A hands-on approach to transforming device procurement

Kingston University views the very latest end user devices as a critical element of an enhanced learning experience

It teamed up with trusted IT solutions provider Softcat to deliver on that promise

Solution highlights
● Three-year contract to supply 6,000 end user devices
● Leading-edge technology provision from Lenovo, VMware and Microsoft 
● Consultancy services: Software procurement, Software Asset Management (SAM), Roadmapping

About Kingston’s University

● Higher education provider situated in Kingston upon Thames in London ● More than 20,000 students, including 3,000+ international students
● Diverse and comprehensive range of full- and part-time courses for undergraduates, graduates and professionals
● £205m annual income
● 2,000+ staff, 5 faculties and 4 campuses 

The challenge
Kingston University has implemented an extensive IT transformation programme. ‘Connecting Kingston’ has a number of strategic priorities and its main aim is to provide students and staff with a standardised, reliable and highly effective ICT platform to support high-quality teaching and research. A critical element of this initiative is the End User Computing (EUC) project, which has provided the very latest devices to students and staff, enabling them to leverage full value from their studies and work. 

When selecting a provider to fulfil the requirements, Kingston University’s IT leadership was keen to work with an organisation that would “be more of a partner than just a supplier fulfilling orders” and could deliver the devices needed to make Kingston University an even better place to study.

The solution
Softcat initially provided a VMware Enterprise Licensing Agreement via the Software License Resellers framework as part of the ongoing Connecting Kingston project. The success of the engagement proved a major driver in the IT team’s decision to approach Softcat again when seeking a provider to supply multiple devices. To complement the radical improvements in the overall IT infrastructure, Kingston University sought the very latest technologies from leading suppliers, such as Lenovo and Microsoft, to deliver an optimised, standardised and highly functional device estate.

ABOVE: Learning resources centre, Kingston University 

This initial approach resulted in a three-year contract via the National Desktop and Notebook Agreement, with Softcat acting as a strategic partner tasked with supplying and managing around 6,000 Lenovo devices throughout the lifecycle of the project. Softcat, working alongside delivery partners BTR and Exertis, committed to providing up to 1,000 devices per month. Each device would be asset tagged and delivered with a pre-imaged hard drive configured to precisely match the University’s specific requirements.

Softcat worked closely with the IT Team to realise maximum value through providing a range of consultancy services, including: 

●Identifying and procuring software to match curriculum requirements
●Ongoing Microsoft software licensing advice to minimise cost and complexity going forward
●Road mapping to help ensure the project delivered on strategic goals
●Managing the disposal of the existing end user devices securely and in line with regulations.

The benefits
The availability of the very latest devices, software and network access is helping to enhance Kingston University’s reputation as a fantastic place to learn and develop much-needed skills. The University is now able to facilitate access to laptops for students who come to university without a device through the highly successful ‘laptop loan’ scheme – which enables them to borrow a device for free from an automated locker. Softcat has even spoken directly with students to assess what they need from a technology supplier in order to fully benefit from the technology on offer.

Why Softcat?
“We’ve been growing together throughout the relationship,” says Wendy Hollingshead, IT Vendor and Contracts Manager. “Softcat has helped us simplify and clarify what we need in place to deliver an optimal student experience from an IT perspective. But just as importantly, it’s been mutually beneficial. We’ve helped Softcat refine supply chain processes through identifying potential issues and working together to improve them. We sought a trusted partner to work with us long term and Softcat is an ideal fit.”

W: www.softcat.com