Booking, Training and Student Management for Adfecto
Located in the Cotswold Hills above Cheltenham and Gloucester, Adfecto is the professional development and consultancy arm of Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Headteachers Ltd. (GASH). Adfecto, in partnership with Serco, is a regional and national provider of the School Business Management Programmes (SBM) which are developed by the National College.
To create a fully functional CMS and on-line booking system for training events and briefing sessions.
Evergreen created a system to manage School Business Management programme expectations and to ease participant maintenance, with the added security of having separate log-ins for staff, with differing access levels to the database.
Key features included:
- All data is held securely in one place, replacing the need to update and co-ordinate several spreadsheets.
- A platform for reports to be generated quickly, accurately and efficiently
- The ability to manipulate programme data with course dates, staffing and individual participant learning journeys.
- Separate log-ins for staff, with differing access levels to the database.
Since the introduction of the custom business system, vital reports can now be generated quickly, accurately and efficiently and the database has become an invaluable tool for holding all the data together whilst at the same time providing flexibility.
Full Case Study
Adfecto emerged from a large consortium and came under the umbrella of GASH Ltd in the academic year 05/06 at which point the organisation wanted to consolidate their brand and develop an on-line presence. Recommended by their Operations Director Sarah Guy, Adfecto approached Evergreen to produce a website through which they could market themselves as a business, as well as keeping their community up to date on the latest programmes and company news.
In 2010, looking to utilise their website further, they entrusted Evergreen to create an on-line booking system for training events and briefing sessions as well as adding an area to the website for conference room information, where people could make enquiries about room hire. As their business continued to grow, by 2012, it was clear that they needed a more sophisticated system to manage data more effectively for the School Business Management (SBM) programmes.
Adfecto, in partnership with Serco, are a regional and national provider of the School Business Management programmes which are developed by the National College. There are currently 4 qualifications in the suite of programmes:
- Certificate of School Business Management (CSBM) – Level 4
- Diploma of School Business Management (DSBM) – Level 5
- Advance Diploma of School Business Management (ADSBM) – Level 6
- School Business Director (SBD) – Level 7
The structure and content of these programmes is constantly reviewed to ensure that all literature and material is in line with the ever changing government policies.
Back in 2011 the CSBM programme was fully reviewed and the structure was changed significantly. The aim was to offer a more flexible approach to study, allowing participants to choose their individual route through the programme.
As the CSBM programme delivery model changed to be more flexible, it became impractical to manage all participants on individual learning journeys. Each participant could choose individual modules, whether to study these modules online or face to face and also the length of time they wished to complete the programme in. The spreadsheet processes that were in place previously were too time-consuming for this new approach, resulting in the development of a CSBM database.
Problem solved with an internet solution from Evergreen.
Adfecto had no hesitation in engaging Evergreen to solve this problem by developing a bespoke on-line web application for them, creating a system to manage SBM programme expectations and to ease participant maintenance, with the added security of having separate log-ins for staff, with differing access levels to the database.
Evergreen developed a bespoke on-line database system to store all the data in one place, replacing the need to update and co-ordinate several spreadsheets. All the data was linked to each section of the system, so that real time information could feed through to reports with less margin for error. Accurate and timely reporting is vital to Adfecto, as the business has to create many varied reports for their partner, Serco and the National College. As Niki Mitchell, SBM team leader and Assistant SBM team leader Milesh Sukhabhai explain, 'The database is an invaluable tool for holding all data together and providing flexibility. The system can generate the reports we need quickly, accurately and efficiently.'
The reports that the system can generate have been tailored to the needs of Adfecto. Reports that used to take half a day to put together can now been obtained in just a few minutes. Niki is keen to highlight the two most important reports in the system. 'At the click of a button, we can now generate our '8 week report' and 'forecasting report.’ These detail the information we need to send to our partners and the National College for statistical reporting in order to meet our contractual responsibilities in relation to the public funds devolved to the National College.’
An easy to use system which saves time and money.
A sophisticated system does not mean that it is complicated to use and the SBM programme team confirm that training needed was minimal and that their co-ordinators were able to grasp the functionality very quickly, which is testimony to how user-friendly the system is. The administration team have had the burden of updating countless spreadsheets taken away from them and the on-line system has had a positive impact on the participants too, as they can get their course information more quickly now that the office process is more efficient.
A system that is adaptable to growing business needs.
As well as the reduction in administration time and the user-friendly nature of the system, Niki clearly recognises other key advantages of the bespoke system. 'The margin for error has been significantly reduced and the system is so adaptable that moving forward we know that we can change anything that impacts the programme and develop the system to cope alongside it.'
In fact the system is now so valuable to the team that they could not do without any part of it and as they are constantly looking at streamlining their processes, they are already looking towards the next phase in the system's development. Milesh remarks, ' I don't know how we could ever go back to the old system. The data being stored centrally is the major benefit as this is what saves us so much time.' Adds Niki, 'The system in the initial roll out is doing all that we expected it to do but as we use and understand the system more, we will be able to expand its capabilities further with enhanced development.'
Development of the system to further increase efficiencies for the business include introducing six separate sets of results for each participant in the six modules enabling pass letters to be sent out for each module. The SBM programme team are currently doing this using word documents and excel spreadsheets which is very time-consuming.
'Reliable ongoing support - Experience, Knowledge, Professionalism.'
The SBM programme team report that they have had no teething problems since the system was launched 6 weeks ago and any minor problems along the way during development were immediately solved. They are pleased to have a technology partner that they can trust and can continue to rely on. Milesh confesses that he has tapped into Evergreen's expertise on numerous occasions, not just for database issues but for other on-line business solutions. 'Evergreen have been great throughout the planning stages and continue to be so. There is always someone ready to help with my enquiry.'
Niki and Milesh have nothing but praise for the system that Evergreen developed, the company's turnaround time and the professional support they have had from the Gloucestershire on-line database web developers. Says Milesh, 'Evergreen are always helpful and prompt and coming up with new ideas,' a comment that Niki endorsed by adding, 'Evergreen picked up and understood what we needed the database to do and went above and beyond to make our life easier. They came up with suggestions that we had not even thought of that were of great value and benefit to the way we work.'
Niki and Milesh both agree that working with Evergreen has been a great experience as the company has an excellent understanding of the needs of a business and would definitely recommend Evergreen to any business or organisation looking for an internet solution to manage database systems and streamline office practices. 'Evergreen have been a delight to work with. They picked up what we wanted to do and made recommendations to suit what we wanted.' Niki & Milesh sum up Evergreen in just 3 words - 'Experience, knowledge, professionalism.'