Agile ICT

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Agile ICT's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Agile ICT is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.agileict.co.uk

49AGILE ICT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Richard G Jones, founder and
managing director
Agile ICT’s new office building, purchased
in 2017, as part of its continued expansion
Agile ICT is a specialist provider of ICT and related solutions
exclusively to education. Effective ICT is critical for the
day-to-day operations of schools and the education of
our children. It is vital for our nation that our children are highly
educated in IT for when they enter the work place – employers
and our economy depend on it. Richard G Jones, founder
and managing director, explains how their customer-focused
approach, superior engineering skills and quality service have
enabled them to grow and prosper continuously for ten years.
We focus on providing the platform and services necessary to enable schools to do their
jobs well. The greatest compliment we receive from our customers is “It just works”.
Different in what we do, different in how we do it
An ICT infrastructure is a complex beast. Constructing and engineering a stable
and high performing ICT platform is akin to that of a racing car. It is formed of
many complex components which need to be blended together then optimised
end-to-end to deliver a dominant victory. A further complication is the constant
change; the IT industry is pretty much unique in that you buy a product, but the
manufacturer keeps updating and improving it while you own it. Keeping every
element in harmony and at peak performance is a never-ending journey, which is
why ICT requires regular maintenance to keep it at its best.
We think differently about everything we do – it is not possible to totally outperform
the competition if we do the same things, in the same way.
FACTS ABOUT
AGILE ICT
»Founder and managing
director: Richard G Jones
»Established in 2008
»Based in Segensworth,
Hampshire
»Services: A full range of ICT
services and related solutions,
exclusively for education
»No. of employees: 21
Agile ICT
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | AGILE ICT
»CASE STUDY
A large Federated School had 100 laptops and PCs.
They required one full day of support per week yet
the users were still unhappy with the performance
and reliability of the system. The school’s ICT is led by
an Advanced Skills ICT Teacher who has a high level
of expertise and is far more demanding than most.
We were invited in and were chosen to replace this
school’s infrastructure with our design. They now have
600 laptops, PCs and other devices on their network
- but only need a couple of hours of support per half
term and users are now happy – “IT just works…”
This has delivered a vastly superior platform for the
school along with a significant cost saving
By design, we choose not to impose
long-term contracts on our schools.
This means that every day our team
wakes up knowing that we must
recompete for every school’s custom.
This keeps us razor sharp in delivering
on our promise, and ensures we never
take our customers for granted or
become complacent.
We provide a “one-stop-shop” for
schools in respect of their ICT needs. We
provide everything from a single cable
through to a custom-built ICT suite,
and everything in between. We hold
ourselves out as being experts, so we
believe we should put our money where
our mouth is – we offer our services on
a “fixed price, money back guarantee”
basis so we reverse out the risk for our
schools. We are the only supplier who
has the confidence to dothis.
Cathryn Butcher, Head of Sales &
Operations, is relentless in her demands
of our team to ensure we always deliver
on our promise and the service, that our
customers expect from our brand. This
has been fundamental to our success.
We conceived a game changing
support service with clear
differentiation against our competitors;
we engineer our infrastructures and
servers in a unique way which means
they perform better and last longer,
thereby delivering the lowest possible
total cost of ownership for our schools.
Our account managers don’t have any
form of sales target, therefore there
is never any incentive for them to do
anything other than what is best for
the school. We believe that if we offer
the best solution at the best price, our
schools will ultimately choose to buy
from us whether it is this week or next
year. We are independent of all product
suppliers and rapidly become a school’s
trusted advisor helping them make the
right decision and extract the maximum
value from their limited budgets.
We place a huge emphasis on
customer service with our “Delight
the Customer” model. Our account
managers are often online late into
the evenings and weekends, engaging
with our schools, which is often when
teachers have the time to do this.
Being passionate about doing the right
thing for the customer is fundamental
for everyone in the company.
Left to right: Ryan Fletcher,
account manager,
Cathryn Butcher, head of
sales & operations, Karen
Hodkinson, account
manager, Joely Cooper,
purchasing manager
Part of the Agile ICT
technical team
It is not possible
to totally
outperform the
competition if
we do the
same things in
the same way
51AGILE ICT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
We rejoice at being a disruptive force
in the industry and are pleased that we
have forced our competitors to raise
their game and reduce their prices. We
embrace, and welcome, competition –
it only makes us stronger.
Navigating shrinking budgets
successfully
It is no secret that school budgets are
constrained. We believe that more
funds could be released to the schools
themselves if they weren’t being
consumed by inefficient back office
functions.
Our focus is all about total cost of
ownership and transparency. We go
to great lengths to help head teachers
and business managers understand
what they are spending their scarce
budgets on, and why. When a head
teacher properly understands, they
make good decisions which deliver
the optimum solution for their school
in the most cost-effective manner.
Sadly,there are some school decision
makers who only focus on the headline
price and don’t appreciate the real
total cost. We try to help them see
the light, but some are simply not
interested and to these we wish them
well and quietly withdraw.
We concentrate on innovation and
efficiency to drive our growth –
bringing new solutions to market and
delivering them in a highly efficient
way. Despite the pressure on school
budgets and the fact that we have
not increased the cost of our services
for five years, we have continued to
achieve year-on-year profitable growth.
We focus on profit rather than revenue
as anyone can sell a £10 note for £5 –
that’s not a real business.
Giving back
We believe in helping those schools
who help us. We focus our marketing
budget on tangible things that
benefit our schools and their pupils.
Examples include funding the cost of
sports kits, buying trophies for events
such as coding, spelling and sports
competitions and donating feature
prizes for school raffles.
Investing in our future
In 2017 we made the significant step
of buying our own office building, in
addition to our existing premises, to
give us the capacity for our next stage
of growth.
We are very excited about the future.
We have assembled and developed
a strong team of focussed and
highly motivated individuals, unique
product and service offerings and an
obsession with customer service that
runs through the entire DNA of the
company and guides everything that
we do. Our brand is very strong, and
we continue to win most of our new
business from the recommendation of
existing schools.
We may now be celebrating our
10thanniversary, but we are just as
hungry to deliver the best performing
and best value solutions to our schools,
as we were when we started. The
future is bright.
Despite the
pressure on
school budgets
and the fact
that we have
not increased
the cost of our
services for five
years, we have
continued to
achieve year on
year profitable
growth
Agile ICT developed
software application -
ASAM Dashboard

www.agileict.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Agile ICT. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister