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.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
49AGILE ICT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Richard G Jones, founder and
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.
»Founder and managing
director: Richard G Jones
»Established in 2008
»Based in Segensworth,
»Services: A full range of ICT
services and related solutions,
exclusively for education
»No. of employees: 21
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | AGILE ICT
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
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 dothis.
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,
Cathryn Butcher, head of
sales & operations, Karen
manager, Joely Cooper,
Part of the Agile ICT
It is not possible
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
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
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.
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
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
We may now be celebrating our
10thanniversary, 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.
and the fact
that we have
the cost of our
services for five
years, we have
achieve year on
Agile ICT developed
software application -
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.