Writtle College

About

Established in 1893, Writtle College is one of the oldest specialist institutions in the UK and offers a range of land-based, design and sport courses at various levels of academic study including Postgraduate, Undergraduate, Further Education, Short Courses and Apprenticeships.

The unique facilities and resources, based on a picturesque 220 hectare campus, are used to enhance the learning experience, enabling students to gain both theory and practical skills whilst studying.

 

Challenge

The critical challenges for Writtle College were:

  1. Local power cuts causing interruptions to email services
  2. Unsupported MS Exchange 2003 platform, with 5,500 account users
  3. Their email system had no mobile phone platform
  4. Increasing costs for IT management and infrastructure

 

Writtle College wanted to remove the headache and day-to-day management of MS Exchange on the College IT team and reduce the burden of email service on their IT infrastructure. The College desired to address all of these issues with an upgrade to a fully resilient platform and placing email services outside the college.

 

Solution

The solution created for Writtle College included:

  1. Microsoft Active Directory remediation
  2. Microsoft Office 365
  3. Microsoft PowerShell MIS integration script for new user creation
  4. Microsoft PowerShell script to manage license allocation
  5. SP CONSULT – Technical consultancy and strategic advice

 

During the initial planning phase, System Professional helped Writtle remove around 1,500 lapsed and unused accounts. The College have deployed the MS Office 365 A2S / A2F (Student/Faculty) platform for up to 5,000 students and 500 staff, along with new custom scripts that automatically on-board students.

Maintaining the correct number of current user licenses is key, as they don’t want to incur unnecessary costs for unused MS Office 365 mailboxes. Therefore, an additional alert script was created for newly created users at enrolment, which has made the transition to MS Office 365 much easier.

 

Result

System Professional’s solution helped Writtle College with:

  1. Increased email availability for staff communications
  2. Greater resilience against local power issues
  3. Reduced IT footprint
  4. Ease of managing new and lapsed user accounts
  5. Decreased administration overhead

 

“Our migration to MS Office 365 has been a resounding success. Even if we suffer a power cut onsite, email is still available. Students could still access email when the entire eastern region suffered a major JANET outage recently. As usual, the System Professional technical team handled the design, planning and deployment very well. We work collaboratively and I really like the blend of skills and flexibility across their entire technical team. Ultimately, the quality of their proposal and technical design of their solution really stood out from the crowd.”

Mike Coe, Writtle College IS&T Manager

 

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