Information Services

UniDesk optimisation to improve and simplify service completed

A project to optimise the shared service management tool UniDesk has been completed and closed after meeting its key objectives.

Longstanding enhancements, developments and removal of dependencies have been carried out on elements of UniDesk software, improving and simplifying the service’s infrastructure.

UniDesk logo

The changes follow the recent successful migration of the 11 UniDesk member universities to TOPdesk’s SaaS service management software platform.

However, this migration did not involve local integrations, which continued to be managed and hosted on University of Edinburgh (UoE) infrastructure – a move partially intended to reduce risk to UniDesk service’s business continuity.

A follow-on project was then undertaken to simplify the remaining parts of UniDesk owned by the UoE, which included Quick Calls and data imports.

The project has also removed reliance on certain versions of software, known as dependencies, which previously prevented straightforward decommissioning of remaining UniDesk infrastructure.

Additionally, several enhancements to Quick Calls – an interface enabling face-to-face support interactions – requested by UniDesk members, were delivered. 

In consultation with TOPdesk, the project also developed a solution based on Azure AD, Microsoft’s enterprise cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solution, for UniDesk members to use to manage person imports.

An alternative, secure file transfer protocol (FTP) solution, based on a system known as Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV), was further developed for those UniDesk members unable to go the Azure route.

This ensured successful coordination of the migration of each UniDesk member's person imports.

Moreover, the project enabled the decommissioning of Edinburgh-based infrastructure, including application and database servers, associated with the UniDesk National Service.

All of this was achieved with a small core project team and limited wider group to make best use of the project budget.

Excellent collaboration between the UniDesk team, Software Development and Applications Management ensured the Quick Calls deployment process went well, and with minimal impact on services.

At the UniDesk Board Meeting in January, Mark Ritchie praised the efforts of the project team:

“Colin and his project team worked hard to meet the deadline of delivering the Optimising UniDesk Infrastructure Project by the end of January. Thanks also go to the UniDesk Board Members who prioritised the move to Azure or WebDav for their institutions ensuring the project’s success.”