A Happy New Year to all staff and students at RGU! This is the first IT blog entry for 2013 – a good chance to have a quick look ahead as we enter the new year. I have been blogging on some of these topics already through 2012, so hopefully none of this should come as a surprise. We are now, however, just entering the period when our key changes are going to start to be implemented at some scale having completed the preparation in 2012. Today I’d like to focus on 4 areas – the “MyApps” service, Staff Portal, Telephony and our preparation for the move into the new Masterplan building.
MyApps is the service that we will use to allow staff and students to access these applications and services not just from University computers, but from any device, wherever they are – part of our approach to embracing “the personal environment”. It’s now ready to roll, and we will be starting with users in Pharmacy and Life Sciences as well as some selected areas in student IT Labs and the Library. We will start to replace traditional desktop PC’s in these areas with new low energy terminals. What will it look like? It will look and feel like a Windows 7 workstation – and as a bonus you will be able to access your applications from home and on the move. Office 2010 is also going to be launched through the MyApps service first and that will be coming shortly.
The Portal was due to be launched to staff in December, but we held back because of the air conditioning incidents in our server rooms. It’s ready to roll too so expect that launch soon. Initially, the Portal will be an information environment for staff, replacing for example the old Intranet, but we did also say that one of our priorities in 2013 would be to “e-enable” key University processes. As part of that I am pleased to say that we ran a “Lean Kaizen” event in December with a small team drawn from around the University to look at redesigning our business travel processes (currently centred around the “ABS” form). They’ve made some good recommendations and I’ll tell you more about them once we’ve agreed the way forward.
The project to implement the new telephony system is well advanced, and all staff who used to have an old analogue phone should now have a new IP phone and be connected to the new phone system. IT Services have a bit more work to do behind the scenes to complete the installation and remove old kit. The new system is more than a phone system – there are other new communication features that we will want to look at during 2013 but the first step was to complete the migration of phones. I’ll say more about starting to use the new features in a few months once we are ready.
Finally, we are gearing up for the commissioning of the new Masterplan building. All the IT network equipment needs to be procured, along with audio visual equipment and electronic signage and this will all need to be configured, installed and tested in time for occupancy of the building. Work to prepare the specifications and procurement documents is well under way and this will understandably be occupying a lot of time within IT Services over the next few months.