Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) is one of New Zealand's largest tertiary institutions, educating approximately 23,000 students per year. Located in Christchurch, CPIT has two campuses and five faculties. CPIT
is the largest polytechnic in the South Island and the fourth largest of 23 in New Zealand.With inflexible and outdated technology systems, an unstable computing environment and an unreliable vendor,CPIT was looking to mitigate potential business risk and
provide its studentswith a more effective and agile learning environment.The legacy system required the CPIT's ICT department to create images, acollection of software applications at times reaching 80GB, to deploy as packages on computers throughout campus.
Each faculty required a different image, and students were limited to using computing facilities configured specifically for the faculty delivering the course. This was further complicated where students’ study spanned multiple faculties. Creating images was
a time consuming process on a yearly cycle that required large amounts of administration and technical resource.“It was getting ridiculous. We would install the Commerce faculty image in a lab, but any spare capacity could not be used by any other faculty
because their applications were not available,” says Mark Marshall, Director – ICT Division at CPIT.“We were unable to easily amend an image once it was created and found the system inflexible for what we needed to provide our students. There was also unreliability
associated with the environment caused by having so many applications having to co-exist. This system also meant that we had to cut off software requests in July for the following academic year, which was both frustrating and inflexible.”As the Polytechnic
was running a Novell system using aging ZenWorks technologies, a new integrated system that was more reliable, flexible and easy to use was required. Also important, was to engage with a vendor with a clear roadmap and excellent support systems.“We found our
previous software provider unreliable, and for a deployment this large it was essential we had strong, solid support throughout the entire process. The Microsoft Premier Support Services team and partner provided just that – they were always available and
nothing was ever too much trouble. We really appreciated having access to that kind of support as this new technology solution deployment was a big focus for us.”
CPIT worked closely with the Microsoft tertiary team to determine the most appropriate technology solution and how to best tackle the issues the Polytechnic was experiencing.
“The Microsoft team invested a huge amount of time with us – analyzing our technology options, our needs and where the gaps were. They definitely came to the table and their passion for ICT in education was clear. We have a very strong relationship with
Microsoft, which is how it should be when you are working on projects like these,” says Mark.
“Microsoft’s obvious knowledge in the area firstly confirmed the results of our research, and then extended to detailed planning of the solution. The only part they got wrong was how long it would take – it took less than half the time they thought!”
“Microsoft has a clear vision for education, and the tertiary sector sales team is very passionate about what they do. The team became the face of the Microsoft global corporation and we were confident in their ability to assist us through the technology
“The decision to work with the Microsoft Premier Support Services through a Premier Support agreement has been beneficial at every level – the engagement and assistance from Microsoft has helped build a great partnership. Bringing them into to our planning
processes and truly engaging has meant we have achieved a huge amount very quickly.”
The decision was made to implement Microsoft Active Directory, Application Virtualization (App-V), Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Windows 7 and Office 2010.
“The local Microsoft team lobbied on our behalf for a significant amount of technical support based on what we needed – both through formal and informal programs. As a result, we engaged with Microsoft on multiple levels, which further worked to cement our
relationship,” says Mark.
“Microsoft acknowledged that there was real value for them in the project and continually looked for opportunities to assist.”
In addition to Microsoft, CPIT worked closely with Computer Concepts Limited during implementation. The decision to switch software providers and move from a Novell environment was made in May 2010, and the new solution was up and running by early January
2011. Implementation was able to be completed by utilising the period of time from Christmas until 5 January 2011, while the Polytechnic was closed.
During the project Microsoft was formally involved in the planning and review process, with Computer Concepts Limited assisting in the actual implementation. CPIT received assistance from Microsoft through both the technical teams and the Premier Support
agreement it subscribed to. This included engagement with the Active Directory Risk Assessment Program (ADRAP) and Exchange Risk Assessment Program (EXRAP). These programs are designed as health checks to ensure technology is deployed successfully and is managed,
maintained, and operated effectively and efficiently.
“The training delivered under the premier agreement was first class, and a significant reason for the project’s success,” says Mark.
CPIT saw tangible benefits from the new system immediately. In addition, the support the Institute has received from Microsoft Premier Support Services has been exceptional.
The organization has seen a significant reduction in administration time, improved cost management and measurability, in addition to the flexibility and agility gained through virtualization and software reliability. All machines on campus are now configured
so students can access almost any application they require, regardless of their physical location. This is especially beneficial for students studying across multiple faculties.
“We have also seen a large reduction in the time spent on administration and software management. The ease of use has allowed us to better measure our time and cost – clearly showing where time is spent and allowing us to analyze the value,” says Mark.
“The Microsoft team has continued to support us and provided us with access to formal Microsoft programs, such as their online learning environment and the classroom learning through the Premier agreement.”
In addition, CPIT engaged Microsoft in Proactive Microsoft Workshops.
“We saw huge value in both ADRAP (Active Directory) and EXRAP (Exchange). Up-skilling staff and the transference of skills between staff members was managed with ease, and we also noticed a growth in our Microsoft relationships as we were liaising with others
from the organization.”
“The sessions were an important and valuable part of the project. They added surety when used as a precursor to moving into a live environment (in the case of Active Directory) and gave us a reassurance that the Exchange environment was healthy 12 months
after implementation, before beginning the implementation of Lync Server integrated with our Cisco network.”
“Of particular value was the list of proactive recommendations for corrections or enhancements, and the ongoing monitoring using tools supplied as part of the process.”
“We are now much better enabled from a technology point of view and have a more robust system which is easy to use for all staff and students. Our experience with Microsoft has been fantastic and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them as
our technology solution further develops.”
CPIT was impacted by the February 22, 2011 Canterbury Earthquake, and the new software enabled the organization to better cope with the disruption caused by it and the subsequent aftershocks.
“We had more than 1000 students working out of Lincoln University, all of who required relevant software applications. Post-earthquake, we physically relocated machines and reconnected them to our main network. It took an afternoon to prepare over 100 PCs
at CPIT for relocation and then only one day to set up and configure the machines at Lincoln. The ability to virtualize our applications played a huge part in being able to do this,” says Mark.
“This new system hasn’t just improved what we do, it has completely changed the way we deliver and even think about desktop services. For us this is revolutionary, not evolutionary and for the technical team who love being leading edge, it is very exciting.”
“We are delighted with our relationship with Microsoft, in many cases the Premier Support Services team has gone above and beyond when it came to helping us deploy this solution and develop an overall strategy. We look forward to continuing to work with
them as we roll out more technology updates and solutions. Having such a strong partnership has been extremely beneficial to the entire process and will ensure a successful future for CPIT and its students."