What is UniDesk?

UniDesk is an ITIL based Service Improvement solution specifically designed for Higher and Further Education which is based on the TOPdesk software. Implementation of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Framework via UniDesk aims to harmonise and improve service processes, and ultimately lead to a more mature and business focussed management of services. The UniDesk membership is based on mutual trust and support, is a not-for-profit arrangement and is not provided to any member institution on a commercial basis. Being a UniDesk member institution has significant value, from shared best practice based on ITIL standards, to community-driven changes to functionality. The UniDesk service is supported and managed by HEFESTIS for all members.




UniDesk Package

The value realised by our members from being part of the UniDesk service is much greater than the functionality delivered from the modules on offer. As a managed service we provide the ITIL-aligned processes for the core modules and a streamlined implementation process. The underlying service management software for UniDesk is TOPdeskTOPdesk have been developing service management software for over 30 years , value the UniDesk partnership and our members benefit from premium support.

Our package also includes Quick Calls, an interface unique to UniDesk, designed to capture face to face support interactions quickly and simply.

Our processes have been developed for the education sector by those that work and understand education and that makes our tool and service unique. The commonality in the processes and customisations used across our member institutions is one of our main strengths as a service.

Our members have access to consultancy and support services during the planning and rollout stages when they join UniDesk but also beyond. We provide access to support and training materials, advice on implementation, pre-launch training and support on the day of the launch itself.

The service is available on a 24/7 basis and is designed for an availability of 99.9%, and our members benefit from Continual Service Support throughout their membership.


UniDesk Story

Ancient history diagram from Presentation delivered in 2013
Simon Marsden (Deputy CIO, University of Edinburgh) @ UCISA 2013

The innovative concept of a shared service management solution for Education came about in 2008. Two of the founding members, the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews had been using an in-built tool (CMS) to log calls. This was coming to the end of life. At the same time ITIL awareness was on the increase together with the idea of collaborating to create shared services along the lines of Jisc and Janet.

With the addition of a third member, Abertay University, the journey had begun to create a shared service management solution which was to be named UniDesk.

It all started with a shared procurement and the implementation of cloud software as a service delivery model. It developed a community of best practice and offered to extend the service to other higher/further education institutions. 

A shared service for Education by Education was born.

Some years later… UniDesk has grown from strength to strength. The service now has 12 academic members of varying sizes with each institution bringing something new to improve the service. UniDesk is now endorsed and promoted as a shared service through UCSS simplifying procurement paths for membership. And we have grown the UniDesk offering through improved communication including a rebranding exercise, member sharing and transparent governance. 

Former UniDesk logo
Previous Logo

UniDesk Ethos

Right from the outset of the inception of this shared service, there has been the commitment to sharing resources across our membership. This has been fundamental to the success of the shared service within our sector. Our members can and do request advice from a membership with years of experience no matter where they are on their service management journey.

The UniDesk team have a wealth of service management experience – in fact over 50 combined years across financial, commercial and education sectors. All of which has led to an improved service offering.

We truly believe that UniDesk is the pathway to effective service management… for Education by Education.

Pathway to effective service management diagram