Cranford Group of Schools Support

Cranford Group of schools in Hounslow, West London

The Challenge

Following Gaia’s selection as the Cranford Group of Schools (CG) strategic ICT Managed Partner in 2010, we have been providing a comprehensive on-site service. This includes an ITIL compliant on-line service desk that covers product support, hardware and software support, logging of problems, permanent fixes, change requests, reporting and proactive results analysis. The scope of our services extends to include project management, training, strategic consultancy and disaster recovery and typically includes personnel on-site or visiting from local bases to perform technical support, planning, process management and administration of the service.

What We Did

This is a typical of our approach to providing managed services, and Hardware as a Service (HaaS), whereby Gaia offers fully managed solutions and user devices. Across the CG, Each School had its own specific set of requirements for end user devices. Gaia has a specialist consultancy team whose primary purpose is to understand each school’s unique requirements and assist them in developing these into a user device vision and strategy. Gaia then provide the full life cycle management of desktop, laptop, tablet, thin-client, handheld and peripheral assets including the procurement/provision of the actual device, its deployment, asset tracking and management, maintenance, end user support (remote and on-site as required) and an agreed replacement cycle (e.g. every 3 years for a laptop and every four years for a desktop) including disposal.

For each device type and/or user type, Gaia developed a device “Gold Image” which is a perfect installation of the operating system and all the applications that are required by the corresponding user on these devices.  The process for developing the “Gold Image”, is an iterative one and starts by holding a number of workshops with the interested parties who would typically be subject teachers and heads of departments.

Gold images are then loaded into a Microsoft Configuration Management Server (MCMS), which is part of Microsoft System Centre suite of applications used to manage server and device configuration within an enterprise domain.   The Server is then used to automatically deploy the approved images onto the intended devices and develop an asset list of the receiving devices with physical as well as software configurations. The MCMS Server is also used to deploy software updates and operating system patches. The customer CMDB is updated with all the information so as to track the assets, user incidents against those assets, and commercial contracts underpinning them including hardware, and software licensing.

The Outcome

On-site Gaia support engineers receive end user requests for support, incidents and service requests through face-to-face, telephone, email or web portal methods and these are logged into an ITIL-compliant service desk system.

Incidents and service requests are logged with unique reference numbers and are assigned to the requester so that updates on the work carried out by our engineers are immediately relayed to the user. When the incident is resolved or the service request is completed, the user is invited to approve the closure of the incident ticket or request additional works to be done.

Reported incidents will have an agreed priority assigned to them, end user devices typically receive a lower level of priority amongst incident requests to ensure that resources are allocated to incidents affecting security, safeguarding or wider infrastructure and impacting a broader group of users or services such as Whole Class Teaching or critical Admin roles.

Users requiring a change in the approved configuration of their devices such as the installation of additional software or hardware which may or may not need procurement will be asked to initiate a change request. These requests are passed for review to the change authority board for the relevant school, which has the task of approving change requests that will have financial, operational or technical ramifications.

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