Aberdeenshire Councilwill deliver a wireless system across the entire council’s education estate which will support digital learning, according to its Head of IT Nicola Graham.
IT executive Graham said that the new system will offer flexibility, security and support the increased number of devices within schools. (See also: Manchester City Council CIO Bob Brown interview – Customer centric IT alignment)
The system, which will see the council partner with Aerohive Networks, will enable Aberdeenshire to cope with device capacity and support e-learning, Graham explained. The increased number of devices will allow a one-to-one learning experience for students and teachers; and will be delivered across 170 schools and 50 additional sites.
Graham said that the council noted a 50% increase in internet users over the last three years with the capacity expected to increase through the use of mobile devices.
“Our team recognised that our old kit wasn’t designed to support e-learning or the increased capacity of devices,” she said. “We needed a solution that would create operational efficiencies throughout our whole team and streamline processes saving us time and money.”
The increase of devices has seen challenges for the Head of IT Graham to monitor and measure user capacity.
“Serving an area of 2437 square miles meant the council’s IT team was unable to monitor problems,” she said. “Team members would often have to drive huge distances to evaluate problems with the system deployed identifying issues remotely, deciding upon the appropriate action, and ultimately, fixing connection problems more effectively.”
Graham, who is also the chair and Vice President of SOCITM, (Society of Information Technology Management) has been involved in local government and improving the user’s digital experience. Since joining SOCITM, Graham has developed as a leader in her Head of IT role, particularly with collaborating and sharing ideas with Aberdeenshire Council.
“We are now looking to roll out WiFi across libraries, corporate offices and smaller Aberdeenshire towns those with poorer mobile connectivity and provide access to council services,” she said.
The local authority digital transformation programme will see Graham turn her focus on training and development with Aberdeenshire Council staff improving their digital literacy.
“I want to drive forward change not just in IT but across the board. We are looking at its locality and delivering the services on an application based manner in Aberdeenshire and how we deliver those services with digital playing a really big part in that,” she said. (Read next: The University of Dundee CIO moving organisation to cloud as part of transformation programme.)