IT bulletin, November 2014

Welcome to the November 2014 edition of the IT bulletin. To ensure you are informed about the next edition join the mailing list You can subscribe by visiting the subscription request page in Sympa.

In this edition:

Top items

Maintenance activity

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) recruitment

The University is looking to appoint a new Chief Information Officer (CIO). The post has been advertised in the Times Higher online and the Sunday Times.

The closing date for applications is 24th November. The aim is to complete long listing by 1st December and shortlisting by 18th December 2014. Final selection will take place on 16th January.

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The IT Action plan followed a number of reviews into aspects of the work of IT Services. The Action Plan structures activity under three themes:

  • Setting the Direction is concerned with the development of a new IT strategy and governance structures and communicating that to the whole organisation.
  • Developing the Service focusses on actions to enhance the delivery of general IT support services across the University.
  • Supporting Education and Research describes the actions specifically to improve alignment with and support for the University’s core activities.

Under each section work is identified in 4 month cycles.

A full copy of the IT Action Plan is available.

Currently the activity for the period September to December 2014 identified in the Action Plan includes:

Setting the Direction

  • We will review and finalise the set of strategic operating principles and new governance structure.
  • The new IT Committee of Council and Senate will hold its first meeting.
  • We have developed an action plan to address the outcomes of the student IT survey.
  • We will carry out a JANET Financial X-ray exercise to estimate the costs of key services.
  • Following a reassessment of the 2nd data centre project a paper has been prepared for submission to SPIB and/or ITAG on steps to be taken and timelines.

Developing the Service

  • We will continue the work to increase capacity for handling more incidents and requests and problem management. In particular, we have implemented self-service for password resets, and software installations.
  • We will review Finance’s proposals for a new IT purchasing process within Agresso. In particular, we will look to obtain greater flexibility for self-service ordering.
  • We will ensure the infrastructure for the new ERP system is prepared.
  • A new agreement for supply of PCs has been agreed.
  • The local services will be included in the service catalogue.
  • We will commence work on availability, capacity, event, and demand management processes.

Supporting Education and Research

  • We will promote and evaluate the changes in the fEC tool to increase identification of IT needs in research bids.
  • The agreement with Chemistry on deployment of support will be monitored and reviewed to ensure it is working effectively.
  • A review of IT provision in relation to education is to be undertaken, to be led by the Academic Registrar and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education). A report will be produced for review by the University IT Committee and the Education Committee. The purpose of the review will be to gather feedback from academic staff, students and professional staff . The Review will seek to identify: core, fundamental provision necessary to underpin teaching and learning for all; and areas where the use of technology may add value, whether universally or in specific disciplines. Whilst the primary focus will be on IT as a contributor to teaching and learning, the corporate systems that manage educational activity will also be considered. Care will be taken to ensure that this review is complementary with and does not duplicate work being undertaken in the Student Lifecycle Support Programme. The outcomes of the review will inform the new IT Strategy, the developing provision of IT Services and will also help to shape development of new or re-focussed professional support structures for Education.

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  • Spam filtering service Postini to close on 5th Januaryemail sign

For some time the University has used a service called Postini as an additional layer of protection to filter spam email messages coming into the University for staff. The service is coming to an end and will be closed on 5th January 2015. The Google spam filtering that will remain in place is very good and it is unlikely that staff will see an increase of spam in their inbox.

However, if you do spot spam emails in your inbox please use the 'Report spam' option in Gmail. View the email in Gmail and you will see a button at the top with an exclamation mark in it. If you hover over it it says 'Report spam'. Click that button and the email will be marked as spam. As Google 'learns' this it will apply the rule across the University, helping to prevent similar messages getting through.

Staff are reminded to be vigilant in regard to phishing emails. Spam emails that attempt to capture personal information such a usernames and passwords. Please refer to the advice on the Information Security website.

Sympa mailing lists

Sympa mailing list administrators are advised to check the list configuration Sending/reception options. Setting the Sending/reception option to public could result in increased spam messages being sent to the list. Where appropriate we would recommend setting the permissions to send to the mailing list to moderated or restricted to subscribers.

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  • Dell - new hardware supplier from January 2015laptop

We are pleased to announce that, from January 2015, we will be working in partnership with Dell as our main supplier of desktops, laptops, tablets and servers.

Dell went through a competitive process and scored highly in all areas. Both with IT Services and members of the Research IT Executive who reviewed bids and attended presentations.

We want to acknowledge many productive years working with Viglen. However, it was clear that Dell offered clear advantages in terms of price, product range and support. In particular, Dell's advantage in logistics and range of delivery options was very attractive.

We believe we can work well with Dell on a process of continuous improvement to:

  • shorten the order to delivery process
  • reduce component failures and ensure rapid fix when required
  • have available a better range of product options
  • provide better advice and price on specialist equipment

Dell offer an excellent TechSupport web tool by which we can diagnose faults and arrange next-day on site engineer support from a team of 50+ Dell engineers based in Bristol  

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  • Wimba Create replacement

Blackboard will terminate support for Wimba Create on 31 December 2014. While this will not immediately affect users of Wimba - because online tutorials produced using the software will continue to work there are longer term implications of sticking with Wimba Create.

The Wimba Create Replacement Project recommends the use of eLearning XHTML Editor (eXe) as a replacement product. The tool is available for all staff to install and use on any University pc via the Software Center.

In parallel, work is now underway to scope the second authoring tool solution Xerte.

For more information on this change visit:

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  • AskIT to close

AskIT was introduced several years ago to help with queries with mobile and personally-owned IT equipment. It was set up with the idea that staff and students could help each other by sharing solutions. However, increasing central support provided by the IT Services Desk, the Student Laptop and Mobile Clinic and the Staff Mobile Device Clinic have removed the need for the AskIT tool. Over the past few years it has seen limited use and many of the queries posted have been redirected to the Service Desk.

Therefore, on 19 December the AskIT service will be closed.

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  • Contacting IT Services and self-service formsself-service badge

The Service Desk is the single point of contact to raise issue or request services from IT Services. By contacting the Service Desk, requests can be logged and tracked and dealt with by the most appropriate team.

For details of the contact details

In addition, to contacting the Service Desk the system also allows you to submit requests for specific actions via self-service forms, which ensure efficient delivery to the relevant team.



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  • download imageSoftware self service

The Software Center [sic] allows staff and postgraduate researchers to find and install software available to them on their University Windows computers.



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  • Out and about

Congratulations to Bob Berrow, Zone D Team leader, who recently won an award for most foot journeys in the October Big Uni Travel Challenge. This award demonstrates that zone team leaders are out and about talking to colleagues to make sure IT Services meets the needs of staff!

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Upcoming maintenanceServer maintenance


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News and contacting IT ServicesNewspapers

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