Based in Hereford, The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) was established to address the shortage of innovation and diversity in UK engineering. With highly skilled engineers seen as vital to resolving some of the world’s major challenges, NMITE is taking a disruptive approach to educating the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and game changers.
Creating work-ready integrated engineering professionals lies at the heart of NMITE’s revolutionary approach to higher education. Students work 9-5. Every task is different and a collaborative, agile approach to problem-solving is encouraged from day one, as is the capacity to work independently. NMITE aims to produce graduates that have the right skills, the right attitude and the right knowledge for the challenges faced by the industry today and into the future.
- Revolutionary approach to educating next generation engineers
- Encouraging innovative and disruptive solutions to future engineering challenges
- Committed to producing work ready graduates equipped for today’s businesses
NMITE is a newly formed higher education provider aiming to do things differently. Its education model encourages both students and staff to approach learning from a work focused perspective. It’s an approach that is far removed from traditional ways of learning and embedding a real world work ethos is critical to achieving its goals.
Paul Guest, Head of Information Technology at NMITE, explains. “We’re keen to develop graduates capable of driving innovation and employing creative approaches to today’s challenges. One of the most important ways of doing this is to make their education a ‘work like’ experience. We wanted to provide both staff and students with a device as part of that experience. Once students enter the workplace they will be provided with devices and we think it’s important that we replicate such provision as part of their learning. It helps embed a workplace mentality and underpins our whole ethos.
“One of our major issues centred around how best to procure the devices and peripherals we need. Although we’re small at the moment, we have plans to increase the student body significantly in coming years and needed to develop a procurement model that would support our ambitions going forward. We also faced excessively long lead times, caused by the global pandemic and disrupted supply chains, that would make it difficult to scale to meet the expected increased demand for devices. Financing was also an issue. We recognised the significant up front cost such a strategy would require and wanted to explore the possibility of switching from capital expenditure (Capex) to an operational expenditure ( Opex ) model of ongoing procurement. It’s why we contacted Softcat.”
Critical success factors
- Secure suitable devices for use by students and staff
- Develop a procurement model to fulfil the increasing demand for devices going forward
- Minimise lead times and overcome supply chain disruption
- Facilitate Opex model for device financing
Adam Dolan, Softcat Account Manager takes up the story. “Paul was very clear about what he wanted to achieve. He wanted a standardised device estate that required minimal intervention to maintain and could be easily scaled to cope with increased demand as the institution grew. With limited IT support available he was also keen to explore what value added services, such as asset tagging, common software suites and configurations, could be provided as part of a service that was ‘more than just a box shifting exercise.’
“Rich Baker, End User Specialist at Softcat, was developing a Device as a Service ( DaaS ) provision that we knew would enable us to deliver what NMITE needed. We looked at multiple potential delivery partners and opted to work with Greensafe , a market leading IT services and recycling provider. It could provide the devices with the specified configuration, minimise lead times and deliver ongoing support to effectively maintain the device estate.”
“Softcat’s proposition for a lease system looked extremely positive and provided a mechanism to
move away from an up front Capex model.” said Paul. “It made clear how the procurement process would work, gave us a wide choice of device types and could be fulfilled using an existing Digital Workplace Solutions SBS framework. Softcat’s Public Sector experience proved to be a significant value add when it came to purchasing through the framework as we had no experience of the process.
“We trialled the process with an initial order of ten laptops. The success of that initial trial convinced us that the model was fit for purpose and we were up and running within 2-3 months from the initial conversation. We opted for standardised HP ProBooks for staff and students. Every device matched our preferred specifications, was pre-configured with asset tags and benefited from HP TechPulse , a cloud based monitoring platform that collects critical data from the device estate to predict and resolve issues before they impact users.”
- Device as a Service ( DaaS ) solution eliminating upfront expenditure
- Standardised device and peripherals estate with ongoing support
- HP devices pre-configured with HP TechPulse device monitoring and maintenance platform
Providing devices to every student is extremely rare within the HE sector. It helps to both embed NMITE’s ‘real world work ethos’ and proves attractive to prospective students. Students and staff benefit from the latest devices and applications, and as an organisation, NMITE can be confident that robust device security is in place.
Every device matches NMITE’s required specification, minimising the burden on IT support and a buffer stock of 50 devices is held by Greensafe to minimise lead times and provide rapid replacements if required. “We outsource our IT support to a third-party provider,” said Paul. “The standardised configuration and inclusion of HP TechPulse minimises bloatware and will help to simplify device estate maintenance going forward.
“From a cost perspective, the DaaS solution is tremendous value. Eliminating Capex and switching to an Opex model is just one of the advantages. Each device comes with a software suite that, through the effective use of a corporate licencing model, pretty much covers the headline cost of the device. We have the option to refresh devices after three years and they have a residual value. It means we can buy the device outright at the end of the lease period or opt to lease newer devices should they be needed.
“The whole engagement has been characterised by Softcat’s willingness to do so much more than just box shift. It has proactively developed a long term strategy with built-in added value. The solution will evolve to include access to Softcat’s eCat service to enable future orders to be fulfilled by our third-party IT provider using a simple to use online portal. There have been little or no issues so far, and any that have arisen have been quickly and efficiently rectified. The solution helps to differentiate us in the marketplace and represents a huge cost saving for NMITE. And as we scale our provision, those saving will increase over time.”
Benefits at a glance
- Device provision helps attract students and embed workplace ethos
- Buffer supply of devices to facilitate rapid replacement if required
- Enables switch to Opex financing for device estate
- Strategy developed for ongoing provision and support
Paul was aware of Softcat’s reputation having previously worked in the Public Sector. “Softcat is recognised by many organisations as a good supplier, with great knowledge of frameworks and how to get the best value from using them. Its offering is strong across multiple areas and account managers avoid the hard sell, preferring to concentrate on providing a fit for purpose solution based on our business needs.
“Adam brought extensive technical and sectoral knowledge to the table and showed impressive flexibility and innovation by tailoring a solution that responded to our exact requirements. He delivered a solution that does exactly what we need, and made a small organisation feel highly valued.”
“Softcat’s Public Sector experience proved to be a significant value add when it came to purchasing through the framework as we had no experience of the process.”