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Modernising IT: Progress and realising benefits

29 Mar 2021

An update on our IT Modernisation programme

modernising IT

The University’s IT Modernisation programme has been reset this year and is now renewing our IT network infrastructure, which includes the vast network of wires and kit that deliver Local Area Network (LAN) and Wi-Fi across the University. By renewing the infrastructure IT Services are ensuring that we all have access to a high quality, robust and secure network that supports our world-leading research and teaching, underpinning our student experience.

The next stage of the IT Modernisation programme will focus on realising the benefits of the upgrade which include: enhanced security, ease of use, portability, reliability, and productivity gains.

Schedule and progress to date

The 2021 renewal of infrastructure and technology includes upgrading the wired network in 91 very different locations, and replacing 1,890 wireless access points (APs) across 53 sites, including: laboratories, teaching spaces, offices, halls of residence, museums, art galleries and libraries. The project initially began last year with our first 10 buildings receiving LAN upgrades and what was nearly 870 new wireless access points.

Tyrrell Basson, IT Modernisation Programme Director commented: “We have made great progress with our delivery partners Roc Technologies, despite the constraints of the Covid pandemic. We have so far removed out-dated kit and installed new equipment in 33 buildings, as well as installing 254 new Wi-Fi access points in 10 buildings during March alone. Inevitably, work of this nature means some interruption to service. So, we are very focussed on scheduling work to take place at times that minimise disruption, especially with respect to activities that are critical for teaching, research and the student experience.”

There’s a way to go but the project is on schedule, on budget, and due to be completed the end of September 2021.

Realising the benefits through user adoption

Now that the upgrade is underway, the scope of the project will include supporting colleagues in realising the potential benefits from the latest cloud-based solutions. A new programme of training and support for Microsoft 365 is being developed, including the secure use of Microsoft Teams. This new ‘Digital Champions’ programme, alongside online guidance and self-help, will provide expert training and development capability for colleagues, initially supported by official Microsoft partners.

How our University benefits from the IT Modernisation programme

  • Supporting staff and students to gain maximum benefit from the adoption and use of Microsoft 365, including Teams.
  • Teams Telephony (using Teams to make calls rather than out-dated phone-lines).
  • Secure full-service access, collaboration and storage, anytime anywhere.
  • Improved self-service and efficiency gains.
  • Enhanced data security.
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) providing staff and students with additional security and single sign-on.
  • Modernised network infrastructure and Wi-Fi across the University that will enhance productivity, improved security and lower costs.

More information

There’s lots of information, including a network modernisation schedule, on the Modernising IT website.