Monday, 7 March 2011

Days of Future Passed

One of sessions at our departmental meeting last week was a look back at what we've achieved over the past year, and a look forward to what we're aiming for this year.

Our overarching themes continue to be:
  • Reducing our carbon footprint/Green IT
  • Improving the Student Experience
  • Reducing complexity
  • Improving Resilience
  • Doing more with less
So, a summary of achievements and priorities by service area:

Learning and teaching
– MOLE 2 (our new VLE based on Blackboard Learn 9) Pilot
– Common Timetabling Pilot
– Learning and Teaching Space improvements
– MOLE 2 – implementation
– Common Timetable Pilot (again)
– New managed student desktop based on Windows 7
– Piloting teaching with laptops to make better use of lab spaces
– Satisfaction survey of all students / Survey students about mobile devices

Research and Innovation
– Support for Computer Simulation using graphical processing units
– Central License Management
– Working together with Research Groups
– Upgrade Iceberg (our High Performance Computer)
– Research Funding - URMS ( the University’s Research Management System  that researchers use to cost funding bids) now automatically lets us know when about research submissions that have a heavy computing requirement.
– Better Research Data Storage and management - working with the Library to reduce the amount of data stored in inapprpriate ways, and to improve its life cycle management

Communication and Collaboration
– Move to IP Telephony
– Improve Video Conferencing facilities including installation of another Access Grid
– Implemented Google mail and calendar for students
– Develop an Enquirer and Applicant Portal
– Implement a new portal based on Liferay
–  Implement Google Apps for Staff Google
–  Implement a text messaging system
–  Complete new Content Management System roll-out

Help and Support
– Implemented Self Service and Live Support on Helpdesk
– Worked closely to improve links with IT Support in Faculties
– Wokred with departments to deliver targeted training, especially improved induction for staff
– Upgrade SupportWorks (Helpdesk software) to a system supporting service management
– Develop Professional Services Strategic Liaison
– Review of Information Security policies and procedures

Corporate Information
– SAP Upgrade
– Upgrade of CIS (student Information System) and  CRM
– Implemented Student Attendance Monitoring
– SAP upgrade continued - this is a long term project
– Statutory Items (HESA, UCAS, SLC, PBI, Payroll). Acronym City. Has to be done.
– Implement Online registration

– Resilience - server virtualisation, introduced new hardware for VMWare and moved major systems onto Solaris Zones. Improved network resilence by removing single points of failure, setting up dual paths round campus and using resilient load balancers
– Increased storage capacity
–  Green IT - 5 year energy costs reduced from £500,000 to £150,000 due to server virtualisation
– On and Off site Bandwidth increase / management - hoping to increase link to 10Gb and upgrade internal core to 10Gb
– Wireless
– Storage refresh (2012)
– Review how we currently provide file and print services

Business Activities
– Managed 16 Major Projects
– Transport and Parking services relocated  to Estates and Facilities Management
– Carried out several Print Audits
– University archive provided information for several high profile events including the visit og HM the Queen
– Implement a managed staff printing service
– Review software licensing
– Venues:
       -  upgrade Octagon technical infrastructure, replace bleachers etc
       -  Drama Studio increasing  support to academic activities

Phew - that's quite a list. On top of all of that we're continuing to introduce service management by developing and reviewing our change, incident and problem procedures; setting up Service Advisory groups to support our Service Strategy Board; reviewing our Business Continuity procuedure; developing a methodology for understanding the cost of our services.  Last, but certainly not least, developing and investing in our staff.

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