The University Of Manchester Delivers A Digital Housing Experience For Staff And Students

Ranked among one of the world’s most innovative universities, The University of Manchester is known for its groundbreaking discoveries and high-quality research with global impact. Formed in 2004 by the merger of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and Victoria University of Manchester, it is the largest single-site university in the UK with more than 40,000 students and 12,800 academic, research, and support staff.

To maintain its status as a top-performing university and ultimately provide students with the tools to succeed, The University of Manchester wanted to leverage data and technology to build a new foundation and power digital transformation.

Their first step was ensuring that data be made available to the right teams rapidly in a secure, compliant manner.

However, they faced the complex and challenging task of having to work with two legacy IT estates. The University brought in Delphix to solve this problem, comply with data privacy regulations, and begin to develop a pathway for innovation through data—starting with the development of a digital housing experience for the ultimate benefit of its students.

Breaking Barriers to Digital Transformation

Digital experiences play a key role in campus life for students. The University of Manchester’s IT department knew that to deliver on this growing need, it needed a technology solution that could accelerate software development, allowing the University to remain on the forefront of today’s modern, competitive environment.

And because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the university, like many other organisations, has experienced greater complexity with data collection and data sharing that made it exceedingly demanding for IT teams to build applications in a nimble way. Two members of the staff would spend nearly a week to provision data copies for development teams.

Gone are the Days of Disparate, Paper-Based Systems

Leveraging Delphix’s virtualization and self-service capabilities, the university’s IT teams are starting to transform dev/test environments and modernize their approach for the Kinetix application used to manage student housing services. With faster access to secure data, The University of Manchester has been able to achieve three key benefits to accelerate application development.

Data Refresh Times Drop from 16 Days to 40 Minutes

Developers and testers now have the ability to provision secure datasets to downstream environments for development, testing, and analytics. Delphix slashes the time required to provision a new environment, freeing up database administrators (DBAs) to focus on high-value tasks and allowing testers to get access to more fresh data to resolve issues faster and release applications faster.

Easy Data Access via Self-Service

By extending self-service access to data, developers and testers can provision their own data sets—eliminating the bottleneck of requesting virtual databases to be provisioned by DBAs. Development and testing teams can access data whenever they need, on-demand while DBAs can set the policy on who the data is made available to, at any time.

Faster Time to Delivery

Project times are now dramatically shorter because 1) refresh times for data are slashed from days to minutes; 2) developers can perform data management tasks through self-service features; 3) consistent production-like test data is made available to dev/test teams, enabling higher-quality code and application delivery. Furthermore, the team has reduced storage, freeing up capacity for other projects.

Continuing its Quest to Become a Digital University for a Digital World

Today, Delphix empowers the university’s development and testing efforts to stay speedy and secure, so they can continue to confidently build new applications and systems that bring exceptional digital experiences to students and staff. Looking ahead, The University of Manchester has plans to roll out Delphix across 18 more applications for bigger software initiatives, including its Student Experience Programme, a major change initiative to improve university services for both staff and students.

The program will focus on offering a first-rate digital experience by:

  1. Making well-being services more visible and easily accessible to students;

  2. Using data to improve predicting future behaviour and help senior leaders make more informed decisions;

  3. Complying with the latest legislation to protect personal data and the university’s reputation;

  4. Lastly, increasing organisational, financial, technical, and reputational sustainability—making the organisation more flexible, agile, and able to respond to changing demands.

The University of Manchester also plans to leverage the Delphix Data Platform to address GDPR compliance and mask more than 130 million rows of sensitive data, as well as to accelerate its data migration to the cloud.

The university aims to fully transition from developing homegrown data masking scripts to using Delphix’s masking solution that automatically identifies sensitive information and irreversibly masks those values while preserving referential integrity and business value of the data for testing and development.

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