Case Studies

SILVERDALE SCHOOL - brings communications on-premise for greater control of ICT infrastructure.

Silverdale School, which opened in 1956, is a highly popular and high achieving Comprehensive School for 11-18 year olds.

It is situated in 17 acres of attractive grounds, is located in Sheffield and serves the south-west of the city with over 1200 students on roll. The school is designated as a language college and has an integrated resource unit for profoundly deaf children. Silverdale School has recently converted to Academy status and is a partner in a Teaching School Alliance.

  • Cisco Business Edition 6000 solution implemented to improve call management
  • Moves, adds and changes now controlled internally for reduced costs
  • Rebuilt configuration of the wireless LAN controllers

The Situation
As part of the government initiative ‘Building Schools for the Future’,Sheffield Local Education Partnership worked with a number of schools to provide funding for the rebuilding or refurbishment of buildings as well as investment in ICT services and equipment.  Silverdale School took part in this initiative and, under the terms for receiving funding for phase 1 of this programme, the school was tied into a managed ICT support service and required to outsource its IT support to an external contractor.  This outsourced arrangement proved to be both inflexible and expensive whilst also limiting the school’s ability to manage and develop its own requirements.

As a result, a strategic ICT plan was instigated and developed by the school’s ICT Strategic Manager, Richard Clough, in order to extricate the school from the outsourced provision and bring the services back in-house. 

The Solution
As part of this strategic ICT plan, Silverdale School entered into discussions with a number of suppliers to explore available options and to decide on a preferred solution provider with which to work in partnership. We were chosen for our flexibility and offered a solution that utilised the existing handsets, reduced overall solution costs and provided scalability for future development requirements. 

The school’s existing telephony system was based on Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager, with just IP handsets and a PSTN gateway on-premise. All of the school’s telephony call control, user management and system configurations were controlled by an outsourced supplier from an off-site data centre; this created a situation that was both time-consuming and inconvenient when changes were required. For the replacement solution, we provided a Cisco Business Edition 6000 on-premise unified communications platform that would allow Silverdale School to take direct control and ownership of its telephony solutions once again. All existing handsets were utilised to leverage the investment already made in hardware and extension numbers were retained, thus ensuring that the existing end user experience remained unchanged. 

Whilst delivering the telephony project and following a failure of the wireless network, we were able to provide the expertise required to rebuild the configuration of the wireless LAN controllers after the configurations had been deleted by a third party. 

The Benefits
By taking the time to understand the problems facing the school under its outsourced contract, we implemented a platform that effectively solved the key issues and offered the school an ongoing solution that will ultimately save time whilst also increasing flexibility of the service provision.  The key benefits of bringing the management and support of the solution back in-house came from the school’s desire for ownership of moves and changes through to ongoing system configuration, which is included as part of the annual maintenance contract. 

The retention of the existing extension numbers and handsets meant limited disruption to end users and kept the solution costs to a minimum. We worked alongside existing suppliers to ensure a smooth transition and deployment of the solution, assisting Silverdale School in completing the project on time and within budget. 

“At Silverdale School we have chosen to cancel the managed service contract we have been in since the BSF project commenced and to bring our services back in house. This decision was made to allow us to take back ownership of our ICT infrastructure - improving the flexibility of ICT to deliver support to the school. Silverdale School now have the ability to evaluate new developments in ICT and review how such developments could benefit our staff and students.

We selected the Cisco Unified Communications system proposed by Quatrix as it provided the technology we required whilst allowing us to retain the existing handsets already deployed on site. Following the successful installation of this solution we would be happy to recommend Quatrix’s services.”

Richard Clough, ICT Manager, Silverdale School