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Microsoft Suite & IT Infrastructure Package

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Salford City College, formed by the merger of three separate colleges across five sites, faced the challenge of managing different IT infrastructures and outdated hardware. Chess added value by implementing a centralized end user computing solution, replacing aging desktop hardware, and launching new DLZs in line with the college's IT strategy. Assessing the IT estate across all sites was crucial for initiating the digital transformation project

  • Implement centralised end user computing solution
  • Replace aging desktop hardware across all five sites
  • Launch new Digital Learning Zones (DLZ's)  in line with new IT strategy

The Business Challenge

With five outstanding centres, Salford City College pride themselves on their high values, quality standards and excellent facilities.

Their mission is to ‘Inspire and empower people to create and take opportunities to enrich lives through learning’ and this year sees a huge focus on making that happen through cutting edge digital resources. As part of their £9m investment into developing their centres and with our
help, Salford City College have launched a number of high-tech and highly exciting (DLZs) across their sites, for the start of September term 2016.

They wanted to make sure their quality of service for students working remotely was just as good as the service they offered for their students on campus

The Solution

Working in partnership with Salford City College, our learnings and recommendations were used to shape the overall strategy, implementation plan and budget allocation, even down to determining what aspects of the project could be CapEx Vs. OpEx.

Our team of experts lead presentations to both the IT team and Senior Leadership Team (SLT). It was clear from the start that we had become a trusted strategic ICT partner.

Salford City College wanted to launch their new DLZs for the start of term, with less than five weeks and five separate sites, this was a truly ambitious plan. We produced water tight project plans and streamlined operations by preparing equipment off-site and delivering to secure locations with minimum packaging. We put contingencies in place and had extra support staff on stand-by so even when we were hit by unforeseen building delays, our dedicated team worked around the clock into the evenings and weekends to ensure the schedule stayed on track.

"Paving the way for more online and blended learning — staff and students can now quickly and easily access desktops and applications from any PC on campus. This means they can work more flexibly from a variety of locations and use their own devices on and off the college network."

The Outcome

The DLZs allow students to share and collaborate via Canvas and Cloud services offered by Microsoft Office 365’s platform.

The sophistication of facilities means the college can now support any device, breaking the mould in traditional learning environments and enabling a Bring Your Own Device strategy (BYOD), a first if it’s kind within the education sector in Greater Manchester.

Our engagement started with a strategic review of the College’s IT Services; including a detailed health-check of the IT infrastructure and systems together with a high-level skills analysis. This resulted in the joint development of an IT Strategy and a three-year investment plan; and with Salford City College’s drive to be the best, we embarked on a challenging Digital Transformation plan starting with the DLZ.

"Significant changes were required, with limited finances and an extremely short deadline. However, this large-scale brief was achieved within budget and met the deadlines."

Deborah Millar, Director of Digital & IT Services, Salford City College

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