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Agenor Partners with Borders College to deliver a major Digital Transformation Programme

Check out this case study from Agenor on their work with Borders College to help them on their Digital Transformation journey.

Customer Context

Borders College offers a wide range of academic and industry-based training courses to students and businesses throughout Scotland and has a Strategic Ambition that states: “we will continue to be the learning and training provider of choice for employers, students and our staff. We will provide innovative, life-changing learning opportunities that prepare our students for global citizenship.”

Agenor Technology was requested by Borders College to deliver a Digital Transformation Programme (DTP) encompassing Technology and Business change; to implement cost-effective changes which would provide immediate benefit, but which would also set the scene for further Digital Transformation in future years.

The Problem

The requirement for the College to mobilise the Transformation Programme was driven by the Vision of the Borders College Executives who recognised that their Digital Estate did not support the College’s 5-year Strategic Ambition. Agenor’s initial Discovery activities supported this view and highlighted a number of key issues across the business, as follows:

  • Digital systems and platforms were not aligned to digital strategy
  • Systems were disconnected and clunky, and therefore not providing the College with the level and quality of information required
  • Data Quality was inadequate with missing controls and standards resulting in multiple sources of the same/similar data existing for student records
  • User Experience issues were reported; both staff and students expressed concerns around poor quality, functionality and access to systems
  • Leadership and Business Ownership was lacking across the stakeholder community in terms of driving a strategic change agenda
  • Stakeholder Feedback reported a consistent dislike of the existing digital systems; although there was an appetite for change, the Digital Change Process to follow was not clear
  • IT Operational Focus required improvements in major areas such as Backups, System Integrations, Security Policy, Data Centre Management and Project/Service Management disciplines.

The Goal

Primary Outcomes defined at the start of the Programme were as follows:

  • Information Technology: Migrate the existing on-premise infrastructure to a Tier 3 Data Centre
  • and upgrade the WAN from the core network
  • Management Information Systems (MIS): Migrate from the legacy application to a cloud hosted SaaS based solution delivering ease of access to core student information and deliver dashboard reporting across all levels of the business
  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): Migrate from legacy open-source application to a cloud hosted SaaS based solution delivering a better staff and student UX across the learner journey life cycle
  • Website: Publish a new website meeting accessibility standards, integrated with the new MIS system and supporting online payment processing
  • Payments Gateway: Integrating a payment solution to support the Student Enrolment Process using the new college website.

The Challenge

Agenor provided the DTP Leadership to deliver a structured methodology to demonstrate strong Programme Governance. Engagement with key stakeholders across the College, along with Technology Suppliers was critical to ensure delivery of the Digital solutions. The challenges were:

  • Staff Engagement: Variable across the key business areas, notably the Curriculum Teams
  • Development Resource: A single point of failure existed in the ISLT Department to support key system changes
  • Staff Holidays: Taken at critical times, impacting resource availability across the DTP
  • Payments Solution: Operational and commercial readiness was a key risk to the go live date
  • Change Freeze: Non-essential changes being made impacted the DTP deliverables

The Result

The DTP was a significant success; all critical requirements were met and quality Digital Solutions were provided for all of the Programme Workstreams.

  • Successful Implementation: All DTP workstreams were implemented successfully to plan without impact to staff or students
  • Business Benefit: Executive Team confidence restored around IT Operational Services
  • Major Risks Addressed: Operational risk of aged and non-supported systems
  • Infrastructure: WAN connectivity and Platform Storage outsourced to Managed Service Provider delivering service stability and resilience
  • MIS: SaaS solution implemented to provide new MIS application
  • VLE: SaaS solution implemented to provide new VLE application
  • College Website: Total redesign via a SaaS solution implemented
  • Payments Gateway: SaaS solution implemented to provide new online payments application
  • Office 365: Agenor delivered customised support sessions to staff members
  • Organisational change: Introduction of Business Owner role, Process Improvement, and Digital Skills uplift to support curriculum delivery
  • Overall: the DTP performed very well; it delivered all the specified objectives to time and scope
  • Agenor and Borders College worked well together to deliver a high-quality outcome
  • The Programme governance approach worked well; an agile/flexible approach undertaken in light of the drive for rapid infrastructure and applications systems change
  • The DTP laid solid foundations for digital growth across future years; it has delivered a new “digital heartbeat” for the College

Our customer experienced…

The engagement of Agenor Technology by Borders College provided a focus that was not available in previous years to drive forward the DTP. The formation of a formal project team was a huge success with all Workstream Leads working in collaboration across all the digital change projects.

  • 33 servers migrated to the cloud
  • 1st college in Scotland to adopt selected SaaS MIS applications
  • 83 courses migrated to the new VLE environment
  • 70 Microsoft 365 support sessions delivered

“This has been an extraordinary transformation programme conducted under extraordinary conditions, during a Global Pandemic. Excellent team working and collaboration has been critical and with Agenor providing the strategic leadership for our digital transformation we’ve achieved our desired outcomes on time and on budget. I truly believe you have achieved something quite incredible.” – Hazel Robertson, Vice Principal, Borders College

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