Craven College has seen a dramatic increase in student numbers over recent years, with old IT and AV equipment in its teaching rooms, it needed a major overhaul across its estate to improve the experience for both students and staff. As part of this development, it needed a trusted advisor to recommend, supply and deploy the new technology.
Gareth Dixon, Vice Principal of Finance and Resources at Craven College described the challenges faced: “The equipment we had was on average seven years old, consequently we were suffering from poor performance and low satisfaction rates from our students. Adrian Lawson, Head of Information Technology at the college had long identified that inefficiencies with the technology was a challenge the college needed to face.” Adrian remarked, “When I arrived at Craven College there was no refresh cycle, so a lot of the machines were really struggling on a day-to-day basis and even more so with the move to remote teaching - video calling on Microsoft Teams was near enough impossible”.
Gareth added: “I must say, it wasn’t achieved solely by us. We saw a growth in student numbers which then provided us with the additional funding that allowed us to make this investment and provide a better service to our students”
Adrian explained: “Craven College was a client of Apogee for 18 months prior to the IT refresh. They were tasked with the installation and management of our print devices.
“As the roll out of the printers was occurring, I was speaking with Tom Proudfoot, Apogee’s Deployment Services Manager, when it came to light that the managed services provider’s expertise included Managed IT Services (MITS), as well as Managed Print Services (MPS) and that the same level of service is offered on these devices.
“I explained to Tom that I was looking for the ‘best of breed’. The IT needs to be reliable, secure, and the service agreement must guarantee the performance over the duration of the contract.”
Tom Proudfoot commented: “One of the main paint points that the college has is in terms of supporting such roll outs - a small IT department to deploy circa 900 PCs or laptops would be very time and resource consuming”.
Once the senior management team gave their full support, the college was able to devise what an affordable solution would be. According to Gareth, “The need for technology is an area that’s developed so quickly that if colleges were to go out and buy this equipment themselves, in three, four, maybe five years at best, they’ll be facing obsolescence and that’s a significant bill on colleges.
“In my opinion, we don’t get paid as much as we should do from central government, and that makes a large capital investment unaffordable. Technology can also cost money when you’re least expecting it. With Apogee, we know exactly how much we’ll be paying for the next four years.”
The College’s route to market also had to be through a compliant purchasing framework, a key tenet for any education sector organisation, college, or university. With their 18 months of experience dealing with Apogee, Craven College found that not only was their current supplier a proven route to market, but it instilled confidence in their investment in an IT infrastructure overhaul with the backing of framework quantified supplier. By going through the education framework, Craven College could establish through the tender process the very best of what Apogee’s Managed IT Services (MITS) could offer the education sector, and therefore what they in turn could expect to receive.