Galway and Roscommon Education Training Board

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About Galway and Roscommon Education Training Board

Galway and Roscommon Education Training Board (GRETB) is headquartered in Athenry, Co. Galway and has 1,800 staff delivering administration, education programmes and services to over 50 locations and 20,000 learners. GRETBs mission is to support individuals through learning, to achieve their full potential and contribute to social, cultural and economic development.

GRETB has developed a range of educational provisions to meet the diverse and ever changing demands of learners across its key areas - 20 second level schools, an extensive adult education service and post-leaving certificate courses, partnership initiatives and education support services.

The requirements

GRETB were working with a number of IT suppliers for core services and had various IT systems in place, including: IT infrastructure, email, payroll, telephony and managed print. With such a disparate structure and ageing systems, there was need to digitally transform the technology provision across the ETB with one centralised supplier.

GRETB began a process to appoint a managed service provider to implement a digital transformation programme and to supply and support their head office and schools with an IT managed service from the IT infrastructure to network management, backup and DR, hardware and security management and reporting.

The ICT managed service

In 2017, Smartschools – part of Capita plc were appointed a 3 year contract as the service provider on a framework to supply GRETBs head office, schools and adult learning centres with ICT Managed Services

The framework includes support and maintenance for the core ICT infrastructure from servers, to switches and network and hardware devices. It also includes third line support from Capita’s education IT specialists and monitoring and alerting service covering the core IT infrastructure, hardware and backups. In addition Capita has been appointed to design, manage and implement additional ICT projects.

Capita provide GRETB with an additional 20 days per year for specialist technical engineers to carry out any additional required ICT support activities. These range from support on individual sites to activities such as broadband upgrades

Transition and service go-live

Following contract sign the first stage was the service transition programme, this started with a workshop to understand the incumbent IT service structure and suppliers. This workshop was closely followed with a technical team undertaking a discovery project, to identify the network, server and IT environment across all GRETB locations.

During the discovery process, it was identified that no two sites had the same IT infrastructure, firewalls or VPN’s in place. Network diagrams were developed to provide a clear view of the IT environment and to support the design and implementation of the new consolidated IT infrastructure.

As the transition programme was on-going, service go-live took place in parallel. Capita’s Service Desk quickly started taking support calls, resolving queries remotely and technical staff were deployed to individual GRETB locations ensuring the service was running smoothly everywhere, including schools on the Aran Islands.

Capita IT experts and client service teams met regularly with GRETB to discuss future projects, understanding what their IT vision was and improvements they wanted. Capita advised GRETB on a technical roadmap to undertake improvement projects and the best-fit solutions to achieve their vision. During the go-live programme, a Back-up improvement project was completed, moving GRETB onto an Azure Back-up solution as it was seen to be the best time and complemented the new consolidated service.

The consolidated IT service is now in place across all 50 GRETB sites and regular service calls and meetings take place with Capita’s dedicated service engagement manager, ensuring the service is operating efficiently.

“The ICT service delivered by Capita has enabled GRETB to consolidate our IT infrastructure and ensure the network is operating effectively, while having the opportunity to increase our IT support as and when we need it. By working with one supplier, the IT across GRETB has become much more-easier to manage on day to day basis and enabled us to plan for digital improvement projects in the future. Throughout the transition and go-live process, the Capita team worked with us, meeting our requirements and deploying a technical team where required and I look forward to continue working with the team to deliver GRETBs IT strategy”
John O’Donnell, Head of Information Technology, Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board.

The outcomes

    1. All sites across GRETB have the same IT infrastructure in place, meaning in the future trialing new teaching technology and software will become far simpler – and it significantly easier to collaborate across ETB schools and share best practice

    2. Moving from a working with a number of IT systems and suppliers to one has resulted in less time is spent co-ordinating and managing separate contracts by the IT team and more time focusing on improvements.

    3. Working with Capita, the GRETB IT team has access to a team of education and technical experts, delivering improvement projects and ensuring the IT service is running as it should with pro-active monitoring and back-ups, a service desk, field engineer support and a dedicated client delivery manager.

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