Ulster University gets started with Microsoft Purview

Solution Summary

Ulster University has a national and international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement, making a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland. Across research, teaching and professional services, Ulster University needs to appropriately manage significant volumes of information around its students, staff, courses and campuses.

With thousands of physical records, the University had a clear need for a new digital records management solution based in Microsoft 365. Intelogy worked closely with Ulster University to assess its requirements and translate the existing file plan and retention schedule into an architecture of SharePoint sites complete with retention labels. This structure was then rapidly implemented by Intelogy, providing the University with a hub for storage of all its future records. The well-received solution made significant use of event-based retention labels, which trigger the start of retention around academic, financial and calendar years.

“Effective Digital Records management and the protection of information and data is critical to University operations and a key enabler of our Digitisation programme. Our investment within the Microsoft 365 Compliance Centre, and partnership with Microsoft and Intelogy, is successfully enabling our Digital Strategy in the delivery of robust, scalable, resilient, and performant applications to deliver information at the right time, in the right setting, on the right device, in context and in a secure way”.

– Mark Taglietti, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Ulster University

“It was great to be able to revolutionise the process of managing records across such as prestigious institution. Making use of event-based retention labels, which are aligned around calendar and academic years has allowed us to provide a cutting edge and largely automated solution, which has radically improved the ability to process digital records across the University”.

– Rob Bath, Knowledge & Information Management Practice Lead, Intelogy


In 2018 Ulster University recognised that while much progress had been made towards adoption of digital working, many files were still frequently being processed physically. This was especially the case for records, where the University maintains thousands of files spanning decades.

The University launched a Digitisation Project, which aimed to move to a paper-lite environment by introducing a digital first approach for processes. This initiative aims to reduce the volume of paper records held by at least 85%. The introduction of a digital records management solution was identified as a key component that would help the University meet this objective. One of the key challenges that the University faced was how best to translate its existing file plan and retention schedule, which had been defined primarily with physical files in mind, so that it could be applied to a digital records management solution.

Solution Strategy – Microsoft Purview Configuration

Having already selected Microsoft 365 for collaboration and storage, the University’s records management team decided that the platform’s retention capabilities would provide them with the best approach for managing digital records. Recognising the specialism of configuring Microsoft Purview, Ulster University selected Intelogy as its partner to oversee the design and
implementation of its records management hub.

With a dedicated Knowledge & Information Management practice, Intelogy’s team is at the very forefront of records management in Microsoft 365. Shaping the engagement, a series of workshops helped to identify the University’s understanding of Microsoft Purview’s capabilities and provide skills transfer where needed. This process empowered the University to make informed decisions about the nature of its future records management solution. One of the key challenges was translating Ulster University’s existing file plan and retention schedule into an architecture that would best meet its needs. By evaluating the file plan in detail, our team defined a detailed model for retention labels, including how they are triggered, their duration and whether they result in disposition review or automated deletion.

It was especially important to the University that many of the retention periods only began at the end of the academic, financial and calendar years. In order to realise this, Intelogy made extensive use of Microsoft’s ‘event-based’ retention labels. This approach necessitated the seeding of default date metadata across content, removing the need for manual classification. The result of this approach has allowed the University to automatically trigger the start of retention for thousands of files in accordance with its retention schedule.

Ulster University also required certain retention periods to be triggered when individual files are superseded. Having evaluated the different approaches that would allow us to achieve this, it was determined that the most appropriate option was to have two separate retention labels in these scenarios. A ‘permanent’ default label could then be exchanged for a retention label with a much shorter duration when the item is superseded. As this step is manual, Intelogy made sure that the name given to each retention label was as intuitive as possible, to avoid confusion or potential error.To implement the architecture, our team created PowerShell scripts that created a SharePoint Hub, containing a series of separate sites. Each site contained multiple libraries, with default metadata and retention labels applied.


With Intelogy’s guidance Ulster University was able to successfully make use of the retention capabilities provided in Microsoft 365, by using them to craft a records management solution that fully supports the retention schedule. The University has now successfully launched its tailored records management hub, which is quickly becoming a central repository for all of its digital retention.

Attention has now switched to the scanning and migration of decades of records into the new hub. Once complete, the University will be well on its way to meeting its objective of moving to a paper-lite operating model.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have Microsoft Purview requirements. Our experts would be happy to help.

“It was a pleasure to work with Intelogy on delivering an innovative solution to digital records management. The Intelogy team were able to translate our requirements into a user-friendly end-product that automatically assigns retention and disposal policies. We look forward to continuing to work with Intelogy in the future."

– Fiona Lamont, Digital Records Manager, Ulster University