One-to-one school finally moves from paper to digital logs

Saint Edward's School, founded upon the independent Episcopal school tradition, is a co-educational, pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, college preparatory school committed to educational excellence. To empower each child to reach his or her full potential, the school community promotes an environment of advocacy, challenges the whole student, cultivates moral courage and spiritual growth, and inspires a lifelong passion for learning.

The Challenge
According to Quen Voyles, Director of IT at the school, the Information Technology department is responsible for evaluating, installing and maintaining computer technology for the school’s 650 students and employees. “We maintain a network of 500 tablet computers, 100 desktop computers and more than 20 servers,” he explained. In 2006, Saint Edward’s School implemented a one-to-one tablet computer program for grades six through twelve.

To document computer repairs and inventory, user accounts and databases, the school used a rudimentary paper log system. “Suffice to say, this was an extremely time-consuming process. To that end, we decided to look for a provider of help desk software to help us automate our support operations.”

The Solution
After an extensive evaluation process, Saint Edward’s School selected Alloy Navigator from Alloy Software in March 2007. The software was then fully deployed in October of the same year. “The other solutions we considered were overpriced or did not provide the functionality we needed,” said Mr. Voyles. “At the time, we were primarily searching for something to replace our paper logs. Alloy Navigator provided the perfect solution that exceeded our initial requirements at a very affordable price.” From a technology standpoint, the school is running Alloy Navigator on a Windows 2003 server with Microsoft SQL Express, and uses Microsoft Exchange Server for email communications.

Saint Edward’s School had Alloy Navigator up and running within only two weeks of purchasing the software. Instead of deploying it at the end of the school year, Mr. Voyles and his team took their time making decisions on how they wanted to use various aspects such as computer and person records. The school added customized fields to those areas in order to better suit their specific needs. The first business process that Saint Edward’s School automated was its repair log. “We’ve expanded that to include an automated check-in process for students in need of service, and automatic email notifications/reminders to students and staff,” Mr. Voyles said.

Using the solution’s action-based Workflow System, the school was able to easily automate daily tasks and reduce training overhead. In addition, the school utilizes the Asset Management module to manage the full lifecycle of hardware equipment, network inventory and software licenses.

Saint Edward’s School primarily uses Alloy Navigator to log and maintain its incident history. “Throughout the school day, students visit the technology office for help with their computers,” explained Mr. Voyles. “They log their issue on a computer, which generates an open help desk ticket and sends them a confirmation email. The technician assigned to the ticket logs all pertinent information so it can be referenced later, if needed. The technician also reviews the student’s ticket history to see if there are any previous issues to be aware of.”

The school uses work order tickets to manage internal tasks such as hardware repairs. This allows them to keep track what assets have been repaired or replaced. “We use the ‘search’ feature to conduct keyword searches through all previous tickets in order to find out if a particular problem has come up before and if so, what steps were taken to address it,” he said. “We’ve recently started using the Knowledge Base to store internal IT documentation. We also use Alloy Navigator to maintain our inventory of tablet computers and user accounts. This gives us the ability to easily relate incident, computer, and user information together in one place.”

The Results
With Alloy Navigator, Saint Edward’s School has automated its help desk and IT inventory processes. Since deploying Alloy Navigator, the school logs approximately 25 to 30 incidents per day. “Without a doubt, Alloy Navigator has simplified our operations and helped us to become more effective and efficient,” explained Mr. Voyles. “With our previous paper log system, we were forced to dig through stacks of paper in order to piece together repair history. This made the process extremely time consuming and not overly accurate. As a result, we did it only when absolutely necessary. We now have this information organized and accessible at our fingertips with just a few clicks! Each time a student comes in with an issue, we’re able to review their complete service history.” With Alloy Navigator, the school is now afforded easy access to this information and much more.