Business Challenge

St Joseph’s College new IT Director faced a major challenge when he assumed the role. The culture he inherited was one of building and managing technology with little emphasis placed on serving the educational and administrative needs of the College. The College’s infrastructure was dated and consisted of 60 servers hosting dedicated applications. Unreliable hardware was creating a huge workload for support staff, burdening them with the task of fielding more than 300 service desk calls a week. This situation posed a serious risk to business service availability. In the event of an unplanned outage, how soon could services be restored and when would full service production be back online?

To begin an infrastructure renewal program, a future roadmap was defined to align the project’s goals with the IT Director’s vision;

St Joseph's college

Overview

Company: St Joseph’s College
Website: terrace.qld.edu.au
Locations: Brisbane, AU
Vertical: Education
Employees: 250
Established: 1875

Fact

  • IT staff now focus on providing services that are customer focussed
  • Infrastructure resilience has been improved reducing support calls by 80%
  • Employee productivity has been increased thanks to better system performance and service availability
  • New services can be commissioned in a fraction of the time previously needed, increasing the organisation’s agility

Services and Products

  • Consulting and High Level Design
  • Office 365 Cloud Productivity Applications
  • Cloud Services
  • Azure Cloud Infrastructure
  • Federated Identity Integrated with Active Directory
  • Managed Network & Data Links with SIP

“Our technology transformation required vision and high levels of cloud expertise. Our partner MOQdigital helped us deliver on the high expectations we set”

Brett Auton
Director – IT, St Joseph’s College

About St Joseph’s College

Queensland education performance rankings consistently places St Joseph’s College in the top 2% of high achieving secondary schools. The College is located on the fringe of Brisbane’s CBD and caters to the needs of more than 1,300 year 5-12 students. The College’s goals of building character and delivering scholastic achievement are balanced against a strong commitment to social justice and selfless contribution to the community. St Joseph’s embraces technology at all levels as demonstrated by their practice of students providing service desk assistance to help fellow classmates tackle complex computing issues.

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Business Challenge

St Joseph’s new IT Director faced a major challenge when he assumed the role. The culture he inherited was one of building and managing technology with little emphasis placed on serving the educational and administrative needs of the College. The College’s infrastructure was dated and consisted of 60 servers hosting dedicated applications. Unreliable hardware was creating a huge workload for support staff, burdening them with the task of fielding more than 300 service desk calls a week. This situation posed a serious risk to business service availability. In the event of an unplanned outage, how soon could services be restored and when would full service production be back online?

To begin an infrastructure renewal program, a future roadmap was defined to align the project’s goals with the IT Director’s vision;

Redirect resources: 

The College’s IT culture had traditionally focussed on a DIY culture to build technology. The vision for the future was to refocus the IT personnel from technology builders to service deliverers.

Create a more agile environment: 

Commissioning new services often required weeks, depending on the availability of hardware and the time needed to sign off expenditure approvals. Adding extra hardware increased the cost, workload and complexity of managing the IT environment.

Reduce risk: 

The College’s business operations could be crippled in the event of a natural disaster. Service availability and disaster recovery planning were vital to bringing the College’s business continuity capabilities into line with industry best practice. This risk to the business had to be resolved.

Solution

St Joseph’s re-engineering initiative began by engaging with MOQdigital’s Professional Services Group to review strategy and set a 3-5 year technology roadmap that framed the College’s goals. It was important that the objectives were validated and high-level Cloud expertise added to reduce any project implementation risks. Some of the College’s end-of-life legacy applications had to be retained because migrating them to the Cloud made little business sense. Porting applications from the College’s unreliable commodity services to the Cloud was the first deliverable, with the remaining servers used to host end-of-life applications. Microsoft’s Azure Cloud was used as it met the project goals from an operational and management perspective. Nagging concerns about the business’s ability to restore services in the event of a natural disaster were allayed as more services including backup were ported to the Cloud and redundant WAN links were added to the College. As part of the refresh, MOQdigital assumed responsibility for network monitoring of voice and data services and provided centralised billing to simplify accounting and service level management.

Implementation

The project was implemented in a methodical staged process defined by the detailed planning sessions held with the Professional Services Team from MOQdigital. Because of the College’s use of Active Directory, student and staff migration, user security and authentication procedures were simplified during the transitional phase of the project.

Results

By measuring the outcomes against the project goals, the re-engineering project has built a resilient and agile environment. The time required to spin-up a new server in the cloud is now only a few hours and the number of support calls has declined by 80%. Productivity has improved while the headcount in the IT group has fallen by 20%, with no adverse effect on service delivery. Prior to the project, the team consisted of subject matter experts who were responsible for silos of technology. The school’s technology team have broadened their skills and are more adaptable: this is a complete change from the previous culture. Even simple changes like providing a single point of support contact and simplified accounting have improved processes and reduced operating costs.

Summary

  • Support calls have been reduced by 80% because procedures and technology have been improved
  • The IT team has been revamped and skills redirected to focus on outcomes, not technology
  • The productivity of the IT department has been improved while staff numbers have decreased
  • By creating a robust and agile IT environment the College can restore business services quickly and meet the goals of their business continuity planning