This Next Generation Network Business Automation project, was the first agile project for the BC Ministry of Education and was completed within only 11 weeks. The solution involved implementing business management processes in Microsoft Dynamics and integrating multiple school and vendor data sources into a structured and coherent data set.
FreshWorks Studio partnered with ITK Consulting to create a customized solution for the BC Ministry of Education.
The BC Ministry of Education oversees the school system in British Columbia. The K – 12 Next Generation Network (K12NGN) is a large network providing connectivity and security services to over 1,600 BC public schools grouped in 60 school districts with over 20 contracts.
The delivery of the services is carried out through a group of vendors that are contracted by the Province. Previously, the K12NGN team, managed all service requests, change orders, and incidents for all the public schools through mostly manual processes. Not only were these processes very time consuming, but they also mostly took place in disconnected spreadsheets and documents that were updated in one place but not everywhere leading to out-of-date and inaccurate data.
The Ministry of Education published the request for proposal on the BC Dev Exchange on December 21, 2018. The BC Dev Exchange is a way for tech companies to work closely and efficiently with the BC Government. FreshWorks Studio was awarded the contract through the Sprint With Us procurement process in January and began the modernization of the K12NGN ecosystem in February 2019.
The project was divided into three phases:
Proof of Concept
FreshWorks Studio partnered with Vancouver-based and Microsoft Dynamics specialists ITK Consulting to deliver value to the Ministry of Education within the prescribed timeline.
Phase 1: Inception
During the first stage, the inception or discovery phase of the project, the team focused on finding out requirements and creating user stories . Having an understanding of what the end user expects to be able to do with the final product is crucial in developing a successful application. Once these were in place and created a backlog of tasks was created and priorities were set. This phase lasted one week and involved all team members on both sides.
Phase 2: Proof of Concept
During the second stage of the project, the team went about delivering value to the Ministry of Education with each sprint. In the first two sprints, the FreshWorks team created dev and test environments in the cloud (Azure) and developed the core entities and management screens. The goal was to validate that the fundamental concepts were correct and that the technology choices were sound. Previously, the K12NGN team had been working with the legacy system for many years and the replacement of it required a detailed understanding of how each user navigated the system. User stories became very helpful in guiding the design team towards the best design options for the dashboard. This phase was completed within four weeks.
Phase 3: Implementation
Once the foundation was laid and deemed workable by the Ministry, the team spent the final six weeks developing complex business workflows in Microsoft Dynamics that streamline the Ministry’s operations and facilitate collaborative processes.
Microsoft Dynamics is a good way to develop things quickly. We only had 11 weeks and were able to develop so much. If this project was done from scratch it would have easily taken at least 5 x as long.
Conrad Gustafson, Leader of Software Development
History of Changes
The new K12NGN environment keeps track of changes made to individual cases improving overall accountability and allowing the team to track efficiency over time.
Analytics & Reporting
The powerful Microsoft Dynamics reporting tool allows the K12NGN team to look at detailed analytics and report on current and past cases, budgets, and timelines.
Workflows have been set up within the Microsoft Dynamics eco-system that automatically send out notifications to the K12NGN team about new tickets, requests, etc.
While all case data was previously disconnected, through the integration with Microsoft Dynamics all data is now stored in the cloud, ensuring the data is up-to-date regardless of which device it is being accessed from.
With the development being completed, the BC Ministry of Education will soon roll out the new Microsoft Dynamics eco-system across the K-12 Next Generation Network and conduct comprehensive user training.