Developing a MIM Functionality to Facilitate Better Communication at  Brunel University London  

Posted on 21 August 2020

Identity Experts worked with  Brunel to set up automated Teams creation, with the help of  Microsoft Identity Manager.  This solution allowed  course leaders to provide assignments and grading information to students, while also accessing vital data insights.  

Brunel University London  is a  renowned  public research university  based in Uxbridge. It was  founded and awarded its Royal Charter in 1966, taking its name from  the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel  -  one of the  most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history , and a major player in the Industrial Revolution.     

It’s  no surprise, then, that the campus  is known for its  technological education,  and has a reputation for  championing innovation and advancement. The university is dedicated to  giving the UK the knowledge base it needs  to compete on the international stage,  by investing in its thousands of students and providing them with a world class education.  Brunel is a university for a changing world.  

The  Challenge   

COVID-19 has presented many unique challenges to institutions up and down the country.  In order to  keep students and staff safe in the new academic year, Brunel needed to drastically change how services were delivered to students. Having successfully launched Teams for staff, albeit manually, the university was looking to introduce automation into the mix for its student service offerings. Brunel chose to work with Identity Experts to get the job done.  

The  Solution   

To get the most out of Teams, Brunel wanted to automate the process from the student records management system right up to Microsoft 365 and Teams communication.  Identity Experts worked with Brunel University London to develop functionality which automated the creation of Teams using module information from SITS, the student records management system. The new solution uses Microsoft Identity Manager to translate module information through to a Teams team with an education template in play.

How  We  Helped   

Identity Experts  created a customisable framework that  Brunel can develop further.  By incorporating automated membership and templates through  Teams,  Brunel now have a lot of flexibility to  adapt this environment as the university moves forward into a new working practice. This has also reduced support overheads and put the onus on having good data on student records.   

As a result, course leaders within Brunel University London can now  provide assignments and grading information  to students via Teams. Educators can also  gain insights into module statistics such as attendance and assignment submission rates. Using Dynamic Groups, the course delegate list is always up to  date, ensuring  that students have access to relevant modules, creating a positive user experience.     

What’s  Changed?  

For years, Brunel academics would manually create groups as owners of a team, adding users from a list one by one  in order to  send emails. Introducing automation is a giant leap forward for the university.   

Brunel is now able to establish a foundation on how  to use and engage  Teams within the student community, with much more potential to tap into. This framework is part of an ongoing project that they can adapt as they go. Identity Experts’ work has made it easier for Brunel to make quick edits without external assistance, empowering the university to develop further and explore new things.      

Brunel’s IT team were very  pleased with these positive changes and the return on investment that we provided, with  Alan Charie  stating that: 

“I was hoping for the bare bones of what we’ve ended up with – a solution which will automate and manage the creation of those teams, but it’s gone beyond  that,  by incorporating templates – not something that’s relying on internal teams. Otherwise,  we’d  rely on ongoing manual maintenance, but  now, anybody  administering  Microsoft  365 can use the template.  Identity Experts exceeded  our  expectations.”   

What the  Customer  Thinks   

The customer’s glowing feedback highlighted Identity Experts’ ability to collaborate successfully and productively. From design work through to implementation, our experts worked closely with Brunel, maintaining communication throughout.  The customer was able to see our team overcome all challenges that came up, offering invaluable influence  on  Brunel’s IT team. Rather than just offering the right answer, our experts designed with them, keeping the customer involved every step of the way, supporting them throughout.  

Brunel’s Alan Charie was particularly impressed with our team’s dedication: 

“Whenever  a challenge arose or an exciting new development showed up,  Danny  [our Director and all-round technical expert] communicated quickly. Management delivered everything within  the  quoted days.” Alan  was  also impressed by how we adapted to work under the new COVID-19 lockdown regulations, saying that “working in lockdown has allowed for better flexibility, time management, collaboration.” 

Overall,  Brunel  summed up Identity Experts’ service as “above  and beyond.” 

How Identity Experts Can Help   

The configuration and deployment of  Identity and Access Management solutions  can be a  time consuming and complex endeavour. However, with the right experience and product knowledge, these solutions can be implemented efficiently and delivered on-budget.   

 As a Microsoft Gold Partner,  we have long-standing and in-depth experience and expertise in how to design, deploy and support Microsoft Identity Manager, along with a whole host of Microsoft and other Partner solutions. Our success, customer loyalty, and positive recommendations are  achieved  through  the use of  leading practices, attention to detail, and a consultative approach throughout.   

Find out more about Teams Connect for Education on our dedicated page, or get in touch with our experts to start your journey to automation.

A few people we've already done it for