Changing the support model

Many institutions are moving to different models of VLE supply including externally hosted solutions and software as a service (SaaS) products. We talk about hosting and support for the VLE in the section on Hosting and technology.

Some of these changes have little impact on end users but moving to a SaaS model does impact the end-user experience. Rather than having major upgrades infrequently, a SaaS approach delivers regular updates and enhancements. Often only the most major changes require acceptance by the system administrators and the rest are rolled out immediately to all users.

Clear communication about what to expect from SaaS software and the benefits is therefore important in preparing users for this change. Most of the contributors to this Toolkit report that end-users adapt relatively easily.

Glasgow School of Art told us there were 'niggly' issues requiring them to make minor changes to some of their processes due to product updates. David Walker, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Sussex, thinks the SaaS approach is very manageable but believes it will take time for staff to adapt culturally.

As soon as somebody doesn't like a change such as a menu item or colour, they will expect internal teams to undertake development to change it: adapting to the behavioural change will take time.

David Walker, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning,
University of Sussex