Autumn 2019 News Archive

Latest News

In this issue….

As we say goodbye to long summer days and hello to autumn we wanted to bring you up to date with service highlights from the last few months.
We take a look at the progress with plans to migrate and update our service, learn about the success of the Self Service Portal at UHI following their launch and reminisce about our recent family gathering in the Highlands.

And we have exciting news…..our service continues to grow with the addition of a new international member to our UniDesk family.

Finally we would like to wish our members a successful (and major incident free!) start of term.

Dawn Dodd and Catherine Hetherington
Service Owners of UniDesk

UHI Goes Live

Following a successful on boarding project, The University of the Highlands and Islands became our 9th shared service member, went live with UniDesk in June.

From the outset utilising the benefits that UniDesk’s Self Service Portal offered was a key objective for the team at UHI. Previously self service tickets accounted for only 2% of their ITSM volumes. Since the launch in June engagement with the newly launched UniDesk portal has remained strong with 50% of all calls logged initiated via self-service. The conversion rate of visits to the SSP to raising an incident is also sticking at over 50%. Impressive figures that are translating into benefits for the IS Team and the University as Mike Burns, Customer Service Manager describes….

UniDesk has allowed us to turn our support model upside down across the whole UHI partnership. The user feedback has been beyond our expectations and the change is leading to some radical rethinking amongst support departments in UHI who have never even contemplated joining into a Service Management culture or tool set before

UniDesk Our International Service

We are delighted to announce that L-Universita ta Malta recently became our 11th service member and following an ambitious project timeline successfully went live with UniDesk in August.

Lying at the cross-roads of the Mediterranean the University of Malta with its 400-year history is the hub for international academic exchange on the island. Besides the main campus, situated at Msida, there are three other campuses: Valletta, Marsaxlokk, Gozo which serve in excess of 11,500 students following full-time or part-time degrees and diploma courses.

James Cilia, Head of User Services , University of Malta explained why they chose UniDesk:

We were particularly excited to join UniDesk because of its focus on the University environment. Having the opportunity to share best practices and learn within a community of member Universities was also important for us

This is an exciting time for our service and we are pleased that the quality and reputation of our shared service management solution is being recognised beyond the UK education sector. We look forward to working with University of Malta and welcoming them into our UniDesk family.

Annual UniDesk Conference 10th – 11th June 2019

This year we travelled to Inverness for our 4th Annual UniDesk Conference which was held in conjunction with one of our newest members, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). The conference took place on the 11th of June at the Centre for Health Science.
The conference included informative presentations from our community members, a guest speaker from ITSM Zone who provided an excellent insight into the changes ITIL4 will bring and our technology partner TOPdesk presented on the exciting new developments from the TOPdesk roadmap.

We welcomed our delegates, in true Highland style, to our wonderful pre-conference entertainment on the evening of the 10th of June. The event is always a great opportunity to share member experiences within HE with the wider UniDesk community. Our evening kicked off with a drinks and nibbles reception at Inverness Marina before we set sail on the scenic Moray Firth for some local sea life spotting! And our trip did not disappoint with dolphins spotted off the Black Isle. Our Highland cruise was followed by evening dining in one of Inverness’s most picturesque riverside locations.

We made good use of Twitter account during the event. Interested in having a look at what we got up to then take a look our conference social board

UniDesk Share Pilot

One of the many benefits of being part of the UniDesk Service is our unique UniDesk Family and the vast amount of service management knowledge and experience that exists within our community. There is also a willingness amongst our members to share experiences and resources and help to support each other.

To facilitate communication and sharing we have decided to pilot a Microsoft Teams space to support the work of the UniDesk Process Managers at each member institution. The space, called UniDesk Share, launched in early July and the pilot will run until the end of the year.

Our hopes for the Share space is that it will help to enhance collaboration and further develop our community support network.

UniDesk Share Logo

Board Update

It was nearly a full house for the Board meeting in August with members attending both in person and over Skype and several institutions represented in person for the first time.
The highlights from this meeting included:

  • UniDesk Platform Development – A User Group (PUG) consisting of representatives from the UniDesk community was formed in May. Their remit was to agree a set of requirements for moving the UniDesk national service to SaaS. Members will also be provided with costed options for any additional functionality that they have expressed an interest in
  • Authentication – As we are seeing wider use of Google G Suite for authentication within the higher and further education sectors, the Board agreed to include G Suite as the third standard authentication method in addition to Shibboleth and Azure
  • UniDesk Annual Conference – The Board commented on the success of the recent conference which was very well attended by the UniDesk members. The board thanked UHI for both its support and financial contribution to the event. The next conference, which will be the 10th anniversary of UniDesk, will be held in Edinburgh in October or November 2020
If there is anything you’d like the board to consider please contact your local board representative or email Dawn and Catherine in time for the next Board meeting which will be held on the 11th of December.

         Mark Ritchie, Chair UniDesk Board


UniDesk Award Success

Earlier this summer UniDesk was represented at the UCISA Support Services Conference held in Leeds.  Catherine gave a talk as part of the ‘Let the Delegates Speak’ session which this year was themed ‘Celebrate Success’. ​

The presentation was entitled “Celebrating Collaboration” and showcased how UniDesk’s collaborative ethos and community focus contributes to the ongoing success of the shared service. ​

The UniDesk promotional video was included as part of the presentation which was dedicated to our colleague and friend Paul Smith. ​

The session was extremely well received by the delegates and was awarded the ‘Best Delegate Speaker’ conference award.