.   

It’s worth noting that Microsoft also have another version of Copilot which is embedded in its Microsoft365 apps – this function currently isn’t available at the University, so the article focusses on the version that can be found on the Copilot website.   

For more information on use of AI at the University, please visit the University's Generative AI website

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Working together to ensure colleagues have digital access 

The ‘Learning to Log on’ initiative, which we covered a few times last year in this series, has helped colleagues improve their digital literacy and access key online University systems.  

Organisers Harriet Boatwright, John Dodds and Dawn Abel recently told the For Staff site all about it – and hinted at their plans to spread the initiative wider in 2024.   

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Long Service Awards 

Colleagues from IT were among those celebrating their long service awards in December

Long Service Awards recognise the achievement of technical and non-academic staff members up to grade 6 who have worked at the University for 25 or 40 years. 

Award recipients from 2021, 2022 and 2023 were invited to attend a celebratory festive lunch in University House on 11 December and received their awards during a graduation ceremony in the Great Hall later that afternoon. 

Read more about the occasion on the For Staff site, and congratulations to all the recipients! 

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Accessing HR Self-Service and SAP based systems 

We have successfully moved SAP, the system that underpins many of our Finance, HR and Procurement systems, to the cloud so that the service it provides is now more secure and reliable.

All the online applications that were impacted by the recent change are now available e.g. SIPR, KRISTAL, Timesheets, E-expenses, Purchasing Card, Student Fees, Student Payments, Estates Web Notification, Science Warehouse, Key Travel, TEM search, SAP Access Management and ESS/MSS.

How to access HR Self Service (also known as ESS)

Previously, there have been several different links to access HR self-service, from today please ensure you are using the following link https://selfservice.leeds.ac.uk

Remember to update this link if you have saved it in your web browser. HR self-service continues to only be available when working on campus (connected to the wired network) or via our remote access capabilities. We recommend using virtual windows desktop for off-campus access.

If you have any problems accessing HR Self Service or SAP, please clear your web browser cache first and try again before contacting the IT Service Desk.

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External email banner  

We are continuing to improve our cyber security and, to help you spot phishing emails, we recently introduced an email banner to let you know if an email is from an external source. After listening to your feedback, we’ve now reduced the size of this banner, added more systems to the safe senders list which are not flagged, and are continuing to review this list. 

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COO Professional Services Open Meeting 

Chief Information Officer Dan Simms appeared at the Chief Operating Officer’s (COO) Professional Services open meeting on Monday 15 January.  

It was the third event in this well-received series, with COO Rachel Brealey sharing updates with colleagues on the work being undertaken in response to the Employee Engagement Survey, along with presentations from some of her senior team.   

Dan discussed his responsibilities at the University, and provided an overview of the IT Services leadership team, their primary duties, recent achievements and current priorities. He was also on-hand to help take some questions from the audience.    

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Change to Stream 

From 5 February, as part of the Stream (Classic) video migration project, videos that are owned by a Team or SharePoint site will be moved from Stream (Classic) into the corresponding Team or SharePoint site. The existing links to videos will continue to work and permissions will remain the same.  

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Changing how you get Microsoft feature updates 

Currently, many people get Office/M365 App feature and user interface updates to their University devices a couple of times a year, usually in January and July (semi-annual). However, around 3,000 people were getting updates as soon as they became available. To ensure everyone has the same experience and are using the same versions, we are moving everyone to semi-annual updates.   

This change started at the end of December and carried on throughout January.  

Please also note that security updates will continue to happen monthly (around Microsoft Patch Tuesday – the second Tuesday of each month). 

Most people won't notice anything, however if you have been receiving updates continuously, you may temporarily lose some minor features in M365 apps as you will be reverted to the last main update. If you do have any problems, please contact the IT Service Desk in the usual way. 

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Engaging with you 

Over the next few months IT will be sending a few surveys and running other engagement sessions to get the views of all University staff on a number of issues, including where you store files, how you interact with IT (our 'front door') and your views on laptop provision and associated services.

The first of these is a short survey to help us understand where you currently store your files and what resources could help you make the most of OneDrive. Complete the survey by 31 January.  

In February we will be having an open meeting for all staff to discuss these and any other issues you would like to raise - look out for the invite in the all staff enewsletter soon. 

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