This is a sponsored article.
The Schools ICT Services division of East Sussex Local Authority supports 194 schools. During 2009, East Sussex Local Authority began a strategic review of all ICT Services including those provided to schools. An extensive consultation process with schools was undertaken, to better understand the ‘customer’ requirements from an IT service point of view; members of the school ICT support team at East Sussex also visited other Local Authorities to see how school ICT services were being delivered elsewhere. This process ultimately led to a complete re-design of school IT support services within East Sussex.
Whilst East Sussex had good ‘buy in’ from schools into their IT support services, the nature of the services had hardly changed over time. In addition the service delivery itself was resource-intensive, based as it was on a ‘reactive’ approach to IT-related problems, and on-site school visits by a technician once a fortnight. Feedback from the schools also indicated that the services could be improved – schools wanted better value for money and a predictable cost for their IT support. In essence schools just wanted their IT to work.
The East Sussex team believed that with the appropriate use of technology, IT support to schools could be transformed from a reactive model to a proactive one, delivering better services more efficiently. The ultimate objective was to reduce IT downtime in schools and increase customer satisfaction, for a single, predictable cost to schools – a ‘Premier Service’ that would meet the joint challenges of schools’ increasing reliance on IT and the budget cuts brought about by the Coalition’s deficit reduction plan.
A key element of the project hinged on finding the right IT management technology that could underpin the new IT service delivery model. The team at East Sussex knew that unless they could gain complete visibility and control of the supported school IT environments, providing effective support would be impossible. They also recognised that there were thousands of manual, repetitive IT tasks being undertaken across East Sussex schools under the old support model – if these could be automated, or circumvented, the efficiency savings would be enormous.
Kris Scruby, ICT Deputy Schools Services Manager, reviewed and compared a host of IT management solutions and after a period of testing selected CentraStage. “CentraStage is designed specifically for IT service providers, and it gives us centralised visibility and control of every device in all our supported schools. We have been able to automate and streamline large parts of our IT support, evolving our new support model to better meet the schools’ requirements. With such pressure on budgets it was a key factor that we are able to purchase CentraStage on a pay-as-you-go type model, allowing us to adapt our IT service model over time without huge capital investment” explains Scruby.
The schools ICT support team in East Sussex have transformed the way they deliver IT support to schools. The results are compelling:
- School buy in to the new Premier Service has exceeded expectations
- School feedback is hugely positive about the new commercial and service delivery model of IT support
- East Sussex has already seen the % of IT tasks that can be resolved remotely/automatically increase from 15% to a staggering 60%
- Reduction in mileage costs and emissions for school IT visits
- A platform to offer new services to schools is now in place e.g. centralised power management.
Shirley Hamilton, Assistant Director and Head of ICT at East Sussex explains, “By undertaking this review, we have been able to radically change the historic nature of ICT Support Services in our schools. This has bought about an improved quality of response and enhanced proactive monitoring. Additional remote services have increased our green credentials.”
CentraStage is an IT management platform with a difference. Designed to be simple to set up and manage, highly scalable and very cost effective, CentraStage offers audit and asset management, monitoring, deployment and device configuration, remote support, and reporting through a fully web-based platform.