“We’d been searching for some time for an affordable, easy-to-use system to record the school assets and contracts, combined with an effective Premises and IT management solution,” explains business manager Gill Taylor. “It was at the Gloucestershire Association of School Business Managers (GASBM) conference that we discovered Altuity, and we really liked the visual aspect of their AltoSites platform.”
Gill, along with her Site and IT colleagues, started by loading the IT assets from spreadsheets into AltoSites, which automatically located them in rooms on floor plans. Assets are displayed using appropriate icons, providing ‘at a glance’ information as to what is located where. What’s more, Gill sees the software as offering the opportunity to save costs in a number of areas:
“The effective Premises and IT management tracking, as well as the reporting of problems, reduces the likelihood of things being missed, thus improving the visibility of outstanding issues and reporting to stakeholders.
“Over time, repeated problems with an asset or area in the school could indicate the need for more extensive repairs, which if done properly could help to prioritise reactive maintenance, reducing ad-hoc reactive issues. Longer term, as the asset database builds up, it will help to identify the maintenance costs of assets, potentially leading to changes in purchasing decisions.”
The Altuity mission comes from founder Steve Voller, who has been delivering complex asset management solutions to schools and businesses around the world for over 25 years. Keen to introduce school leaders to more affordable asset and maintenance management, Steve believes that schools should expect value for money on an annual basis, not over several years:
“With schools facing extreme budgetary challenges, I felt they could benefit from the introduction of new, previously-unaffordable visualisation technology to help them at the operational and management levels,” discusses Steve. “However, this in itself is not sufficient to help school leaders, so with our focus on value-for-money, we offer extremely competitive subscription licenses.”
Altuity subscription licenses start with a £200pa subscription fee for a small Primary school, with access to all functionality previously categorised as Assets and Premises Management.
“I don’t believe long term, multi-year contracts offer schools value for money given the changes in the way schools are organised and the rapid advance of technology,” Steve remarks.
What other commercial and technological innovation does Altuity see on the horizon to help hard-pressed schools?
“At the commercial level we’ll always offer good value licensing,” says the Altuity founder, “but we’re also introducing a data-as-a-service model for smaller schools, to help democratise access to software management systems.”
For Altuity, the use of maps, plans and photospheres is the first step on visualisation journey. Their use of augmented reality (AR) will be next to further improve how staff can access information in a natural and intuitive way.
The company have also just introduced a new Business Intelligence feature. Not only does this provide dashboards, graphical reporting and predictive analytics, it also provides users with a collaborative communications environment. This will help large schools or MATs communicate ideas, have discussions, or undertake task assignment and management more effectively.
“As this is within our package integrated into AlsoSites,” continues Steve. “I think this will offer increased operational efficiencies, leading to better outcomes and savings!”
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