the benefits Harnessing

of Tr ICT:

serv Trust-wide

harmonise IT T: howto

expenditure reduce IT

rvices and re

and promote ICT to a heightened strategic level across the Trust – both in the classroom and the boardroom – positioning IT as an enabler of innovation, rather than a costly inhibitor. In truth there isn’t a practical alternative –

maintaining disparate islands of IT across theMAT will hinder any drive towards efficiency in any cross-site function. The human productivity costs of discrete back-office and classroom systems can only grow as the number of systems, processes and sites continues to grow. At head office, daily inefficiencies with inconsistent data, or with cross- si o

perational efficiency until they are addressed. te communications will derail efforts for

The earlier aMAT can close the technology gap, the faster (substantial) cost and capability benefits will emerge from an optimal approach to IT. If integration is postponed, IT teams will move in different directions; and juggling those systems and teams will drag against a leadership team’s success.

I ‘Digital Transformation’ is a complex

n our first look thismonth at technology in and around the classroom, Chris Tyler, CEO of IT services specialist SyscommLtd, examines howMAT serv

financial savingswhich can then be passed rvices and achieve operational and

on to the classroom. The operational and financial incentives forMATs

wide harmonisation of IT systems is an important attractive and plotting a course towards Trust- to consolidate their trust-wide operations are

The dream of schools sharing a consistent and step in the journey.

sharing information and accessing resources from reliable ICT platform, improving collaboration,

curriculum is appealing, and that consistency also anywhere whilst delivering a leading digital

of virtually anyMAT operation in any department Interconnected IT serves to boost the efficiency paves the way to a scalable, leading Trust.

Strong foundations are built to last

Build your IT as you would a building – ensure the network foundations are fit for purpose, that the system can adapt and is built to last. ‘Buyer’s remorse’ once you’re up and running with multi- site operations will be costly and disruptive – take the time to build it right first time.

Leadership appreciating the art-of-the-possible from IT will be helpful when outlining the vision clearly to your Network Architects. Validate their designs with technical expertise to ensure it’s up to the job, and is future proofed in line with your


confluence of vision, design, delivery and people. There’s every chance that the path to

ATs can consolidate their IT

harmonisation may not be entirely harmonious. It’s essential to get the fundamentals right first ti o si

te infrastructure requires a structurally different rientated IT teams should recognise that multi- me, and leadership and local curriculum

architecture to IT within an individual Academy.

vision – the IT crystal ball is murky indeed, but the fundamentals of good network design are not, and good practice will sustain theMAT for a decade or more.

The multi-site network will underpin every part of your trust-wide IT convergence; ensure it’s robust and every future classroom or back-office IT application can then be simply categorised as another network service that glides across the smooth surface of a performant, seemingly invisible network that creates no fuss.

Avoid stretching what infrastructure you have without thorough consideration.Much can be reused, but the architectural approach to multi- site networking is different; if stretching will create cracks, or divergence from best practice then the network and every application it

supports is adrift. Efforts to patch real-time issues leads to further divergence in technology and teams, adding new complexities over time.

An enterprise approach Effective multi-site c achievable and is co

mmon practice in business; onvergence is quite

but aMAT should appreciate the scale of the overall infrastructure.With student numbers exceeding enrolment at many universities plus headcount at the entire DfE, the infrastructure must be delivered to an ‘enterprise’ standard and capable of non-stop 24/7 operation for thousands of users.

The design requiresWide Area Networking and Data Centre expertise to deliver a fault tolerant architecture that can be maintained without enforced out-of-hours work for stretched IT teams.

Seek specialist expertise in these areas and with experience delivering a no-compromise solution within aMulti-Academy ICT budget. Finding enterprise-class advice that is practical and affordable will de-risk your journey towards IT

Identify a technol nirvana!

ogy vendor with enterprise March 2020

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