Transforming education in Ireland

Paul Roche, Ireland Sales Director for Capita Managed IT Solutions, looks at how the partnership of the IT powerhouse with Smartschools offers the Irish education sector unprecedented levels of expertise and agility at the most challenging of times.

The increasing demand from students on third level education is at an all-time high, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. In an economy and world where careers are often difficult to ignite, students are rightly seeking more than certified qualification, they want what employers need – skills that can be adopted in the workplace. The increasing number of students is placing pressure on universities, not only in regard to physical space, but on their back-end IT infrastructures. Balancing the focus on skills development whilst also offering an environment to meet technology demands is challenging, and this is where Capita has the expertise and offerings to help.

Capita specialises in delivering enterprise level IT Services to the education sector. For more than 30 years, the company has developed a strong heritage working with schools, colleges and universities, building a deep understanding of the challenges and key opportunities faced by education establishments.

In 2016 Capita formed a strategic partnership with Wexford-based Smartschools, combining Capita’s technology capability with Smartschools’ local market expertise. The partnership enables Capita to bring new services to schools and extend its enterprise solutions to the Further and Higher Education sectors in Ireland. Undoubtedly, however, the shared aim in the partnership is to digitally transform services to enable, facilitate and ensure students are prepared with key skills for working life.

Team of education specialists

Capita generates approximately £5 billion per year and is instantly recognised in the UK as a leading Business Process Outsource organisation, but in Ireland it is very different. From its centres of excellence in Dublin and Belfast, Capita designs and delivers bespoke solutions for the education sector, the most impressive of which is its solution for Northern Ireland schools – Europe’s largest and first ever education cloud solution! The Capita and Smartschools partnership brings a perfect balance of specialist technology experts for a plethora of services combined with unrivalled local industry experience. Additionally, Capita’s unparalleled education IT expertise and enterprise knowledge is further underpinned by its partnerships with leading technology vendors from across the world.

Strategic partnerships: Delivering best-in-class value and innovation

Capita has unparalleled experience of working across a range of key sectors, but the one similarity with all our customers is the strong reliance on a scalable, stable and secure back-end IT infrastructure. This is what we see as the single-most important thing a college or university must get right in order to deliver student satisfaction. Without reliable, secure and high-performing network and wireless solutions, the use of technology, regardless of its capabilities, falls flat. A seamless wireless provision means students can work from any location across campus, learning resources can be accessed easily on numerous devices, and collaboration is genuinely achievable.

Of course, at the heart of all of this, is security. Recent events and statistics have quickly catapulted online security to the top of the agenda for most organisations regardless of size or industry, and it’s this behind-the-scenes infrastructure that is Capita’s absolute strength. The company is renowned for scaling security based on serving the right technology for each unique customer need, and is at the forefront of ensuring technology and education are properly aligned.

To ensure the Irish education market has access to and best leverages emerging technologies, Capita brings together the globe’s finest education technology partners. For us, it’s crucial to deliver the most innovative education technology solutions for specific client issues and objectives. It is these strategic technology partnerships that offer all the educational and enterprise benefits that students have come to expect. From working with Google and Microsoft’s suites of educational cloud tools to end-user devices, digital display, and student management information systems, Capita has become a tried and trusted one-stop-shop for all educational IT requirements.

Ease of engagement

Large organisations are often less agile and more difficult to engage with than SMEs, but our partnership provides a best-of-both in terms of the scalability and strength of Capita coupled with the agility and responsiveness of Smartschools. With an all-Ireland base of education specialists and technical advisors, Capita has the flexibility to ensure customer needs are continually met by balancing customer engagement with new technology roadmaps. With listing on HEANET and Office for Government Procurement frameworks, engaging with Capita is extremely straightforward.

Industry experience

We have been working with the University of Strathclyde for many years, and this is a perfect example of how Capita combines its customer focus with strategic technology partnerships. The University invested significantly to transform its estate, information systems and technology to create a truly digital campus. Working together, we designed and road-mapped a phased technology upgrade over a five-year period featuring an eco-system of partners like Dell EMC and IBM to bring new ideas and innovations to the University.

The outcome is the delivery of world-class teaching that attracts students from all over the globe. The new technologies also maximise innovation throughout the University’s research facilities, and deliver globally-renowned levels of technological proficiency and service excellence.

Trusted advisor

For education organisations throughout Ireland, partnering with Smartschools means Capita is much more than an IT delivery engine. We continually work with our education customers to forecast and design new innovative solutions that adapt with their needs, always making the best use of emerging technology where there is a logical fit. With solutions and services built solely for the education IT sector and absolute dedication to partnering our customers, Capita’s growth in Ireland’s education arenas is destined to soar.

 

 

 

Capita provides a breadth of services to Further and Higher Education, specialising in end to end IT infrastructure. Capita also delivers innovative enterprise cloud and Cyber Security solutions. For more information visit www.capita-mits.ie

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