Wednesday, 14 November 2012

IT Services Newsletter #40

We have dealt with the start of a new academic year with some success and a number of new and updated services have been launched which are mentioned below.  Thank you for making that happen – it is rarely anything other than a team effort.  They say that change is a constant, and with the announcement of the Vice-Chancellor’s departure I guess we can expect further turbulence ahead as the process to appoint a successor begins.  Closer to home, I am sure that you will join me in wishing Priscilla Preston well in her new role at Leeds Metropolitan.  We have had a lot of change over the Summer and it’s  good to see new folk settling in and getting a warm welcome.

Recruitment News – our team
There have been a significant number of staff changes since the last newsletter. These have been announced in separate staff announcements.  Since September, we have recruited five new people for the IT Systems Team to support investment plan projects and for the IT Support Team we have two colleagues in new roles.  We have also shortlisted external candidates for the vacant Grade 4 role in IT Support and have interview dates set for late November.

Recruitment News – project management framework
Over the last few months a cross-functional team has been working on a procurement framework for project management resource.  This process has led to a framework agreement for the next three years.  It will provide services which include management of IT projects, business process change projects, change management projects and general (non-technology) projects.  We provided a case study based on CRM (customer relationship management) to the candidates at shortlisting and the response provides a rich resource for any future activity in this area.

Launching the Annual Report 2011-12
We have completed the consultation on the content of the annual reports for last academic session.  This is now published on our usual web pages where reports for the last four years are available.  Once again, we have also provided a short student-focused summary of activity.  Please take a look a the document and at what we have achieved.  There are no plans to produce a “glossy” version for paper circulation.

IT Services web-site re-launch
This is an update on the project to migrate web content to the University content management system (CMS).  When this was first started, IT was at the “back of the queue” as our web presence was in pretty good shape and others took priority.  This Summer there was a major launch of the Library web presence which appears to have been very successful.  We are now commencing the process of auditing and moving the IT web site content to the CMS.  There is a timeline available which begins with benchmarking and gap analysis.  LSS Customer Services will be doing much of the redesign, content and training the new CMS contributors and moderators as this becomes devolved.  Obviously, throughout the whole process the team involved will be speaking to various staff in IT services. The aim is to launch by August 2013.

In Other News

·         The project to deliver on-line applications for student accommodation (e-apps) was successfully launched in late September.  New undergraduate and postgraduate students can now begin the process of applying for accommodation using the on-line service which is integrated with other University systems including SAINT and Room Service.  Congratulations to the team involved with this project.
·    The University systems were updated to deal with the fee processing for the £9k student fee from September 2012.  On the 23rd October the annual invoice run took place creating over 10k invoice lines with a total value of £50.4 Million.  This is a significant piece of systems integration which is effectively a  once a year exercise.  In future years, we may introduce further process improvements to the data transfers.
·    Eduroam – a new wireless service - was “soft launched” in September and is working well.  It is available to students and staff and also visitors (if they have eduroam at their home institution).  Eduroam is available in the same locations as RoamNet and has a number of benefits including automated connections to avoid multiple authorisations, added security and you can use eduroam at other institutions worldwide (if those institutions provide the eduroam service). There is more information here and thanks to the IT Infrastructure Team for making this happen.
·    The piece of work to provide all new students with a print credit on the Pharos printing system has now completed.  Every new student received  a £1.25 credit to their online print account.  Over £5k has been credited so far.  General speaking, the investment in new MFD devices throughout the LSS estate has gone well and devices are now distributed through the buildings and appear to be working effectively.  If you are set up to use the IT Services MFD why not try printing on other student enabled devices across the campus.
·    There have been a number of service interruptions reported through IT Board.  We are continuing to write up reports which get to the “root cause” of issues.  When appropriate, these are published on the service status page so look out for a number of updates coming through after the November IT Board meeting.
·    Projects are progressing on Unified Communications for students and staff with recent workshops on Microsoft Lync and a further event covering Sharepoint.  We have obtained a full set of legal documents from JANET for the migration to Office 365 technology and technical documentation from external partner Salford Software.
·    Work has been progressing on attendance monitoring solutions and a short-term fix has been developed rapidly which has been a  team effort-  involved with the production of tender documentation and also supporting external experts on a register production and scanning system.  For a full update on all the projects we are working on take a look at the IT Services rolling plan.

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