Guest post from Hable – Office 365 at University of the Arts London

The following post comes from Hable, an education technology consultancy founded by Mark Reynolds, a former member of the Microsoft UK Education team. Hable deliver expert consultancy and learning experiences, helping academic institutions to innovate, while making technology feel natural and useful, delivering modern experiences for teachers and students.

To find out more about the Office 365 Pro Plus Benefit available within education, and to check your own eligibility for Office at no cost, please visit


Office 365 at University of the Arts London

by Mark Reynolds


I’ve seen more parts of London in the last 2 weeks than I’ve ever done before. Hable has been on the road with University of the Arts London (UAL), telling their staff all about Office 365 and how it can change the way they work; as individuals, as teams and with their students. I’ve blogged before about how hard it is to get adults to learn new things – but UAL have a great team and a great approach. They are also really investing in the development of their staff and giving them multiple opportunities to imagine and test new ways of doing things.

UAL is the largest university in Europe to specialise in art, design, fashion and the performing arts. It is a collegiate university with six constituent colleges:

  • Camberwell College of Arts
  • Central Saint Martins
  • Chelsea College of Art and Design
  • London College of Communication
  • London College of Fashion
  • Wimbledon College of Art

Hable - UALThey are all different and individual places, but with a common set of goals and a common ambition: to put creativity at the heart of everything they do. Even IT projects. A key theme of their 2015-22 Strategy is Communication and Collaboration which is why Office 365 was a perfect fit. As I write this, they are just moving the last few users across from their local Exchange email service to Office365 and by mid-July will have migrated over 6000 accounts to the Microsoft cloud. The good news is, that most people would not even notice the email migration – apart from Outlook telling them about their supersized 50GB inbox. The bad news is that many Universities get this far – but don’t go on to realise the full range of services in Office 365. So without an investment in Staff Learning and a proper Comms plan, the services that can really change the way you work – like OneDrive, Sites, Office Web Apps, Skype for Business and Yammer – often go unnoticed or are under used.

Lucy Wright (Organisational Development and Learning Coordinator at UAL) explains the importance of getting this right:

“If we are going to engage staff and students in new ways of working, it is key that our internal comms and end-user training is timely, relevant and exciting. At the UAL Office 365 Buzz events, Mark did just that, delivering a fantastic show-case of Office 365, which is exactly want we wanted.”

Hable - UAL2Working with Lucy and the team at UAL we ran a series of “Buzz Events” at each of their campuses. These were quick-fire launch events, showing staff the possibilities, explaining what “the cloud” was and how it could help them. These events were promoted to staff via email and using the poster campaign you can see here.

Apart from raising awareness, the real goal of these sessions was to drive attendance to the Office365 training workshops that started this week. At the workshops, staff will get a 90 minute hands-on experience with one of the component parts of Office 365. Workshops include:

  • Online Meetings with Skype
  • Store, Share, Sync with OneDrive
  • Office on the iPad

There is still a long way to go at UAL, but everyone at Hable is really excited about this project and hope that other Universities can learn from their approach to driving the adoption of Office365. If you need help with your staff training, or want to get people buzzing about your cloud rollout, please get in touch.

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