Computing Services

The department behind IT services at the University of Bath

Who are your customers and mine?


📥  Business Support Systems, Computing Services, Research, Service Desk

I often hear colleagues talking about 'our customers' and 'customer service', but who ARE our customers, yours and mine?

Thinking of the University as a whole, it might be easiest to start with the obvious ones: undergraduate and postgraduate students who want us to educate them and prepare them for their chosen destination. That's a reasonable start, but our customers include a MUCH wider range of people and organisations than just our students.

A Customer is anyone who wants or needs something from you.

That may sound like a very broad definition, but let me put that in context:

The parents and grandparents of our students want to be sure that their children are going to get an excellent education, have a good experience while at university and that their investment is good value.

Our research partners want to be sure that we are capable of carrying out excellent research and that we will deliver appropriate results within the budgets and timescales set. Employers want us to create educated, qualified, job-ready graduates who will add value to their organisations as soon as they are employed. Funding bodies want us to to be deserving of the money they give us, delivering proven results in education and research. The public expects us to use their money wisely and to push the boundaries of research for the betterment of mankind.

Those are our external customers, but we also have internal customers, all of whom expect and deserve a high level of service and support. Our managers need us to do our jobs efficiently and to quickly report problems so that they can be addressed before they escalate; colleagues need us to perform our functions well and to support them when they want something else from us.

You need me to do the best I can for you and I need you to do the same for me.

So again I ask, who are your customers?


Until next time.


Update: Research storage now fully available


📥  Servers and Storage

We have now resolved  the issues that were affecting the Research Data storage facilities. We are also in the process of bringing additional capacity on line and as soon as this is operational, we will be migrating storage to this.

We will continue to monitor the storage, if you are still encountering problems with accessing your research data, please submit an IT help ticket.

Thank you for your understanding, while we investigated these issues.


Using Skype for Business

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📥  Computing Services

Hi all,

You are probably aware, if you work at the University of Bath, that Skype for Business has just been rolled out.

“So what?” you may ask.

So, have a go at using it to communicate with someone, especially where there are benefits over using email or the phone.

“What benefits?”

Instant Messaging

Sometimes I’ll use an Instant Message to contact someone, or someone will use IM to contact me. One of the main benefits for me is that I can quickly see that they’ve read my message and are responding, as Skype for Business tells me ‘… is typing a message’ – with an email, you can’t really be sure that they’ve even opened the message (unless you assigned a Read Receipt tag AND they click to let you know they’ve opened it).

If you want to use Instant Messaging but the other person sent you an email, you can still respond with an Instant Message – just click on the IM button in the Respond group within the Message ribbon.

You can add attachments, flag the message as ‘high importance’ and even add a ‘smiley’ or two!!

If you prefer to use emails because they give you a record of your conversation, guess what? So do IMs – they are stored in an area called ‘Conversation History’ in your Outlook folder. Worried about them not seeing the IM? If you miss one it will appear in your Inbox the next time you look!!

Phone/video calls

And if you have a headset and/or webcam, it’s even more useful.  You can call someone (audio or, if you have a webcam and don’t mind people seeing you, a video call) or a whole group of people.

To call someone, just find them in the list, see if they’re available and hit the ‘call’ button.

Conference call/IM

There are a few ways to include more than 1 other person in your conversation (or even an Instant Message), including (there are probably others – let me know if you find a good one):

·         Add extra people, 1 at a time

·         Start with a call to a group of people

·         Arrange a Skype Meeting in your Outlook calendar

Show them what’s on your screen

Whether you’re calling someone or using an IM, you can present a file, program or your whole desktop – just click on the Present button and say what you want to present: Desktop, program (any application/file that is currently open) or PowerPoint file (will open the file and automatically start the slide show). You can even give the other person control, so they can do the work!!

So consider having a go at sending an Instant Message the next time you’re sending an email.

If you want to know more or have a go at audio/video calls and conference calls, join me on one of the Skype for Business training sessions.

Bye for now,


From Monday January 16 Faculty IT Supporters are on the move


📥  Computing Services, IT Literacy, Service Desk

From Monday 16 January, IT supporters will be moving to a new home. This means that they will no longer be based within the Faculties. This move ties in with the relocation of the remaining Computing Services staff to the refurbished 6 West building. Our IT training facilities are moving too.

The way you ask for help isn't changing and you can request IT support by logging a support ticket in the usual way.

This is the first time that many of our IT supporters and Service Desk staff have worked side by side. We believe that this move will provide greater efficiency of the IT support we provide to our customers and additionally the opportunity to design more innovative solutions to make your working life easier. A few of the benefits are:

  • Collaborative working - with all  our IT colleagues in one space
  • Shared knowledge - with such a wide range of varied expertise, we can share knowledge
  • Eliminating risks of single points of failure.

As supporters will no longer be based in the departments, we would  like to use this opportunity to encourage greater communication between you, your department and User Services and we welcome ideas to facilitate this.



A new home for the IT training suite from January 2017


📥  IT Literacy

A new year means a fresh start for the IT training rooms. From Monday 16 January 2017 the IT training rooms will be located in the newly refurbished 6 West building.

If you are registered for a training course taking place after this date you will need to come to the new IT training suite in 6 West. The move comes as the final Computing Services staff members relocate from the 2 South building.

The refurbishment will offer improved facilities for training courses such as a classroom style collaborative working space and flip top desks, to be used for either paper or computer based courses. View our wide range of training courses and book your place on the website.


Five star service?

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📥  Computing Services

From Monday 9 January you will be able to rate and comment on the service you have received from the IT support team when you request help, after your ticket has been closed.

It’s an opportunity for you to give us feedback and provides valuable insight into what we have done well and what we could improve on. The aim of this is to give you an improved service.

How to rate:

  1. find your IT help ticket that has been closed
  2. at the bottom of the ticket you will see a grey box with the words, 'how would you rate the handling of your request'
  3. click the number of stars (from 1, poor to 5, excellent)
  4. write any comments in the box and press the send feedback button


Research storage issues


📥  Servers and Storage

Research storage users may be encountering issues with their data stored on X:\DepartmentName\ResearchProjects\Name 

Symptoms vary, but generally users will see an error message warning that they can't save to their storage area because it's full. Data will be read only during this time.

We are aware of this issue and are working to implement a solution as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions about this issue, please log a help ticket.

Christmas break 2016


📥  Computing Services

Our holiday dates are from 5pm on Thursday 22 December 2016 until 9am on Tuesday 3 January 2017.

The IT Service Desk, Audio Visual team & Campus Computer Shop (Library - Level 2) will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2017 at 9am.

Please log queries using IT Help during the holiday period and we will deal with them as soon as possible on our return.

Out of Hours procedure for serious IT faults

During the holiday the out of hours procedure applies for reporting serious IT faults.

Please note all times and dates are weather dependant in line with the University's adverse weather conditions guidance notes.

We wish you a Merry Christmas Break!

26966 Campus Snow Pictures. Client: Nic Delves-Broughton IDPS


Phishing attempt: Please ignore and delete


📥  Computing Services, Security

We are getting reports of a phishing e-mail that has beeen sent to students and staff. If you receive this e-mail please be aware that it is fake. Please ignore and delete it.

Example of the phishing e-mail is below:

Subject: Pending Message




If you are concerned about any e-mails you receive you can forward it to and the team will advise.


Upgrade to Business Objects Web Intelligence (Webi) 4.2


📥  Business Objects

We moved from Business Objects Xi (Boxi) to Web Intelligence 4.1 (Webi) in the summer of 2016, it was a paradigm shift to an  online-only ecosphere. This was the first step in enhancing the Business Objects reporting service. Version 4.2 is the next upgrade to the service and will add more features to Webi, whilst making a tightly aligned service. Please read on to find out more about the new features.

Aligning the service into one HTML interface

Version 4.1 uses either an HTML interface aimed at refreshing, viewing and exporting a report, or a Java applet that offers further functionality for creating and maintaining reports. In Webi 4.2 the HTML interface has been enhanced to the point where you can stop using the Java applet. This will mean that you are able to use any modern web browser to access the service.

Our getting started guide and training manual have been updated and are based around the enhanced html interface.  The html interface will be further enhanced in future Support Packages.

Cascading Input Controls

In 4.2, it is possible to gather input controls into a group. For example, in a group consisting of Dept and Course input controls, when a specific Dept is selected, only the Courses relevant to the Dept in question will be displayed in the Courses input control list.

Geo Maps

Geomaps are a new type of visualisations that represent data geographically, and allow users to match specific parts of your dataset with precise locations around the world to visualize data on a map.


There is a new variable type in 4.2 called a reference.  A reference is a variable which returns the value of a specified cell in the document.  A reference can be created by right-clicking a cell in Design mode and selecting Assign Reference.  Once defined, the reference is displayed in the Available Objects side panel under the References folder and can be used in a formula to define a new variable or in conditional formatting.

Shared Elements

In order to ease the report creation, the new release offers the ability to save report elements (e.g. a table or a chart) in the repository as what is called Shared Elements. This is done under Linking in the Report Elements menu. With shared elements, expert designers can save some report elements that can be re-used by less experienced users. When a shared element is inserted in the document, a link between this shared element and the document is created. Thanks to this link, when a document is opened, the user can check whether a new version of the shared element has been published and, if needed, resynchronize the content of the shared element into the document.  Computing Services will need to determine how much use can be made of this feature.  Users can save Shared Elements to their Favourites folder.


Comments can be added to a report, block (tables or charts) or any table cells.  When a comment is created, an icon is displayed on the cell or block to show that a comment has been added.  The comments can be viewed in the side panel or by hovering the mouse over the icon on commented the item.

The way ahead

We are investing into the Webi service. A Wiki is being developing to share all of the knowledge from campus users on how to best use Webi, from the basics right through to the advanced features of Webi. Short courses are being developed focusing on specific areas of Webi, these short courses can be combined to create a course tailored to suit your needs with Webi. Regular blog posts will highlight new tutorials and current news on the service.