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Efficient IT services to support our current and future needs.

A businessman holding a tablet symbolising security and information technology.


What is the Evolve programme?

The programme aims to provide the University with stable and highly available IT services that enable our current and future needs. It is a four-year programme that commenced in late 2022. By the end of the programme, Evolve will have delivered the following key outcomes:

  • Improved educational and student experience.
  • Reduced risk during confirmation and clearing.
  • Boost operational agility, efficiency, and continuous alignment.
  • IT system monitoring and problem resolving on a 24/7 basis.
  • Improved resilience and performance of systems and infrastructure.
  • Ability to address audit observations.
  • Easier access to Identity and Access Management (IDAM) services.
  • An integration service ready to support key programmes of work.
  • Decreased outages and incidents.

Why do we need improved IT services?

IT services are critical to our core services and the day-to-day operations across research, learning and professional services. Manchester has the largest student cohort in the country, and the University needs to be set up with efficient technology services and modern infrastructure to support current and future capabilities and enable transformation.

The legacy of the merger of Victoria University and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and the centralisation of faculty IT teams has resulted in a complex and expensive IT estate. Little rationalisation has taken place and as a result, there are too many specialist systems, many of which are reaching the end of life or are unsupported. This creates a high level of risk and an often poor experience for students and colleagues due to the number of incidents and system outages. Colleagues and students do not currently experience joined-up, stable information and application systems to support their teaching, learning, research, or professional roles.

What will be delivered by Evolve?

The Evolve programme will deliver six major improvement projects with specific outcomes.

Colleague and student computing

The present scenario:

The performance of PC clusters and applications is often poor. Logging in to PCs takes a long time and there is a lack of flexibility in accessing applications. There is limited capacity in PC clusters, and a lack of availability at certain times of the year.

This project will deliver:
  • A new PC cluster provisioning service (new applications delivery solution).
  • Upgraded hardware in PC clusters and central teaching rooms.
  • A time-saving process for preparing and issuing new University-managed laptops to colleagues and postgraduate researchers using automation technology.
  • Stronger links between IT Services and the Teaching and Learning community for colleague and student computing services.
  • A strategy for PC clusters linked to the Teaching and Learning strategy.
What difference will this make?
  • Improved performance of cluster PCs that have the information and applications that colleagues and students need to be able to work.
  • Information and applications can be streamed from the cloud.
  • Staff and students can work on any device in any location and access the information and applications they need.
The result:

An improved experience for students in the PC cluster environments and a more robust service for colleagues.

Applications and Data

The present scenario:

Critical applications are reaching end-of-life and will soon be unsupported – risking outages, data loss and limits to functional change we can make.

This project will deliver:
  • A documented understanding of our current applications landscape.
  • Power platform and PowerBI review.
  • CRM and applications portfolio assessment with a recommended roadmap.
What difference will this make?
  • We will have a broad converged set of information applications with speedy, accessible low-code platforms.
  • A clear applications roadmap so we can better manage and support our applications. 
The result:

A documented applications strategy and roadmap to guide investment decisions and highlight technical debt and risk.


The present scenario:

We don’t have end-to-end test environments that mirror our live systems, so what we test isn’t the same as real-life services, risking major service outages and failed implementation.

This project will deliver:
  • Automated build for environments for our core systems.
  • On-demand environments available through the IT service catalogue.
  • Robust guidelines, standards and governance.
  • Data obfuscation as required.
What difference will this make?
  • We will have readily available information applications sets.
  • There will be a route to a live environment for information and applications.
  • We will have obfuscated data outside of a live service.
The result:

Delivering on-demand, high availability, reusable, stable and managed environments utilising industry-standard tools.

Identity and Access Management (IDAM)

The present scenario:

The way we secure access to systems and data is overly complex and we are functionally constrained.

This project will deliver:
  • Introduction of Identity and Access Management (IDAM) architecture, policy and standards.
  • Secure by design strategy, architecture and principles.
  • Directory services, personal access management - single sign-in and authentication.
What difference will this make?
  • Your own University secure digital identity.
  • Services to authenticate your identity.
  • Management of your information and application access.
The result:

The development of an IDAM (Identity and Access Management) strategy and implementation of a new IDAM service model and technology will improve the user experience with a seamless access management service.


The present scenario:

Our infrastructure (computing, storage, connectivity) needs greater capacity and/or renewal. We are at risk of hardware failure, service outages and capacity limits.

This project will deliver:
  • Implementation of an IT operations centre that will respond to system alerts.
  • A set of work instructions to bring critical services online 24/7.
  • IT tools assessment and implementation.
  • Hosting strategy (cloud and on-premise).
What difference will this make?
  • Ability to pinpoint issues with our IT infrastructure before they arise resulting in fewer outages and incidents.
  • A 24/7 service staffed by a team of experts to ensure service continuity.
  • Stable and highly available IT services.
The result:

An improved IT Infrastructure management environment that supports a 24/7 University.


The present scenario:

Our systems are integrated using complex, end-of-life platforms and are poorly understood. Our change portfolio is at risk due to a lack of systems knowledge.

This project will deliver:
  • An integration catalogue.
  • A Centre of Excellence (governance, architecture, strategy) to enable future programmes of work.
  • A technology review and implementation.
  • The migration of integrations to a new platform.
What difference will this make?
  • We will have a joined-up set of enterprise and productivity information.
  • We will have seamless applications working together to better support our core business processes.
  • The user experience will improve with fewer integration issues and manual interventions.
The result:

A new, simplified, scalable, future-proof integration platform, driving best practices and standardisation in integrations.

Alignment to the University’s strategic plan, our future

Delivery of the Evolve Programme is critical to ‘transforming our services and activities’ which is a key priority of the ‘our people, our values’ theme in the  University’s strategic plan.

Having the right technology in place is a key factor in ensuring our students have an optimal learning experience and is essential for staff to perform their roles effectively. Implementation of new technology and processes will also provide the foundations for future transformation and digital capability and will be a key enabler to achieving the Teaching and Learning priority of ‘lifelong and flexible learning’. Enhancing our technology, simplifying our architecture, and reducing risk will also avoid future costs and contribute to achieving financial sustainability.

This page will be updated at regular intervals. Please contact the programme team if you have any questions or comments.


If you need general IT help and support, contact our IT Support Centre either online through the IT Services website, or call 0161 306 5544.