Case Study: ICT Strategy for Education
Building Student Advocacy Through Technology-Enabled Educational Services: Education Anywhere, Anytime and using Any Device
The Hester Hornbrook Academy (“The Academy”) is an independent school run by Melbourne City Mission (MCM). It was established as part of a transformation of MCM’s education services in 2016 to provide supportive, flexible education to reconnect young people with schooling, providing both social and education support to help young people achieve their goals.
Academy staff and students were reliant on ageing, inadequate and non-supported technology with high utilisation of Microsoft Excel and Word for student, curriculum and learning management functions.
It was realised that existing technology could not efficiently enable the vision to grow the Academy and provide holistic, relevant education to disadvantaged youth, or to support the Academy’s objectives to;
- deliver education anywhere, anytime and on any device,
- remain compliant with regulatory requirements, and
- enable effective business operations.
As part of the education services transformation, the provision of technology services for The Academy transitioned to MCM ICT. The Academy and MCM ICT recognised the need to establish an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy and roadmap in line with the business vision for the Academy to inform the current and future direction for the ICT applications, infrastructure, and operating model. Business Aspect was engaged to support MCM in the development of the ICT strategy and roadmap.
The key objective of the engagement was to develop the Academy’s ICT strategy and roadmap. To accomplish this, a baseline understanding of the following aspects of the business was established:
- the business vision and objectives were clarified,
- the business functions and processes that supported the organisation were articulated,
- an understanding of the technology supporting the Academy was developed, identifying gaps, issues and risks, and
- a set of high-level business capability requirements was formulated.
The ICT strategy and roadmap needed to be all encompassing of the Academy’s technology environment, including:
- infrastructure, end-user computing, network, security and data met current and future needs,
- identification of the core application capabilities required to enable the business vision, and
- define the ICT Service Model required to administer and support the business.
Business Aspect utilised an Agile, iterative TOGAF-aligned approach to develop the strategy and roadmap. Regular meetings were held with the key stakeholders to understand the Academy’s business and technology environment, elicit requirements and seek feedback. The deliverables were presented at the conclusion of each iteration through a showcase providing an opportunity for input, validation, refinement and validation to occur. The delivery approach supported the business requirement to develop the ICT strategy in a timely manner and with a high level of stakeholder involvement.
The development of the ICT strategy and roadmap addressed the following questions across four key dimensions:
- Business Context - What organisational strategy and objectives were needed to realise the vision?
- Current State Assessment - What risks and issues were associated with the technology underpinning the business?
- ICT Strategy - What were the key technology streams required to deliver on the vision?
- Roadmap and Operating Model - What was the roadmap of key delivery projects, associated costs and required operating model?
What we achieved
The approach and activities used by Business Aspect in the definition of the ICT strategy and roadmap led to the articulation of the key business capability requirements and aligned to the attainment of the organisations’ vision and objectives. This was coupled with the identification of a set of risks associated with the underpinning technology that would limit the Academy’s ability to achieve its vision.
This informed the development of the accepted ICT strategy and roadmap, comprising the following;
- six streams of work, focussed on the prioritised delivery of key infrastructure and applications required to support the strategic objectives,
- definition of the ICT Operating Model to incorporate the Academy’s requirements, and
- establishment of the project delivery roadmap and associated investment profile.
In defining the ICT strategy and roadmap, Business Aspect assisted MCM and the Academy through;
- articulation and endorsement of the risks the organisation needs to mitigate in order for the business vision to be realised,
- engagement of the key business stakeholders and incorporation of their requirements and challenges into the strategy and roadmap, and
- clarity of the required technology and delivery roadmap that will underpin the business in the future.
“The strength in Business Aspect’s work is not only in outlining the requirements to get us to our desired ICT outcomes, but in showing how they have come to these requirements and work streams based on a good understanding of business objectives and solid risk analysis relating to the current ICT profile. The final three-year project delivery roadmap is both realistic and attainable for an organisation of our size and accurately identifies and responds to the most pressing needs in year one.”
Dave Wells, MCM General Manager, Education and Principal of Hester Hornbrook Academy