The Retiring Activedition project – 40,000 webpages later 

In DTS and MCE, the retiring Activedition project, which has recently come to an end, has seen nearly 40,000 webpages migrated (or removed) from Activedition to the new CMS system, Sitecore.  The aim of the project was to improve security and make the websites at the University easier to use.  

The project, that spanned over 8 years, with the concentration of work since 2018, also processed nearly 56,000 multimedia files and 23,000 documents. The result left us with 7,000 pages on Sitecore, making the websites easier to navigate and find what you want.  

Burning Platform  

The migration gave a good opportunity to consolidate and freshen up the websites but the main motivation behind the project was fixing an incoming security hole. 

Activedition was coming to the end of its product lifecycle and would no longer be supported by its creators in the future. This end of support means no more security updates and continuing to use it would have opened us up to cyber-attacks.  

Mark Collett, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation, spoke about the need to get off a CMS with looming security issues:  

“The underlying platform was on legacy equipment where the software and databases wouldn’t be supported by the end of this month by Microsoft. 

The hardware was going out of date and would be unsupported. The CMS itself is old, and the company that developed it, its not one of the projects they’re interested in developing.  

So, it meant that we had a hard deadline for the end of this [July 2022] month to get all those pages off because if we didn’t it would pose a risk to the University.  

The website is a front facing thing for the University, so we needed to get off, what we call, a burning platform”  

He also spoke about how DTS balances making sure the University is secure against Cyber Security issues and the impact they have on Colleagues:  

“Our strategy is to try and make our systems as secure and reliable as possible and that’s always a balancing act with user experience and the impact on Colleagues. 

Currently we are running both Sitecore and Activedition. With fewer CMSs we have a simpler web estate and can focus on fewer skills sets and reduce working complexity. 

The more complexity you have in a system, the more resources you need to understand it and run it, which isn’t an efficient approach”  

Understanding and planning 

Once the go ahead for the project was given, a large body of initial analysis and planning work was conducted inside DTS by the Digital Portfolio Team (DPT).  

Part of the DPT’s job is to analyse drivers behind a project; the motivations that are the cause for a project to come into existence. This is done partly by evaluating the problem we are trying to solve. Looking at the people involved and the problems they are experiencing.  Once we have an accurate idea of the problems, we are in an informed position to choose the correct solutions.  

Mary Seddon, Head of Digital Portfolio, spoke about drivers and what she found out from talking to colleagues around the University:  

“I’m sure there are many reasons why the University needed to get off Activedition and the business case talks about several high-level drivers that we needed to meet. One being that the devolution of responsibility to an area or school creating their own webpages meant there was a loss of quality control, for instance no control over retiring or replacing a page.  It was very hard for MCE to assist people.  

Activedition was also very old fashioned to look at.  Lots of people were concerned about that, yet there was lack of control over the look and feel of the websites.  

From a technical perspective, the problems were the burning platform and the fact that the knowledge about Activedition itself, was in the hands of, and supported by, about 3 people on the planet – as far as we could tell.  We were very lucky to find Jim Hazell who knew what Activedition was.”  

She continued with the topic of how, when working on projects that affect lots of different people, you will often come across drivers from different places that conflict with each other:  

“We put a business case that brought all those needs together – those from MCE and DTS, and others – and there was understandable, good, tensions between the drivers.  Some people wanted to do a ‘like for like’ replacement and others wanted to make the websites “better”.    

At the same time, we had to do something to get off that burning platform and this is that unified us.  We were all on the objective that we need to move off Activedition for the sake of security.” 

The Great ‘Lift and Shift’  

After initial analysis work was complete the project moved into working through the websites on Activedition with the Digital Applications and Development team working out which pages could be manually moved to Sitecore, and which ones could be moved through a clever automatic process.  

Dave Jones, Head of Digital Applications and Development, spoke about how the ‘lift and shift’ process wasn’t as unceremonious as the name makes out:  

“Is it actually just straight lift and shift? Or is it lift and shape? Or is it a complete refactor?    

Initially, I think MCE and the Schools were pushing very hard for it to be effectively a refactor. That’s when we had Bunny Foot in (website consultants) and when the school webpage template was redesigned, and the site was greatly improved, but we saw that was taking forever. When we developed the idea of doing an automated process for the functions that’s when it had to be slightly more regimented. 

Functions could still tweak how things looked. Different functions could have different coloured accents on various parts of the site to differentiate them.”   

The project processed over 40,000 webpages from different websites at the University. Mustafa Rahman, CMS Web Team Lead in Dave Jones’ team, spoke about how lack of control over accounts let it get to such a high level:  

“There were easily 500 users on Activedition, and I’d guess about 340 of them were unique users. That was the hardest bit about accounts in Activedition, working out who was still active.   

With Sitecore, It’s much easier to maintain in that way, and we’ve removed a number of old accounts so there’s less accounts to maintain and more control over people adding pages and making changes”  

Collaboration, accessibility and breaking silos 

Universities can often be ‘siloed’ in how their teams operate with each of but with this project it was the opposite. It included many teams from many different departments, working together on different ways to solve one common problem.   

Martin Watts, Head of Content in the Marketing Engagement team, assisted massively with the project and spoke about his approach to multi-team collaboration:  

“This project was about making sure everyone was on board. I think there was a realisation that the only way we would succeed is if we work together and make sure we didn’t let those traditional silos get in the way.  

Ultimately, we’ve all got the same goal at the University. We’re all trying to make sure we do what the University needs us to do in order to achieve its goals”  

He also spoke about how the collaborative relationship that was established between DTS and MCE will have a positive impact on work between the two in the future:  

“The CMS team and the Content Team have worked prior to this, and we’ve had a really good working relationship, but we had worked in a sort of support capacity where if we needed support with something, the CMS team would help us.   

Going through this project was about moving to an actual web development model where we are making new things. We’re not just fixing and maintaining existing things and that required quite a mind shift.”  

Martin finished by talking about how pleased he was that accessibility requirements resonated so well with colleagues around the University:  

“People thought it was an excellent reason for doing this, not just about meeting a simple compliance thing. It’s about ensuring that our websites are inclusive for all users, regardless of their access needs and I thought that was that was really good.  

In terms of what was really helpful, we had Miroslava Flimelova come in and join us and basically supports us with that work throughout the project. She was fantastic to work with because she’s just so knowledgeable but also really keen to help ensure that we make things accessible. If we don’t know what we’re doing, we can ask her a question and she’s always happy to help.”  

A solid state for the future   

The retiring Activedition has provided a solid bed for future web estate development. Sometimes, in order to improve things, you have to revaluate what you are working with and simplify it down to a state that is a solid foundation to work from in the future.  

It was also a collaboration between many different people and teams at the University and showed that digital departments can work together and even improve working relationships and processes for future projects.  

Mark Foster, Project Manager in the PMO, had these closing statements on the project and the people he’d met on the long time he spent managing it:  

“Just given the nature of the project over that period of time, there’s been significant or notable numbers of people leaving, joining, seconding in and out, babies being born, there’s all sorts of stuff going on. So that made it quite a bit of a family thing in the end because people sort of religiously came to stand ups.”  


AppsAnywhere for Non-Windows Users

AppsAnywhere is now being extended to allow access to applications for non-Windows users.  Applications are being made available to Mac users, and the service will then be widened to support other devices such as Chromebooks.

Around 15 applications are currently open to Mac users, with work continuing to expand this list.

Mac users can see the available applications on the main page within AppsAnywhere.  (If a Windows user would like to see the applications available to Mac users, they should visit, go to the “OS” tab and select OS X.)  Instructions for setting up and using AppsAnywhere on a Mac can be found in the DTS Knowledge Base here.

If you have questions please contact the IT Service Desk on or using the IT Self Service Portal.

Login changes from 1 September 2020

From the 1 September University staff will have to use their University username plus ‘‘ to log in to University systems (Email, OneDrive for Business, Blackboard, Agresso etc.).

This change allows us to improve security around logins, meaning we can better ensure the safety of work and files. Having one username format for staff when logging also makes the process simpler, as there were many variants before.


What is changing? 

When logging in to University services people used a variety of usernames to login. They will now only use your ‘username’ + ‘‘.


This will be the format for all University of Reading staff including those with other suffixed email addresses (i.e. with the exception our colleagues at the University of Reading Malaysia.

If you joined the University after February 2020, your login will not be impacted by this change.

Please note that you will not need to use this new username to log in to your University devices, or to access RISIS or Canvas at this time.


When is this changing? 

This change will happen from the evening of 1 September 2020.


How will it affect my access? 

When opening your browser to access Office365, for example, you will be prompted to re-enter your login details.

Please ensure you enter <username> in the username field followed by your password where prompted.  Once entered, the browser can save your login information for later use and should not prompt you again.

You may also be prompted to re-enter your log in details on any mobile devices you use, for example where your email account is available on your mobile device.

On logging in for the first time after this change, you may be directed to set up password reset authentication details so that you can reset your own password. This helps ensure the security of your account and should take no more than a few minutes.  We have a handy guide available within our IT Self Service Portal on how to get set up the Self Service Password Reset system.

You may find your browser will “remember” your last login username, and therefore we recommend selecting “Forget this” so that you can enter your new login information.

Our Operations team have put together some helpful advice about what to do if you have issues logging in after the changes are made on Tuesday, you can also find this guide on our IT Self Service Portal.


UPN Change FAQs


Outlook keeps logging me out/I can’t log in to Outlook desktop client

You may find your outlook is struggling to connect after the UPN changeYour outlook will prompt you for your University password (see below) but it will not authenticate no matter how many times you enter it correctly. 

This is because your UPN “unique username” has changed to fit the infrastructure system. Therefore click more choice and then click use a different account 

This will clear the username and password box. 

In the first box enter your UPN as ( followed by your university password. Make sure you click remember my credentials then press ok. 

You will see on the bottom right of outlook that it is connected 

Sometime you have to click under send/receive > send/receive all folders button. 


I can no longer login to OneDrive using my saved bookmark in my web browser?

OneDrive links contain the owner’s username.

Since the username has changed, so has the link. Previously it would have shown similar to this;


But now the link needs to look like;


Please update your link as above


I can now longer open a file that was shared to me via OneDrive?

This is due to path where the file is stored has changed, due to the username changing. The easiest way to resolve is simply ask the file owner to re-share the file.

*However, if you need access urgently you can simply amend the existing link to include their new username. If you do not know their username, simply compose a new email in Outlook and click ‘Address Book’. Search for the user, right click the correct user and choose properties. Their username will be shown in the ‘alias’ field.

An example can be seen below:



My OneNote notebooks are not syncing or opening?

Notebooks are typically saved in your OneDrive folder.

This means the location path has changed due to the username changing. Simply close and re-open the notebooks. Follow these simple Microsoft guides to do so: Closing a notebook in OneNote and Open a notebook in OneNote



New Microsoft Teams guidance for Teaching & Learning

Microsoft Teams is now available to both staff and students. This means that staff now have the opportunity to use the tools available to enhance their teaching and learning and to collaborate individually with students.

The helpful guys over at CQSD TEL have put together two new TEL focused pieces of guidance around Microsoft Teams on their blog:

Further Teams guidance

You can find more guidance on getting the most out of Microsoft Teams from the following University resources:

Need help?

Our friendly staff are always here to help if you need guidance with Microsoft Teams. Contact the IT Service Desk using the IT Self Service Portal or emailing

New Microsoft Teams guidance for Teaching & Learning

Microsoft Teams is now available to both staff and students.  This means that staff now have the opportunity to use the tools available to enhance their teaching and learning and to collaborate individually with students.

The helpful people over at CQSD TEL have put together two new TEL focused pieces of guidance around Microsoft Teams on their blog:

Further Teams guidance

You can find more guidance on getting the most out of Microsoft Teams from the following University resources:

Need help?

Our friendly staff are always here to help if you need guidance with Microsoft Teams. Contact the IT Service Desk using the IT Self Service Portal or emailing

New staff will now reset their password in a different way

We are making a change to the way new staff reset their password. From 15th March, new staff starters will now use secure Microsoft servers to manage changing and resetting their password.

Current staff who started before the 15th of March will still reset their password in the old way of visiting .

Whats changing?

If you forget your password, or wanted to change it for security reasons, you will need to reset it.

The old way: going to

The new way: going to

How do I reset my password?

Follow the short guide below to be guided through the new process.

1. Go to

Go to 

2. Click’Sign in’ and then ‘Can’t access your account?’

Click Sign in in the top right of the page. You will be presented with the above screen. Click ‘Can’t access your account?’

3. Click ‘Work or school account’

On the next page click on the ‘Work or school account’ menu option

4. Enter ‘’ and enter the characters on screen

On the next page enter your University email address in the ‘User ID’ text field. Then enter the characters you seen in the picture on screen. Once completed, click ‘Next’.

5. Select ‘I’ve forgotten my password’

Now select the option for ‘I’ve forgotten my password’ and click ‘Next’

6. Verify yourself by phone number

Now you will be asked to verify yourself via a text message or phone call. Enter your phone number and click ‘Next’

7. Enter the verification code given to you by text or call

Now enter the verification code given to via text or over the phone call into the text field and click ‘Next’

8. Enter your new password

On the final screen, enter your password into both text fields and click ‘Finish’. You have now reset your password.

Need help or further assistance?

Contact the IT Service Desk on x6262, or where our friendly staff are always happy to help.

New University VPN

DTS is pleased to announce the release of a new VPN solution available now for all staff.

The VPN allows you, when working remotely, to access internal systems that require a connection to the University network.

This new VPN has a larger capacity meaning that more people can make use of it at the same time. It also increases security when making a connection to the University network, keeping your work and important documents safer.

Who can use the VPN?

All staff are able to make use of the VPN but students must apply through the IT Self Service Portal. However, only those who need to access systems that require a connection the University network need to use it. Most the tools you use day to day do not require the VPN, this includes Email and Calendar, OneDrive, Teams and Office 365 apps.

A full list of what systems require the VPN is available on the VPN knowledge base guides.

How do I get access?

DTS have provided 2 knowledgebase guides on connecting to the VPN:

Important: you will need to authenticate your connection

When using your University account to login to the VPN you will need to verify yourself using Multi Factor Authentication, either via the Microsoft Authenticator app or a phone line. Full details and guides can be found on the Remote Services Access page.

Need help?

If you have questions or want help connecting to the VPN please contact the IT Service Desk on or using the IT Self Service Portal.

Removal of Apple QuickTime from University Windows Devices

Support for Apple QuickTime ended in 2016. Due to this, it is now considered a security risk and is scheduled to be removed from University computers.  Apple have released the following information about QuickTime in their Knowledge Base (

“QuickTime 7 for Windows is no longer supported by Apple. New versions of Windows since 2009 have included support for the key media formats, such as H.264 and AAC, that QuickTime 7 enabled. All current Windows web browsers support video without the need for browser plug-ins.”

Unsupported software often has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and QuickTime is extremely vulnerable to attack.

IT will be remotely removing QuickTime from 228 computers that have it installed from the 10th of February.

If you need to use QuickTime please contact the IT Service Desk to discuss your requirements:

See our web page on unsupported software for more information on the importance of keeping software up to date:


ActivEdition issue – error when logging in

This issue has now been resolved and logging into and editing content on ActivEdition is available again.

ActivEdition editing has been unavailable since about 8:45 Wednesday morning due to an error when logging in.

This means that users cannot change content on AE pages or login to the system.

We reported it to the supplier (C2)  yesterday at around 12. They had problems accessing our servers – but since late morning today they have been able to access the servers. We have to await confirmation from the supplier that they have fixed the issue.

We will update you here as soon as we know more.

ActivEdition website brief interruption (viewing, editing) – 27th November 17:00

Unfortunately, as we are seeing problems with ActivEdition today, we will have to postpone this maintenance until the 4 December.

The ActivEdition web site will experience a brief interruption around 17:00 GMT 27th November in order to carry out essential maintenance.

Content Editing will be unavailable between 15:00-21:00 GMT on 27th November.