SITS Cloud Migration: An Interview with Daniel Kidd from the University of Wolverhampton

Posted by Tribal Group

Many institutions are currently running their SIS on-premises, but this can present challenges in terms of being surprisingly expensive and carrying significant operational risk. Upgrades and patching costs can run into £ hundreds of thousands per year, and skilled teams are burdened with “business as usual” activities instead of projects that may be of higher value. Direct database links also create heightened security concerns, with the average cost of a cyber attack in higher education estimated at around £2m.

The University of Wolverhampton has recently chosen to partner with Tribal to move their on-premises installation of SITS to Tribal’s “SITS Cloud” service.

Daniel Kidd is the university’s Director of Registry Services, and in this blog, he shares his experiences of the evaluation and reasons behind the project.


What were the top three motivators for moving away from the on-premises setup at the University of Wolverhampton?

We identified a long list of motivators for moving to SITS Cloud, each with their footings in either benefit realisation or risk mitigation; however, were I to single out the top three, then I would   

  1. The university will be in a better place to adopt and enhance its portfolio of Tribal cloud-native services, which will contribute to the Student and Education strategy to support the student experience.

  2. Significantly improve performance for users of e:Vision and SITS both off and on campus, alongside increasing our ability to meet demand at critical points in the year with auto-scaling (e.g. peak times such as clearing, assessment etc.)

  3. Transfer SITS to a fully managed service rather than supplied software, resulting in a relationship focussed on delivering benefits as well as offering assurances around risk and the resiliency/security of the service.

How did the procurement process for SITS Cloud evolve, and what were the key factors involved, given the Registry Services' significant role in it?

We were clear from the outset that this was not solely a technical infrastructure piece but instead also represented an opportunity for us to reimagine our student record system and its relationship with the student experience and our staff. To this end, we kept the anticipated benefits to the business firmly in focus and crucially gave them equal weighting with the technical considerations throughout the initial discussion through to the final procurement decision. There was a clear objective to align the decision-making process with our immediate student and education strategies so that the final decision would be a balance between the technical and business needs.


How did you get a business case for the cloud migration approved?

Considerable work was done on the business case before going through the university's various approval and governance stages. We started with undertaking discovery workshops with Tribal to establish the scope and flesh out the advantages and disadvantages of the option. The output from these workshops allowed the university to determine a ‘soft signal’ as to whether the option was viable or not. Having concluded that the option was viable, further, more detailed work was undertaken to begin quantifying the benefits and costs for the purposes of a business case. In parallel, the university began compiling an alternative business case to explore the alternative option of remaining on-premise – this was an essential piece of work that enabled the University Executive to consider both options side-by-side. The business cases were scrutinised with each author present to answer questions and debate the relative merits. Having agreed that SITS Cloud was the preferred option, a similar process was undertaken with the university’s Board of Governors for final approval.  


What benefits are you specifically looking for from making the move to SITS Cloud?

The motivators previously mentioned remain the key benefits we’re looking for from the move to SITS Cloud (e.g. alignment to our student experience strategy, enhanced performance, security and scalability). However, they are merely three from an extensive list. In addition, we anticipate benefits around interface management whereby we will be able to release time of specialist technical resources, deliver improved compliance with GDPR, reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions emanating from our business, as well as enabling existing Registry resources to be redirected to concentrate on delivering business value. 

Migrating your Student Information System to the cloud isn't going to happen overnight - but we have the solution to taking your first steps. If you'd like to talk through our Cloud Discovery Service, including the total cost of ownership for your institution, click here.

Already had Cloud Discovery? That's ok too! We're always happy to talk through the best options for your institution.




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