Working with a globally recognised university, with an international presence in Paris, Malta, China and Singapore, in addition to its five London campuses.
As a leading research-intensive university, effective collaboration, communication and document management are all vital to maintaining their stellar reputation.
Like many organisations, the university had disparate storage solutions spread across their IT environment and beyond. A particular challenge was the widespread use of unauthorised sharing tools, often using personal accounts, that exposed the university to GDPR risk and an unknown cost as individuals often claimed the cost of these services via business expenses.
The first challenge was to deliver standardised data storage in ‘the cloud’, removing all unauthorised and unmanaged data whilst ensuring that staff and students remained able to collaborate internally and externally.
A second phase improved communication and real-time collaboration by unlocking the potential of Microsoft Teams and related applications.
FSP interviewed users at all levels and in all areas of the university to ensure an understanding of the real-life challenges encountered. This research allowed new technology to be clearly defined as delivering both organisational and personal impact to users. As a result, administrators, academics and support staff all understood the reasons for the changes and the specific benefits to them.
Integrated communication, training and action plans initially required 100% face-to-face training sessions – expected in a culture that centred around traditional university-style lectures. However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that adjustment was required and the delivery was adapted to support employees with:
- Live, virtual training for 1,100 users and administrators
- On-demand bite-size videos
- Gurus – trained and supported by FSP, acting as a first point of contact
- Weekly ‘Ask any question’ drop-in sessions facilitated by FSP experts
- Weekly ‘hop topic’ workshops (topics voted for by users)
- Quick reference guides covering the things everyone should know
- FAQs and Manuals for those who preferred a little more detail
As many trainees were leading academics and experts in their own fields, the university rightly had high standards for those delivering the training. FSP were able to deploy expert trainers ensuring that any questions outside of the core content could be answered in real time rather than waiting for follow-up responses.
The transformation underpinned a vast reduction in the use of unauthorised software and a corresponding improvement in GDPR compliance. Costs were reduced when unauthorised software was no longer ‘expensed’ and the exiting investment in M365 licenses was maximized as more and more functionality was adopted. In addition:
- All core goals “Store/Share/Communicate/Collaborate” were met or exceeded
- Users reported feeling highly supported with little or no impact on continuity of their output
- Demand on the IT helpdesk dropped as, initially, the ‘gurus’ and ‘Ask Any Question’ drop-in calls provided support and, latterly, the streamlining of technology along with the use of MS Teams for collaboration meant colleagues were able to provide peer to peer support quickly and easily.