Leathersellers’ Federation

Three all-through schools in Lewisham South London

The Challenge

The Leathersellers’ Federation (LF) is a mature and highly regarded association. It runs three all-through schools in Lewisham South London. The schools belonged to a borough wide ICT Managed Service contract, delivered in partnership with a private sector partner. Towards the end of the contract, LF decided not to extend and instead went out to tender for a more competitive and flexible replacement service. After a lengthy and rigorous public procurement, Gaia was selected as the preferred partner.

Gaia had approximately 3 months to design and implement the service transition plan with LF.  This included all network and server infrastructure, cloud services such as SharePoint web portals, Office 365 and online backup, user devices, wireless LANs, telephony systems, cashless catering, AV and most importantly the TUPE staff from the existing contract.

What We Did

Due to the short time window available, Gaia started at risk a comprehensive audit and due diligence exercise. This process was made more difficult by the lack of a clear transition plan or co-operation from the incumbent PSP service provider. There were therefore a number of risks, which were difficult to quantify. With only a three week window towards the end of the Schools’ summer holidays to make any significant system or operational changes, we quickly developed a detailed transition strategy with the twin aims of minimising risk and maximising service continuity especially for the start of the new academic year in Sep 2015.

We presented a plan to LF Senior leadership, recommending an option for building a parallel server infrastructure system that permitted us to setup all three schools from fresh and implement a new service desk with ITIL management processes. As part of this plan we offered the following at no additional cost;

  • Temporary loan of Parallel Server infrastructure.
  • Extra PM and Technical resources.
  • Extra go live on-site support.

The Outcome

This proposal enabled the Gaia Technical and Operational Transition Team to spend more of the available time in August with the task of integrating the new server environment within the existing network environment.  We also had time to rebuild all the user devices. LF approved the plan and Gaia put in place a strong Project Management, Service Management and Technical Team who successfully worked tirelessly to implement the proposed the plan between May and July.

The LF leadership teams were kept informed of every activity on a week-by-week basis with our project manager, Jackie, ensuring that any issue was reported and dealt with transparently, ensuring they were aware of our risk mitigation measures during the transition process.

The first 18 months of operation has seen a significant investment in staff training. We also introduced a new Service Level Agreement (SLA) based heavily on Customer Satisfaction surveys and KPIs. User confidence and satisfaction levels have consistently risen term on term and the input from the surveys form an essential part of the post transition/transformation review process.

The ITSG group we have established is responsible for prioritising the strategic development objectives, identifying the success factors and holding all parties (Schools and Gaia) to account regarding the delivery of the desired benefits and outcomes. They are also responsible for approving the Gaia Legacy service decommissioning and disposal plans, which forms a part of the early service.

“Jackie has played a pivotal role in the transition program, she is extremely well organised and has communicated the program well with regular updates. Her attention to detail is first class and she has dealt swiftly with the priority issues.” ITSG Leathersellers Federation

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