Macquarie University (MQU) has a devolved desktop support environment, with its fleet of 11,800 devices managed separately by its Faculties and administrative offices.
Previously it operated several disparate solutions that had little integration with the University’s central IT Service Management (ITSM) system. A project was initiated to streamline the management of MQU’s end-user computing and software environment to improve the staff and student experience, and reduce the risks of auditing penalties.
Sydney’s Macquarie University, with 40,000 students and 3,000 academic and professional staff, holds five stars in the prestigious QS Stars rating system for high performance research, learning and teaching, graduate employability and facilities. Its campus is in one of the largest business and technology precincts in the southern hemisphere, creating a hub of innovation excellence.
MQU’s Central IT manages the IT support for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences as well as the majority of University administrative areas such as HR, Marketing, Student Services and the Office of the Vice Chancellor. It had limited visibility into the hardware and software assets across the other Faculties in the University however, where much of the deployment of software and patches was manual, and reporting capabilities limited. The complex support network of IT teams linked to each Faculty were operating an array of different toolsets and processes.
The MDD project team was set up to develop a common, centralised device management platform for the range of Windows 7/8/10, macOS, and iOS, Android, Windows Mobile devices in the campus-wide fleet.
CompNow’s winning tender response encompassed the design of a sophisticated new toolset-driven solution to simplify and consolidate MQU’s environment. It included AirWatch for mobile device management, JAMF Pro and Mondada software packaging for macOS, and SCCM for Windows. CompNow would complete the toolset integration with the ServiceNow ITSM, as well as the project management, change management and implementation. It was to deliver extensive technical training to the Central IT team and devolved IT teams who would be managing the solution from go live. And Level 3 and configuration support under an ongoing managed service agreement was also included.
The eight month project involved a planned program of resourcing, design approvals, the building of the new environment and prototyping, through to piloting and responding to Faculty feedback, before the completed release of the new toolsets.
CompNow’s successful integration of the toolset with ServiceNow created a workflow from application request to installation on the devices. It provides full transparency and reporting of the entire transaction within a single configuration management database (CMDB), including the vital automatic updating of the licensing inventory.
The University took an opt-in approach to Faculty participation, under which each maintains control over their devices. And their IT teams, assisted by the new automated software and policy deployment capabilities, are accountable for enrolling and managing devices as well as the change management associated with their end-user adoption.
As part of the project, Central IT brought Microsoft in to carry out an assessment and John Mannix, Macquarie University’s Senior Project Manager, Managed Desktop Devices (MDD) Project says the project was given “a clean bill of health”.
“Having CompNow’s technical resources with us has been great. Their team understands the nature of university environments and worked really well with our people to get them started on this change program.”
The process of licence pool optimisation, and automatic recovery of licences when an employee leaves or if software has not be used for a set period, is designed to reduce the costs of annual software licensing and maintenance.
With the new software metering, MQU now understands its install volumes and can report directly against those. “Licencing compliance was an issue because we couldn’t prove numbers and had to pay vendors what they believed we had installed. Now we have hard evidence of what is used across the campus and that will save us time and money into the future,” John says.
With automated access to required University software, and faster installation of new computers or issues resolution for existing computers, IT staff across MQU’s campus are now freed to be more proactive. “Because we have a good view into our hardware and software, we’re better placed to identify problems before they surface. We know what our patch levels are and can push fixes to vulnerable devices. We can automatically see when a user’s disk space is filling up, and generate a ticket for techs to go and clean it up, or place an order a new machine or storage,” he says.
If a device is lost or stolen, corporate and personal information can be secured and retrieved from all devices.
This project is the catalyst for ongoing enablement and BYOD. John sees the toolset rollout as the first in an evolutionary path where: “The Faculty teams will find multiple ways to leverage these products.”