Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical School (“BPRTS”) uses a wide variety of technology on a daily basis, however their IT staff was stretched too thin. They didn’t have time for strategic planning because they were focused on daily repairs, which meant that technology projects were put on hold, leaving the school at risk for falling behind the technology curve. Even though the focus was on daily maintenance, there was no workable system in place for managing issues and requests. Users complained frequently about repair requests that were never resolved.
“Over time, we started to get more and more reports that people’s technology wasn’t working properly,” says Dr. Richard W. Gross, Superintendent for BPRTS. “Across the board, from the classrooms to the offices, we were not able to keep up with IT repair and maintenance requests. Technology works in education, but only if you use it. An interactive white board isn’t useful to teachers or students if it’s gathering dust,” he continues. “That’s the kind of thing we were seeing. I felt like we were wasting our investments and throwing good money after bad.”
Dr. Gross asked Custom Computer Specialists (“Custom”) to develop an approach for delivering IT services that met the following goals:
- Improved customer service—Reduce the response time to handle repair and maintenance requests
- Increased efficiency—Improve productivity by enabling strategic IT planning and creating a management system for day-to-day IT activities
- Lowered cost—Decrease the cost of providing IT service
Any successful solution had to plan for the transition of BPRTS’s existing full time IT staff; an IT director, a system administrator and two technical specialists. Dr. Gross and the school district did not want these four employees to lose their jobs.
Together, Custom and the district crafted a creative solution: Custom offered jobs to all four employees, planning to deploy them in other areas of its IT consultancy. Then Custom assigned two new, full-time staff members to work onsite.
To ensure good communications and planning, Dr. Gross tapped the school’s IT teacher to serve as the part-time IT director since she had worked in that role at a previous school. As IT director, she serves as the interface between Custom and the district, driving strategic planning and spearheading new initiatives based on feedback from teachers, staff, and Custom.
In addition to two, full time service providers on site, Custom’s solution incorporated remote management of the school’s server and network infrastructure. This holistic approach was approved by Dr. Gross, the School Personnel Subcommittee and the School Committee. “Finding a comprehensive technology support solution was critical for the district. We wanted to do the right thing for the school, the community, the staff, and the students, without hurting employees in the process,” he explains. “Custom was willing to engage on this. They didn’t hesitate to help us figure out a solution that was a win-win for everybody.”
Once the project was approved, Custom began implementation. They immediately started to function as the school’s IT department, monitoring switches and servers remotely and implementing IT help desk software to manage maintenance and repair requests and track repair data. The onsite and remote Custom service providers met weekly with the school’s IT director to be aware of user feedback and to handle future project planning. In addition, to improve network performance (an issue uncovered during the assessments), Custom remediated and upgraded BPRTS’s technology infrastructure, redesigned the network wiring and installed a wireless network. The school is currently working on a virtualization project. Phase one involves virtualizing its old server network; phase two will take virtualization to the desktop. When complete, this will result in significant cost savings on heating, electricity and
Custom helped BPRTS meet the goals specified by Dr. Gross of improved customer service, increased efficiency, and lower costs.
Improved customer service. Dr. Gross says that complaints about IT service have ended. He attributes this to the diversity of talent that Custom brings to the table. “We’re able to do more with less because we have a much broader diversity of IT experience now,” he continues. “Before, we were locked into the expertise of the staff. If they didn’t know something, they didn’t have anywhere to turn. Now, we have access to the full range of Custom’s knowledge. There is an entire team behind the people we have onsite. If they do get stumped, all they have to do is pick up the phone and call a team member.”
Increased efficiency. All key customer support processes have been documented, allowing Custom staff to respond quickly to repair and maintenance requests and eliminating dependence on a single person. The repair ticket queue has been reduced from more than 150 open tickets to roughly 45 at any given time, and the IT staff closes approximately 80 tickets per week. Most complaints are resolved the same day. In addition, BPRTS’s network was stabilized and performance improved dramatically after the Custom team untangled, reworked and documented its complicated wiring. Network outages are infrequent.
Lower costs. The district saved money by having two full-time and one part-time staff instead of four full-time staff. “We have a better IT solution that’s more efficient and our users are happy,” summarizes Dr. Gross. “And it actually costs us less than what we were paying before.”
With Custom Computer Specialists, BPRTS was able to achieve its goals. “I’ve been through similar projects before. People promise you the moon and you don’t even get any stardust,” notes Dr. Gross. “But from the sales staff to the techs, Custom kept every promise they made.”