Case StudyBRUNEL UNIVERSITY
A large-scale shift to Microsoft’s modern workspace was required to enable the university to maintain its position at the top-end of the education sector.
How We Helped a Top London University to deliver a rapid Evergreen transformation
Brunel University London is a public research university located in Uxbridge, west London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1966 and named after the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The technology-focused university is renowned for its education and research, and its spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. It provides outstanding sports facilities, easy access to central London, and a friendly, vibrant and strikingly international community. The university employs 4,000 staff, 1,000 affiliates and teaches 15,000 students. It is ranked as one of the top 400 universities in the world. It won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011.
– Carolyn Thomas, Client Computing Coordination Manager
The students and staff depend heavily on technology to provide access to productive and secure systems for both teaching and learning. The requirements of each set of users varies significantly; staff typically use a single device with bespoke software installed, whereas students receive a standard set of software. Staff are long-term employees, where students stay for three years typically. Maintaining and upgrading this mixed environment requires careful planning and execution.
Fleet of 6,200 devices running an outdated operating system and outdated productivity tools such as Office
- OS updates were not being managed efficiently, causing security concerns
- Diverse number of laptop makes/models; creating a unified build proved very difficult without a management tool
- Information about users, locations, departments, devices and application usage exists, but is stored in multiple systems, No single-pane-of-glass view available
This lead to a lot of challenges maintaining a supported Windows estate and keeping software titles up to date with latest patches and versions.
- Application installs were difficult to automate, leading to unmanaged, unpatched applications
- Multiple web browsers with multiple versions causing security concerns
Upgrade 6,200 devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10
- Upgrade all devices to Office 365
- Rationalise many other software titles to a single version
- The establishment of a university-owned managed laptop fleet
- The creation of a software packaging lab with full workflow and audit
- Application packaging of relevant software and the discontinuation of duplicate and redundant software
- Continued rollout of hardware encryption where appropriate
Once the existing fleet had been migrated to Microsoft’s “modern workspace” it was important for the university to implement a managed Evergreen Servicing Model. Key requirements:
- Centralised portal for understanding current status of systems including full hardware inventory, OS build version info, software inventory and usage metrics OS update and software update suitability assessment; device compatibility assessment; deployment ring creation and management
- Controlled auto-deployments of OS and software updates
- Reporting on success outcome
ManagementStudio was selected as the solution of choice for the following reasons:
- The system takes a daily feed from various data sources (Active Directory, SCCM etc.) to present a unified view of the estate without the need to rollout new client software.
- The solution provides a project planning portal with effort optimisation, saving time and money on preparing for system upgrades and Evergreen updates.
- Further time and effort savings possible through automated email communications and auto-deployed OS upgrades and updates, triggered through the user self-service portal
- AppTracker (included as part of ManagementStudio) assists with build management, application discovery, rationalisation and testing, allowing the team to adopt SCCM, create a unified build, encrypt the data, utilise TPM PINs and reduce the estate’s total cost of ownership
- The software’s web-based interface provides high-level dashboards for the stake holders and granular lower-level reports where needed, showing progress, success rates and ad-hoc data queries
- 16,000 applications and plugins rationalised down to 430
- All but 10 devices migrated successfully to Windows 10 (these devices required an older OS due to legacy software)
- 400 applications packaged and tested successfully using AppTracker’s workflow feature (only 70 manual installs are required)
- A unified build with full encryption for desktops and laptops has been achieved
- ManagementStudio’s User Surveys assisted in validating application requirements and the scheduling of the deployments
- Evergreen Management Model now in place to assist with the smooth deployments of updates
- Total Cost of Ownership significantly reduced though workflow and automation
“We couldn’t have completed the project without ManagementStudio.”
Carolyn Thomas, Client Computing Coordination Manager