Saïd Business School & C-BIA in the time of COVID-19

Like many organisations during COVID-19, Saïd Business School (SBS) has had to cope with the pressures of changing working practices, increased workloads, budgetary pressures and remote-working.

But unlike most, it now had its client base of students from 67 countries scattered around the globe. It faced a mammoth challenge in continuously and seamlessly connecting these students with faculty and content to deliver its programmes remotely, and to the quality and consistency its students and reputation demands.

Saïd Business School: a Top 10 Business School

Saïd Business School is a Top 10 world ranked business school embedded as part of the No 1 world-renowned University of Oxford.

It competes in a global, competitive and fast changing market delivering education programmes to demanding post-graduate and executive students. It needs to deliver leading edge, highly resilient and totally secure IT capabilities and services 365/24/7.

The C-BIA and SBS partnership

C-BIA have supported SBS’ IT development, operations and support capabilities since 2015. Over these 5 years we have delivered projects in diverse business areas such as examination marking, finance and procurement. Services include Microsoft .Net and SharePoint development, Data Warehouse and Tableau analytics.

We also provide support for the Slate student admissions system and lead on data integrations and process automations to drive out cost, improve data quality and compliance.

This knowledge and experience meant we had firm foundations to take our support partnership to the next level when COVID-19 struck.

A joint response

COVID-19 has accelerated the take-up of new technologies and compressed delivery timeframes. This is as true at SBS as elsewhere.

In August 2020 SBS and C-BIA signed a new and innovative contract to extend their relationship. It covers support, operations and maintenance for a portfolio of C-BIA and other SBS systems.

Innovatively, it also includes a development ‘fund’ and priority access to C-BIA resources. This fund is used to deliver urgent work at short notice ‘off plan’, meaning Mario Spundak (Head of IT & App Development) and his team can now quickly respond to new demands from users. This work is often triggered by evolving operational responses to COVID-19.

The new contract has delivered 8 ‘mini-projects’ and a variety of ad-hoc support requests in the first 5 months of its operation.

“Our long standing on-shore/off-shore development, support and maintenance partnership with C-BIA has allowed the School and its IT Team to be flexible, agile and cost effective in meeting the fast paced changing needs, requirements and priorities of the School, especially in the current climate” says Mark Bramwell, CIO – Saïd Business School. 

Partnering with SBS has enabled us to develop a new way of working…” says Anthony Dent, Director and C-BIA Account Manager, “….building on trust, it further blurs the boundaries between the two organisations. It enables us to collaborate and act as a virtual team in the eyes of the users, whilst having the metrics and dynamic reporting to constantly monitor and improve delivery.” He added, “It is an ideal model for the focus on ‘next gen’ IT such as native-cloud student apps, automating business processes and virtual assistants.