Case Study: Intelligent Monitoring Improves Productivity of Smaller School Districts



Profile: BC School District #5 Kootenay 

  • Number of schools:   17 schools in 21 sites
  • Number of Students:   5,200
  • IT Team size:  3 technicians             
  • Number of Servers:    80 VM servers and 20 physical services  



School District 5, located in the Kootenay region, is typical of many school districts in less populous areas. Its IT department is lean, its budget is dictated by student population size, and access to an IT Talent pool is limited. Given these limitations, the core IT staff had to remain focused on their core responsibilities and enlist the support of external solutions to manage their workload if they wanted to be an efficient and productive team. Putting their talent on the right tasks was critical to their success.

Their approach and intention was to proactively plan and manage their expanding IT infrastructure. The District was running various user directories on different platforms. Their plan was to migrate to Windows Active Directory across the entire district and implement a more robust IT solution with Exchange, SharePoint and other Microsoft technologies. As they added and upgraded software, hardware and even cloud-based apps, the workload of monitoring their system's performance manually became too onerous.


With over 80 servers, the small IT team had several challenges in ensuring an optimized systems performance: 1) they did not have the staff to complete a manual checklist of each server on a daily basis, 2) they had no in-house expertise to diagnose and resolve complex technical issues, 3) they had no visibility to monitor and predict where the critical issues could occur and 4) they had a limited budget. The IT Manager wanted to minimize the impact and disruption that a “firestorm” of technical problems would have on his staff and wanted to implement a program that could provide some assurance that his systems performed well at all times.


School District #5 sought the advice of PCIS on how best to achieve their objective in building efficiencies and minimizing workflow disruption. The school looked into various solutions but ultimately decided that the combination of automated monitoring software with access to on-demand IT support was the right solution for their IT environment.

Hiring additional staff or training current staff on new technology was not a viable option given their budget and time constraints. The solution had to be affordable, simple to deploy and alleviated workload on the current in-house team.

Within a few weeks, PCIS implemented and deployed an intelligent systems monitoring solution. They displayed the newly deployed dashboards on a large TV screen in the IT department giving the team a bird’s eye view to monitor the performance and health of the entire system. In addition, text and email alerts were set up to notify any of the team members of potential “red flags” at all times.


To protect and to maximize the return on their IT investment, the school district implemented a low maintenance intelligent monitoring program that optimized their systems performance, minimized potential disruption and averted potential technical crises. With the systems monitoring solution in place, the IT Manager can now focus his IT talent in the right areas of the business and achieve his productivity and service delivery goals.


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