Servite College and RICOH IT Services
Servite College is a co-educational school based in Perth, Western Australia. Established in 1958, the school offers a caring and nurturing atmosphere where its 1,040 students are encouraged to work together to reach their goals.
As well as a fully academic program, Servite provides an extensive range of extra-curricular and service learning programmes that supports the holistic growth of students. The school believes the provision of a well-rounded education best supports students in meeting the challenges of the future.
During the past few years, information technology has become an integral part of the educational process throughout the school. Students use mobile devices, such as the Microsoft Surface, to view curriculum content, undertake assignments and interact with their peers. Teachers depend on a robust IT infrastructure to host lesson plans, review student work and communicate with parents.
“We had reached the stage where our infrastructure was coming under strain due to the increasing demands being placed on it,” says Trevor Galbraith, Director of Innovation and Research at Servite College.
“We were experiencing performance issues which were affecting the usability of the infrastructure and the level of service we could provide to users.”
The school was also facing the prospect of further challenges due to some significant changes planned by the Catholic Education Office in Western Australia as part of its Leading Lights initiative.
“Leading Lights has been designed to provide better convenience, ease of use and communication between students, teachers and parents across all Catholic schools in the state,” says Galbraith. “Servite College had been selected as a pilot school for the program.”
As a result, the need to improve the network across the school became an even greater priority. Improved performance would be needed to ensure all users could access the applications and data they would require. Planning had shown that data volumes could increase threefold once the new program was in place.
With network performance becoming an increasing challenge for Servite, the school’s IT team examined a range of upgrade options. After reviewing the offerings of a shortlist of vendors, a decision was made to go with a Ricoh IT Services solution.
Ricoh worked with Servite College to understand their environment before designing a solution that best met the needs technically and operationally. It did this by initially evaluating and assessing the colleges’ requirements, designing a solution and then delivering on time and within budget within a managed services umbrella approach.
“We already had a relationship in place with Ricoh as they had upgraded our printer fleet,” says Galbraith. “Once we understood the breadth of Ricoh’s smarter workplace technologies, it was the natural choice to contract them to upgrade our network.”
Phase one of the end-to-end service approach involved the migration of the school’s existing wireless network environment to the Cisco Aironet platform, incorporating the latest generation of Cisco Access Points and Wireless LAN controllers.
Phase two involved the consolidation and replacement of the school’s core and edge switching infrastructure. Again, Cisco was identified as the best-of-breed hardware platform and Ricoh deployed Catalyst devices in the network core and Catalyst devices at the edge. The entire deployment project was completed in four weeks during the school holiday break to ensure there was no disruption for students or staff.
Following the network deployments, Servite retained Ricoh IT Services to act as the school’s ongoing network management services partner.
“This ensures that our new infrastructure will continue to perform well at all times and provides for round the clock support,” he says.
When the new networks went live at the start of the school year, the benefits quickly became obvious. Bottlenecks that had restricted usage of the school’s Wi-Fi network were gone and performance of the wired network had significantly improved.
“Staff and students are very pleased with having a more consistent and stable user experience across the entire school,” says Galbraith. “They are able to spend more time focused on key learnings rather than having to wrestle with unreliable network links.”
As well as improving the experience for students using portable devices, the enhanced network also boosted the ability for teachers to have real-time access to information across the school. This has reduced the time needed for administrative tasks and ensures they can spend more time with students.
“This new ecosystem eases Servite’s ICT administrative load,” says John Condo, Ricoh IT Services State Manager. “Not only does it free staff to focus more on their core competencies in providing learning, it provides them with a sense of empowerment in the workplace doing what they were trained to do to the best of their abilities. Ultimately, this translates to better student learning and job satisfaction for Servite staff.”
The school’s connections with parents and the wider community was also enhanced providing for improved connections with families and the community and an overall Improved service experience for parents through better communication, and automation of transactions between home and school.
Galbraith says with the networking infrastructure now fully functional and being managed by Ricoh, the IT team’s attention is shifting to other priorities.
“Working with Ricoh, we will also be migrating away from our legacy phone system to a cloud-based audio and video collaboration platform,” he says. “This will significantly improve the way in which we can communicate both internally and with the wider community.”
Galbraith says the support provided by Ricoh has been invaluable and the company will remain an important technology partner of the school.
“Their understanding of our priorities and commitment to working with us to meet them has been fantastic,” he says. “We are now well placed to meet the challenges of the future.”