Cloud transformation for Pendle Education Trust

Background

Pendle Education Trust is a family of five schools in Lancashire (three primary schools and two secondary schools), with over 2,000 pupils.

Pendle Education Trust has a small internal IT team. They initially approached BCN Group to provide third-party IT support. However, shortly after we were engaged to work with them, Covid-19 and lockdown happened. The trust required advice and support in helping them modernise their infrastructure, and rapidly adopt cloud-based communication and collaboration software which would enable them to work remotely share lessons and resources online.

Discover and Propose

As a first project, we began providing third-line support to Pendle Education Trust. From this, we began helping them to identify and break down the problems that are holding them back and limiting them from an IT and infrastructure perspective.

The Trust had an aging on-premise infrastructure that was not fit for purpose and did not lend itself to the new blended learning environment which is a combination of class learning and online learning. Covid-19 magnified these challenges with staff being required to plan for delivering classes and resources online as well as in a live environment.

Before BCN Group started working with Pendle Education Trust, four of the five schools had access to Microsoft Office 365 but were hardly using it. Some people used the email functionality but not all. Most users were on old versions of Outlook. Many PCs did not have Windows 10. Data and documents were stored on on-premise servers with no cloud backup. These inconsistencies across licenses and devices were causing a myriad of problems leading to an inability to communicate and operate securely, efficiently, and productively.

Each of the five schools had a separate tenancy, meaning that collaboration, communication, and shared access to data and files was not possible between sites. From a Trust-wide perspective, this made it difficult for management to get a single view of what was happening across the organisation. Compiling management reports was very manual and time-consuming. Data was held in silos across tenancies, often replicated, with no central data repository.

Separate tenancies made it difficult for teachers from different schools to collaborate, communicate and share resources and information. Some teachers worked across sites but only had access to one tenancy.

Transform & Adopt

In working with Pendle Education Trust, we have helped them to identify and break down the problems that are holding them back and limiting them from an IT and infrastructure perspective.

In the ten months we have been working with Pendle Education Trust we have delivered the following:

Supply and installation of a new servers, migration of all data over from a failing servers and the decommissioning of the failing server.

IT consultancy in relation to IT strategy and transformation for infrastructure and cloud migration.

Four of the five schools have moved away from separate tenancies and are now on a single Microsoft tenancy. This means that all data and documents are now stored in a central repository for Microsoft 365.

All users are on the same version of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Teams training has been delivered to all staff.

Configuration of Microsoft security stack.

The above changes have transformed how the Trust operates, which has been essential in continuing to deliver education during these disruptive times. The Trust now uses the Microsoft 365 suite consistently and extensively for all teaching and business practices, including meetings, lessons, calls, document storage, homework, communication channels.

Manage & Evolve

Having initially been taken on predominantly to provide third-line support to the Trust, BCN Group now provide integrated support and solutions across cloud transformation, security, infrastructure, software, and procurement of kit.

We continue to support the Trust with their ongoing IT and infrastructure evolution, and crucially when and how to do this so it is affordable and manageable. Our regular ‘blue sky’ meetings allow us to share insight, updates, ideas, and ongoing recommendations for the Trust’s ongoing digital transformation.

“ BCN have been able to help us identify the problems we’ve got – they are an extension to the team rather than an outsourced resource. ”

Finance Director, Pendle Education Trust