Microsoft partner Insight Enterprises has developed a plan alongside TAFE NSW to implement a platform to serve as a new "backbone," overcoming disparate, legacy systems.
Under the project, Insight integrated with the education provider to strategise how to design and implement what it refers to as the TAFE Reporting and Insights Platform (TRIP) to deal with backend processes, from regulatory and ministerial reporting to capturing data on how to improve services.
“This environment we’ve built is the backbone for the data required to support teaching in this organisation," said Colin Frewen, general manager of strategy and enterprise architecture, at TAFE NSW.
“Everything we’re doing is around the interconnectivity of the platform. So it’s important for us that collaboration and engagement works with reporting reports and works with all of the analytics.”
The new system was implemented to address complaints with its existing legacy systems, which did not have standard processes across siloed systems, was difficult to meet government reporting requirements and could not provide sufficient data on students.
“In the past, not one report of the legacy data warehouse would have been shared with our executives. Now, we are able to share reports with qualified, trusted data with our executives that help provide insights and influence business decisions,” Frewen said.
“With this level of impact and executive buy-in, we all have the confidence, and the excitement, to move forward on our journey and continue to build out new capabilities on journey.”
The project to implement the new system involved Insight designing and constructing an Azure foundations landing zone, which started in February 2020, to offer Microsoft best practices and DevOps capability in order to allow TAFE NSW to quickly scale online services through Windows Virtual Desktop during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Following a data estate assessment and utilising the supplier’s Azure Data Services foundation framework, it took Insight five weeks to design and build the TRIP to offer TAFE NSW ingestion and data visualisation.
The cloud, software, storage, security, networking and hardware supplier also provided Power BI services to migrate and refactor existing reports, create Power apps and forms for head teachers for planning, as well as provide training for approximately 10,000 staff on Power BI.
“TAFE NSW has made substantial strides in addressing legacy data issues that is essential to delivering to its core objectives of better knowing and serving its customers, supporting the student lifecycle and its industry partners,” said Veli-Matti Vanamo, CTO for APAC at Insight.
“The TRIP leverages industry leading Azure technology to support their growing reporting needs and empowers their staff with self-service reporting tools. Insight is thrilled to be a key partner for TAFE Data Services, improving data to support decision making and proactive management of its organisation.”
The platform however is not yet complete, as TAFE NSW has outlined an 18-month roadmap to ingest and migrate data from 10 core systems.
This includes 22 student management and learning platforms, referred to as "Moodles", five customer relationship management systems, an in-house recording system for teachers, SAP HR data for over 17,000 employees, as well as asset management information on facilities, classrooms and audiovisual (AV) equipment.
“[Over] the next few years, we’ll replace 45 systems with around 12 big platforms, including ERP platforms,” Frewen said
"This platform is starting to clean the data and get ready for that migration. As we move into our new student management system, and other ERP systems, that data will be provided by [TRIP].”
Insight’s involvement with TAFE NSW comes four years after it scored a deal worth over $25 million for the provision of an ongoing Microsoft enterprise agreement in 2017 — part of the process of TAFE NSW’s separation from the state’s Department of Education and a continuation of a previous agreement between Insight and the Department.
Insight has worked with Microsoft technology on a number of projects in the last year, including Perpetual Corporate Trust and the University of Western Australia, and was highlighted by the tech giant in its Global Inspire Partner Awards, nabbing the Solution Assessment award.
Insight has been contacted for comment via Microsoft on whether the implementation of the TRIP and the Microsoft enterprise agreement are linked.