Buckinghamshire New University has enjoyed a long and successful history since it was founded in 1893. The University now offers an extensive portfolio of courses spanning the creative and cultural industries, the management and information management sectors, and the public sector. It also offers services to industry including contract research, consultancy and the opportunity to employ graduates.

The Challenge

A key part of the experience Bucks New University provides for its students is centred around a quality IT service. Having invested significantly in a comprehensive Cisco infrastructure, the University has always been keen to maximise on its value and efficiency. Many areas of the infrastructure however were under-utilised, yet carrying a costly existing support overhead. The infrastructure itself was also approaching several refresh milestones and so Bucks New University took the decision to review both its support and value model.

The underlying drivers for Bucks New University were to find a more consultative IT partner, able to support its existing infrastructure, help rationalise the IT estate and identify a better, more creative support model, in line with the University’s aspirations. Complementing this, the University needed a clearer technology roadmap that embodied many of the unique aspects of the University’s student experience.

Like many similar institutes, the existing support model offered many features and services, yet most were either not required or did not live up to expectations meaning unjustified costs with little realised value.

The Solution

“We began looking at the potential of virtualising our core services, and quickly discovered that not only would it help centralise and better manage our IT estate, it would also mean that our existing equipment could be re-purposed and perform faster, delivering a more efficient, and in many situations, mobile experience. Likewise, we finally felt that we had a solution to removing the end-user log-on, password and compliance concerns helping us to lower risk and improve quality.”

“Through a competitive tender process, we selected Block as our solution provider. Having worked with them before, we had confidence in their understanding of our needs and approach to healthcare project delivery. They demonstrated a high level of expertise and know- how of what would be required to succeed.”

“With the decision made to convert the IT estate to a virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI), the project needed delivering within a tight timescale to remain in-line with the EPR project. Taking a phased approach, the partnership with Block has enabled us to stick within timescales, whilst dealing with the usual bumps in the road that such large projects often experience.”

Re-using both existing PC’s and thin client terminals, this complex project has seen a range of technologies and services come together to create a more compliant, faster and better result.

“We’ve worked with a number of vendors and services on this project; Cisco, VMware, IGEL, Imprivata, Isosec and Block. The solution covered every aspect from the back-office to the end-user, comprising not only the devices at the desk, but also software, infrastructure and management elements.”

The Outcomes

One of the most immediate benefits was the University’s ability to implement several ‘quick fixes’ that improved service without adding to cost. This included improving the wireless estate to deliver more with less and identify redundant and unnecessary components in the existing network.

Providing a range of useful and functional services, the University now has a partner that can quickly overlay skills to its IT team and students when needed, offering skills extension, knowledge transfer and mentoring support.

The University has now found a partner that understands its needs and invests in the relational aspects of the partnership. This brings better internal relations plus the ability to help and innovate in new ways as the student experience matures and takes new directions.

  • Block went beyond anything we’d experienced in the past with our previous support provider.

    Jenny Horwood, IT Network Manager
  • We hadn’t heard of Block before we went to tender, however their response and approach made us quickly realise that we had found a partner that was different from the rest. They listened, consulted and did what was right for our business.

    Jenny Horwood, IT Network Manager