IT update, May 2017

Over the next few months we will be making some changes to the devices and applications deployed to users.

Replacement laptops

Following a procurement exercise involving service representatives we have chosen the HP Elitebook 840 G4 i5 to replace our aged stock of laptops. As well as being lighter, with improved screen resolution and battery life and additional features such as a webcam, the new laptops will be built with a browser client on the device itself. This will mean that, once registered the laptop will be more versatile and allow connection to the internet from public hotspots, for example at conference centres.

We have made some changes to the way users log in to their devices. Currently users require a checkpoint password, to log into the device itself, and then a second windows password, to log in to their VDI account. With the new laptops, users will be required to log in through checkpoint (using their existing password) and then click on the Horizon View icon to access their VDI account (without the need for the Windows password)

Remote access will still require the dual factor authentication using the RSA tokens. Over the summer we will be introducing “software” tokens as an alternative to the current hardware RSA token fobs. The software tokens send the passcode to an App on users’ smartphones. Those without smartphones will be provided with a replacement hardware token. We will provide further information about this closer to the time.

We are not making any changes to users with desktop PCs. That said, where required, desktop PCs can be replaced with a new laptops.

Once logged in to your device, your VDI account and applications will be available as now.

As part of the deployment we will also be replacing the desk laptop docking stations. As now, this allows users to dock their laptops and make use of free-standing screens, keyboards and mice.

I would like to thank the ICT service “champions” who have been working on the laptop replacement with us. They include:

  • Harmeet Gill, HR, ICT & Shared Support Services (plus Chief Executives)
  • Pamela Wharton, Finance & Commercial and Estates
  • Neil Stannett, Environment
  • Liz Hornby and Manfred McKenzie, Democratic, Legal and Policy
  • John Lockhart, Community
  • Kevin Buckthorpe, Planning & Sustainability
  • Jasdeep Mudhar, Capita

Deployment of the new laptops is scheduled to start in June. Deployment is scheduled to be undertaken service by service

Once we have deployed new standard laptops will move to deploy specialised laptops to users with specialist applications requiring higher specification devices

If you have any questions please ask your service “champion” in the first instance or Gary Broadbent in ICT (extension 3174) who is project manager.

Office 2013

In June we will be replacing MS Office 2010 (Word, Excel etc.) with MS Office 2013. We have not been able to replace with Office 2016 as a number of our key applications, Uniform and the ABS Finance system, for example, are not compatible with or supported for Office 2016.

Although introducing a number of new features, Office 2013 is similar to Office 2010. We have arranged a number of brief bites sessions for users wishing to orientate to the new suite of MS Office applications. The brief bites sessions have been scheduled for 5 June at 11am and 13 June at 11am. We are hoping to add in one more session after the June 13th subject to demand and availability. More in depth courses on MS Office applications are of course available. For more information about these please contact Sarah Taylor on extension 3139.

Mark Lansbury is managing the MS Office 2013 project and can be contacted on extension 3168 should you have any questions.

Exchange online (email)

We will also be migrating our current Outlook email application to Exchange online email (part of Office 365). This will means that our e-mail will sit within the Microsoft cloud.

You will continue to access your e-mail, as now from your desktop, although the option to search for older emails through Enterprise Vault will be removed from your Outlook client. These older emails will not be migrated to Exchange online and will instead be available from you Application folder.

Similarly you will be able to access your e-mails using Outlook Web Access (OWA) (with dual factor authentication as now) as well as from your work phones

Mailboxes are scheduled to be migrated to cloud services during August. Don’t worry if you are on leave during August, your mailbox will still be migrated and available for you on your return.

Mark is project managing the Exchange on-line project and can be contacted on extension 3168 for any questions.

Telephony upgrade

Following the deployment of the new laptops, move to Office 2013 and Exchange On-Line, we will be replacing the telephony system. This will include the upgrade of the current Microsoft Office Communicator with the later version MS Lync 2013, in the first instance. Basic functionality will not change and the current handsets are not being replaced. We will then upgrade to Skype for Business (MS Lync 2016) as a future step. Details will be provided nearer the time.

Staff training will be offered on the new MS Lync application

We will provide further information about changes to the telephony system closer to the time.

Mary Hayward-Ord is managing the Telephony replacement project .Mary can be contacted on extension 3179 should you have any questions about this.

Scheduling changes

We have been sensitive to service demands as we have scheduled the implementation of these changes. We have also taken account of the general election and have imposed a change freeze between now and the election in order to avoid the risk of disruption from making changes to our live ICT environment at a critical time.

As with all changes and new deployments (and ICT changes)! issues will arise. As always, please log any issues you experience in order that we can address them.

To log issues please: