UniDesk recognises a decade of providing shared information technology services across Higher Education
UniDesk, the shared service management solution, celebrates its tenth anniversary this Wednesday November 18th, 2020. Delivered in partnership with TOPdesk software, UniDesk offers streamlined service management across the higher education sector.
Founded in 2010 by University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews and Abertay University, the UniDesk solution incorporates information technology (IT) processes, guidance and support tailored to further and higher education. Its members collaborate to share costs, administrative knowledge and best practices with one another.
Service Owners Dawn Dodd and Catherine Hetherington are proud to be a part of the UniDesk community, helping to shape its future. “Higher Education needs are more complex than logging calls just for an IT function. Our service is used by different groups across the institutions and we need to ensure that UniDesk evolves to meet the needs of an ever changing and expanding community. UniDesk is scalable which is vital for our large operator base and even larger user base,” said Dawn.
In the past ten years UniDesk has grown its user community to 11 member institutions with almost 969,000 registered users and over 1.4 million calls logged collectively in 2019-2020. In recent years, the membership began hosting annual in-person conferences, pre-conference socials and forums as an opportunity to share their UniDesk experiences, continually improve the service and connect as a community.
To further enhance the partnership, UniDesk also launched the UniDesk Share space for members to support one another and share resources. The Microsoft Teams site includes a repository of videos, start-up guides and quick reference documents for members to rebrand and use in their local settings.
“It feels the UniDesk community has really moved forward in the past 2 years since we joined and there have been some rapid developments. The launch of UniDesk Share to encourage collaborative discussions on common problems has been a very positive step forward,” said Mike Burns, Learning and Information Services Manager at University of Highlands and Islands. “The conferences have been useful to bring teams together and put faces to names, especially for the institutions we work with outside of Scotland.”
Underpinning UniDesk’s continued success is the ethos of sharing and collaboration as part of the solution developed for Education by Education. Members often request advice from other members with years of experience as they develop in their service management journey. UniDesk also benefits from regular support and knowledge shared by an experienced team of dedicated University of Edinburgh staff. Additionally, each of the member institutions is given a seat on the UniDesk governance board and is involved in the future direction of the solution.
“UniDesk for us was ultimately a very neat solution in procuring a compliant system for our needs in a relatively short space of time, but also in the full knowledge that the wealth of experience and skills behind the product would provide us with continued ongoing support. Utilising the experience of the other institutions has led to some great collaborative working and new relationships which have proved fruitful,” said Mike.
UniDesk remains committed to growing and evolving with user needs and a changing education environment. UniDesk has recently moved to TOPdesk’s software as a service (SaaS), enabling Chat functionality and opportunities for improved Asset Management. Looking ahead to the future, UniDesk aims to ensure continuous service improvement through streamlined upgrades, provision of the API and improving overall resilience for the service.
“The move to TOPdesk SaaS will help us on our continual service improvement path. Our membership can look forward to seeing new features as we develop the service for the future,” said Catherine.
UniDesk’s current member institutions include: University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews, Abertay University, Sheffield Hallam University, Ulster University, University of Stirling, Edinburgh Napier University, Durham University, University of the Highlands and Islands, Royal College of Art and University of Malta.