Stone Group - Providing digital transformation solutions to organisations across the UK.

Background

The Eaton House Group of Schools is comprised of seven schools across two sites – Eaton House Belgravia Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep schools along with Eaton House The Manor Nursery, Girls’ Pre-Prep and Prep schools.   The schools have around 900 pupils and 150 staff and pride themselves on delivering traditional values with a forward-thinking education.  The schools aim to develop confident and independent young people who are responsible citizens in an ever-changing world.

Nick Segrave is the IT Manager for the schools, and thus he is tasked with ensuring all the IT runs smoothly for both the staff and pupils. He also looks after back office systems so that accounts, HR and administration are all running efficiently. Nick effectively ‘inherited’ Stone from his predecessor, but he is thoroughly impressed with the services we provide.

Nick explained: “We have had some supplies from other providers but from my point of view nobody does it better than Stone. From ordering, to making sure we get an installation date that works for us and that everything works when it does turn up – Stone has never let Eathon House Schools down.”

Stone has provided various bits of kit for the school.  From interactive white boards, to tablets and PCs, and Nick was extremely pleased with the price and quality of Stone’s own badged equipment.  In 2017, the school put Stone to the test when it decided to move its back office from two sites to one.

Situation

Last year, the school had to move its administration, HR and accounts teams to another site.  Stone assisted the school to ensure it was business as usual during the move, and after it. At the same time, the school moved to Office 365, which meant moving from an on-site server to the cloud. The potential issues for Stone and Nick were ensuring there was no outages and making sure everything could be done during the school holidays.

As part of the move, the school upgraded the server, which meant installing a hyper virtual machine host.  The Xeon server boasts an Intel processor, which is ideal for the education sector due to the demands on memory and storage.  It allowed Stone to configure the server to the exact requirements of the school and provide them with a far more powerful, bespoke platform that would boost performance.  Before the new system was installed, the school had multiple servers. These not only took up a great deal of valuable space and used a mass of power, but from Nick’s point of view, they created more work for him, through the amount of monitoring and maintenance they required.

  • Integrating Eaton House Schools servers was child’s play

Solution

The Stone Professional Servers boast a powerful, state of the art hardware platform, a virtualisation layer and an abundance of applications, tools and resources. Stone prides itself on forming genuine partnerships with our clients and as such, there was considerable collaboration between the school’s Stone Account Manager and in creating a planning-to-delivery time frame of between three to four months.

Nick said: “We knew we needed the upgrade but it was still something not to be taken lightly.  Thankfully, the process went very well.  If we did have any little glitches, the response from Stone was brilliant and any problem was soon resolved.

“The virtual private network (VPN) installed by Stone has made a huge difference to the way the school operates. Prior to the server installation we had two distinct email systems which could sometimes confuse parents. Now they have been brought under one domain which is much easier to manage and is more professional.”

Having one server has freed up the much-needed space, as well as helped the school save money, by reducing energy costs and decreasing the amount spent on licence fees.  Now the school only needs one. Furthermore, it means Nick has one less thing to worry about in his busy day.

With sole responsibility for the IT at the school, Nick says he is grateful that he has Stone’s expertise as back-up. “We manage as much as we can in house but it’s good to know that Stone is at the end of the phone in a crisis.  I like their philosophy of resolving the problem first before even thinking about money.”

Nick makes full use of Stone’s expertise when it comes to managing the school’s Microsoft licence, which can be a minefield that even those working in IT can have difficulty negotiating. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Stone provides a team of experts to help, and Nick says he is grateful he can tap into that knowledge.

“It’s a painful process we have to go through every year,” said Nick. ‘There are thousands of variations and having somebody at Stone to advise on the way through the licensing procedure is a godsend.  Emma is my licensing guru and she can see the whole picture, and so advises on the best licence at the best price, which is a real weight off my mind.”

Now the two school sites at Belgravia and Clapham Common operate as one from an IT perspective, and this has made for a much more streamlined operation, both internally and externally.  Nick is also confident that the investment has made the schools’ IT systems future proof, as their Hyper-V platform can access the latest datacentre technology and offers add-ons, should they ever be needed

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