University of Wolverhampton

, Jul 11, 2019

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Industry:              Education

Solution:              Hybrid IT

Partner:                HP and VMWare

A digital campus driving innovation and opportunity

The challenge

The University had come to rely on a legacy IT service environment designed for robustness and minimal intervention. Whilst this delivered stability, its lack of agility meant academic support staff found it increasingly costly and complex to keep pace with rising application performance demands and were unable to adequately respond to dynamic service requests.

UoW resolved to undertake an IT transformation project that would enable it not only to meet current needs but also to provide a platform for future digital innovation by developing a new digital infrastructure to improve the learning experience across all sites, 24/7, to transform the way technology is used for learning, teaching and day-to-day business.

“Our vision was to create a digital campus of equal importance to our physical campus. This would enable the University to meet its objectives for academic excellence by aligning people, processes and systems,” said Fiona Parsons, Director of Academic Support.

The solution

The UoW team wanted the selected solution to become an enabling platform for their students, rather than just a technology refresh, so they embarked on a £30m Digital Campus Programme. This business transformation strategy was designed to give students, staff and the wider community access to the tools and information they need at any time, regardless of format or device.

Following a rigorous assessment, Logicalis was selected to provide a Hybrid IT platform, architected using Hewlett Packard Enterprise and VMware technologies. This consisted of a five-layer Software Defined stack blending infrastructure, virtualisation, automation, cloud integration and instrumentation.

“The Digital Platform Project was the cornerstone of our transformation. Only with this in place could all other elements of the Digital Campus Programme be implemented. So, we identified a range of potential providers, then followed an open OJEU process to evaluate the competing approaches.”

The benefits

Since implementing the Logicalis solution, UoW has been able to automate the provisioning, control and management of their IT services, speeding up deployment whilst simultaneously reducing costs. The Directorate of Academic Support’s focus has successfully shifted away from operational fix to policy-driven decision-making.

“Since the deployment, our relationship with the team at Logicalis has continued to strengthen, moving far beyond that of client and supplier. Their utter focus on delivering the project and their complete support since has made it feel like a true collaboration”

So far, the Digital Campus Programme — which the Digital Platform supports — has resulted in a number of benefits for the University’s community. Savings of £33,000 have been made by retiring unused applications and transitioning from legacy systems and an 83% reduction in the cost of creating and operating a virtualised server has been achieved.

There have also been unexpected benefits; for example, the University has been able to reduce the number of physical systems that they operate, leading to not only improved resilience but decreased heat output, which has reduced air conditioning costs.

“As well as increasing flexibility and connectivity for both our staff and students the platform is supporting our digital capabilities project, which is designed to provide our students with the facilities to develop new skills in IT. It also played a vital role when we invested in our new Springfield campus last year. The site — a Grade II listed former brewery — is now hosting a number of construction and architecture courses, marrying a historic building, a somewhat traditional trade and cutting-edge digital modelling technology.”

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