St Dympna’s Primary School

Confidence in streamlined IT environment

The more St Dympna’s embeds technology in its classrooms, the more dependent teachers and the school’s curriculum is on it. The strategy was to find an expert procurement partner that was as committed to service as it was competitive pricing.

St Dympna’s Primary is a co-educational Catholic school catering for 650 prep to year 6 students. It is one of 134 administered by the Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Education Offices. This child-centred school offers a dynamic community to its students and fosters lifelong learning and the pursuit of excellence through effort and a positive attitude.

The Challenge

To create a streamlined, responsive approach to purchasing and management of St Dympna’s Apple fleet and associated classroom technologies.

The Solution

An end-to-end Managed Services Agreement that provides trusted advice through to reduced time between ordering and delivery, onsite and remote support, and break/fix repairs.

The Benefits

• Expert advisors
• Very accommodating and responsive service
• Competitive pricing
• Focussed, relevant PD

There’s no going back to old ways of teaching if equipment fails so we have to be confident that our technologies just work. As a school, we rely on our partnership with Compnow and their solutions.

Vikesh Anand Head of Technology,
St Dympna’s Catholic Primary Schoolø2-03-01.png

The Challenge

Five years ago when Vikesh Anand was appointed as head of Technology at St Dympna’s, he was the first person to hold a full time IT role at the school: “When I started, I found that when things used to go wrong or equipment broke, they were put aside and teachers went back to old ways of running their lessons. Each technology purchase was standalone, at best price from a website, and from multiple suppliers.”

Vikesh determined to rationalise procurement through a small group of reliable partners that could not only offer very competitive pricing but be committed to long term servicing. “I wasn’t comfortable spending hundreds of thousands of dollars without meeting and trusting our suppliers. The more we embedded technology in our classrooms, the more dependent our teachers and their teaching would be on it.”

Having left Apple to join the school, part of Vikesh’s mandate was to systematically migrate to that environment. St Dympna’s has rapidly become a prominent and innovative Apple user in the Brisbane Archdiocese. And Vikesh is the ‘go to’ expert for schools in the group.

But even with that focus on a single platform, the school still needed a streamlined, responsive approach to purchasing and management of its expanding technology assets.

The Brisbane Catholic Education Offices (BCEO) does not dictate but encourages its schools to use tried and tested suppliers. CompNow is one of that preferred group with its proven expertise in the education sector and coverage across all environments, procurement and management.

The Solution

Vikesh has became a driving force for change at St Dympna’s as he strategically changed “the mishmash of equipment” to current Apple learning oriented devices.

St Dympna’s fleet currently numbers 600+ iPads. It has been rolling out 200 iPads each year, building to 1-to-1 devices with keyboard and rugged cases for all year levels. For 2021 Vikesh has 40 crayon styluses on order to provide five to each class. CompNow also assists the school with its purchase of other classroom equipment such as TVs. “We’ve taken on Samsung 75” TVs with inbuilt Airplay to share content easily from the student’s iPads. They are trolley mounted for the ease of moving them around the school,” Vikesh says.

As the policy is for all iPads to stay at school, CompNow was able to introduce efficient, robust charging stations in a great step forward that has removed the distracting issues with chargers and cables.

The BCEO has an overarching AirWatch contract with CompNow covering all 141 BCEO schools. This enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology simplifies and automates deployment of devices as no pre-imaging is required. CompNow delivers each device order directly to Vikesh for him to easily allocate the equipment via AirWatch.

Vikesh and his school have also been very open to other new ideas and willing to try emerging technologies. Under CompNow’s recommendations, St Dympna’s has been at the forefront of testing AirWatch, security offerings, displays for classrooms and offices, storage solutions, and accessories such as headphones for introduction to not only the school but the wider BCEO.

CompNow also organises Professional Development sessions, both in conjunction with Apple and standalone. “These help me in my role because I get to network with other schools and learn about the latest and greatest technologies. CompNow’s PDs are focussed, they understand the things that are a unique to our environment, and how technologies fit with curriculum. I’ve even been to one of their PD days with information and mini workshops specific to school roles – they had breakout sessions for the IT techs, teachers and office staff,” Vikesh says.

As part of the MSA, CompNow provides all break/fix and warranty work. This is an efficient process via the school’s customised portal. Taking its responsibilities very seriously, CompNow has also proven its worth when St Dympna’s received a faulty piece of equipment. “It didn’t measure up and CompNow were onto the original supplier to fix the situation. I’d never have that industry pull to get in and get a quick resolution,” Vikesh says.

Teacher Helping Elementary School Pupils In Computer Class

The Benefits

St Dympna’s policy is to source multiple quotes for all large orders and CompNow continues to prove it is very competitive on price. Vikesh says: “Thankfully our Principal also sees the value in sticking with a highly supportive supplier. She knows the difference for our school in having a real partner, rather than just any company that’s only interested in getting boxes out the door.”

Flexibility was to be a key differentiator in selecting its partner. “CompNow understands how its education clients have ever changing needs: ‘how fast can you get me 25 iPads?’, ‘I’m placing my order for next year but can we have some of them now?’ Some suppliers are ‘take it or leave it’ but CompNow is very accommodating and always happy to deliver to our requirements,” Vikesh says. “With the arrival of COVID we had to quickly work out how to send devices home. It meant a call to CompNow with ‘how fast can you get me 200 chargers and cables?’

This is a great example of their service mentality and their flexibility. I had confidence they’d be able to get them to me even faster than Apple. Most companies wouldn’t do partial deliveries because it messes up their margin but CompNow pulled our order from across Australia and did it without question. With CompNow at our back I could focus on remote support for our students and their families instead,” he says.

And on a personal, professional note, Vikesh benefits from the advisory role CompNow plays: “Their people are extremely helpful and great to bounce ideas off – which is important for me as a team of one. They’re very much in the know about what other primary schools are doing. And they’re happy to share their expertise in the context of what’s right for my environment, my budget and my school’s age group.”

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