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TAFE NSW responds to evolving industry needs, government regulations and a need to prepare business for the future

TAFE NSW is the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia. Each year, more than 500,000 students enrol in their courses and training to be completed on campus, in a workplace, through a virtual classroom, distance education or a combination of these ways to study.

TAFE NSW previously operated as 11 separate education institutions with a myriad of platforms to manage students and their learning journey. As they further embarked on their transformation journey in 2020, they looked for a partner to support their Vision and Strategy for Data Services. With little existing Azure footprint, Insight was able to quickly integrate with TAFE NSW to develop an overall plan for how they could design and implement its TAFE Reporting & Insights Platform (TRIP) as the backbone of the business, from regulatory and ministerial reporting to gaining insights to improve services.

TAFE NSW wanted to provide business users and executives with enterprise reporting based on accurate data but were struggling with:

– Reporting was being produced at many levels without standard processes and across siloed systems

– Finding it difficult to meet government reporting requirements

– Inability to leverage data to focus on student outcomes and journeys

– Many different, legacy technologies that inhibited innovation, agility and key use-cases to drive business value

“In the past, not one report of the legacy data warehouse would have been shared with our executives. Now, we are able to share reports with qualified, trusted data with our executives that help provide insights and influence business decisions.” says Colin Frewen, GM Strategy & Enterprise Architecture, TAFE NSW.

With this level of impact and executive buy-in, we all have the confidence, and the excitement, to move forward on our journey and continue to build out new capabilities on journey.

What Insight Delivered

– Designed and built their Azure Foundations (Landing Zone) to Microsoft best-practices and DevOps capability, that commenced in Feb 2020, allowing TAFE NSW to quickly scale online services via Windows Virtual Desktop during COVID lockdown.

– A data estate assessment which led to the design and build of their TRIP platform, that leverages Insight’s Azure Data Services (ADS) foundation framework (datalake variant with Databricks), in 5 weeks, proving the ability for ingestion and data visualisation

– Migration of on-prem databases and reporting tools, including components from their financial and enrollment report systems, enabling the shut down of on-prem capability

– Power BI services to migrate and refactor existing reports

– Power apps and Forms for Head Teachers to understand course offering details for strategic planning, reducing months of planning down to six weeks.

– Embedded within their Technology team to provide training, enablement and knowledge transfer, whilst TAFE NSW looks to train around 10,000 staff on how to use Power BI.

“TAFE NSW has made substantial strides in addressing legacy data issues that is essential to delivering to its core objectives of better knowing and serving its customers, supporting the student lifecycle and its industry partners. The TAFE Reporting and Insights Platform (TRIP) leverages industry leading Azure technology to support their growing reporting needs and empowers their staff with self-service reporting tools. Insight is thrilled to be a key partner for TAFE Data Services, improving data to support decision making and proactive management of its organisation.” says Veli-Matti Vanamo, CTO APAC, Insight.

“So this environment we’ve built is the backbone for the data required to support teaching in this organisation. But it also is part of the backbone. Everything we’re doing is around the interconnectivity of the platform. So it’s important for us that collaboration and engagement works with reporting reports and works with all of the analytics”, adds Collin.

Andrew Edwards, Head of Data Services, TAFE NSW states:

What we have been able to develop with the help of Insight and leveraging the Azure platform is to get that single picture of what our business is doing and how its performing.

“And we still have more work to build that out, and there’s a lot of discovery, but we’re able to answer the questions that our leaders in the organisation need to be able to take the organisation to deliver on its mission,” says Edwards.

The Journey Ahead

The TRIP platform is proving to be the single source of truth and TAFE is now looking at a roadmap for the next 18 months to ingest and migrate data from 10 core systems, including:

– Student Management and Learning platforms (22 Moodles)

– 5 CRMs

– Teachers Program Diary (in-house time recording system)

– SAP HR data (supporting 17,000+ employees)

– Asset Management information on facilities, classrooms and AV

“So the next few years, we’ll replace 45 systems with around 12 big platforms, including ERP platforms, etc. And this platform is starting to clean the data and get ready for that migration. So as we move into our new student management system, and other ERP systems, that data will be provided by the TRIP platform.” says Colin.

Colin adds that TAFE IT has already recovered its investment, in terms of the benefits achieved to date, with a view that the program will exceed $10 million in benefits back to the business.

Reconciliation Program Initiative

“We’re working very, very closely with all of our first nations employees towards genuine reconciliation. And they’ve come to us and asked for help to understand who our first nations staff and students are and how we can support them. And I must say personally, I have found it an absolutely wonderful journey to be part of.” concludes Edwards.