Case Study

King's College London and SITS Cloud

King's College London moves their Tribal Student Information System (SITS) to be run by Tribal as a service from the cloud.

Tribal and King's College London (KCL) have delivered a hugely significant SITS Cloud migration project which ends over two decades of KCL running SITS on premise. This is the first SITS Cloud migration undertaken in the UK, with a further three universities currently migrating and a dozen more holding Cloud Discovery Workshops to assess and scope their transitions.


Founded in 1829, KCL is a public research university ranked in the top 10 UK universities globally (QS World Rankings 2021). Over 33,000 students from 150 countries study at five campuses across London. KCL is an internationally renowned university that delivers exceptional education and world-leading research. It is dedicated to driving positive and sustainable change in society and making the world a better place.

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The Challenge 

Through its commitment to exceptional education, impactful research and genuine service to society, KCL is creating positive change in the communities it serves. Its strategic vision sets ambitious targets for educating the next generation of change-makers, and its business systems need to support that vision.


Discovery workshops and stakeholder meetings helped identify the challenges KCL faced in providing the most appropriate systems to deliver the best possible experience for its students.

 

People

Maintaining an on-premise SITS implementation requires time from highly skilled staff. Recruiting and retaining specialist skills to develop and maintain SITS and the underlying platforms and infrastructure detracts from focussing on improving administrative processes and student experience.

 

System availability

Having Tribal own responsibility for the system availability, performance, maintenance and upgrades means KCL staff can focus on deriving increased value from the application. Smoother version upgrades, guaranteed high levels of system availability and improved system performance and remote working experience were needed. New features can be more quickly and easily accessible so that the service develops in line with KCL's needs.


Change

As was the case for most universities, a global pandemic was not on the university's risk register. The on-premise infrastructure cannot scale and flex sufficiently with large-scale, fast changes in demand and the SITS Client was not as responsive for the newly home-based workforce as it was on campus.

The solution

With previous success in migrating and managing student information systems in the cloud, Tribal was uniquely positioned to help KCL address these challenges.

By moving SITS to the cloud and managing it as a service, Tribal were able to take care of the day to day monitoring, upgrading and patching of the systems, freeing KCL staff to focus on improving use of the application.


The purpose-built architecture provides a more connected, agile, resilient and secure platform, providing quicker access to advances in technology, the ability to scale and flex for the planned and unplanned, and assured security design with proactive monitoring and scanning.


Resilience and redundancy is built-in, so that even if servers fail, automatic recovery means end users are rarely affected. There is 24/7 support and 99.9% service availability for non-scheduled outages.

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The benefits

Phase one of this large and complex project was completed from contract-signing to delivery in just over 6 months – just in time for A-Level results. A tremendous Tribal and KCL combined delivery team has enabled easier and faster end-users access and improved SITS performance.

Faster processes have helped with increased student numbers. UCAS data can be uploaded within minutes rather than hours, meaning more time can be spent analysing the data and making informed decisions in the admissions process.


Phase two will see the optimisation of all remaining system interfaces and further transformation and functional improvements.


KCL experienced a very smooth migration. All non-production environments went live in the cloud ahead of the production service.

KCL Director of Education and Student Solutions, John Harris said:

A massive thank you to everybody involved in making the SITS migration happen – it's a huge improvement in terms of speed, and it's going to make life much easier. As we head into September, their lives will be hugely benefited by not having to wait for the system to respond."

 

KCL Chief Information Officer, Nick Leake added:

It has improved performance, it has provided us with resilience, it has improved some of our interfaces, and it has demonstrated that a committed group of people working well together can deliver a major project on one of our most critical systems in a record time. This project has also provided a major step forward for us to make further improvements to our student related processes.

We loaded the UCAS data into SITS within 23 minutes – something that previously took hours to complete.

Given the complexity of the migration and the number of different parties involved, this is a phenomenal achievement and a testament to excellent collaboration and project work across faculties, SED, IT, Tribal and Tribal's suppliers."

Both Tribal and KCL look forward to further improvements during phase two and beyond – this strengthens our existing relationship.


With SITS running in the cloud KCL will be able to take advantage of the latest technology in the new modules rolled out on the Edge platform as all their system interfaces will be optimised to connect to Edge.

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