Previously, Antony opened up about what excites him in his new position of Chief Technology Officer.

Here he details what he’s working on that directly affects our customers.

As I outlined in my last blog (10 October), I have 4 main priorities:

  1. Ensuring we face the software demands for schools
  2. Reviewing how WCBS’ technology needs affect our customers
  3. Looking at opportunities for more customer engagement
  4. Continuing to take security seriously
    – for WCBS and our customers
Antony Woodhams, CTO

1. Facing the software demands for schools

Globally, technology trends have moved rapidly towards the cloud. It’s what most of us as consumers expect nowadays. I certainly wouldn’t look for a new software system that was necessary to install on a server somewhere in my own premises. We don’t think it should be any different for the education sector. In fact, we know from a recent survey that it’s one of the key reasons for replacing a system, so actually for us to be developing cloud-native solutions built for that theatre from the outset is vitally important and it will become increasingly the case that customers demand these solutions in the future. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the de facto norm for most software solutions and this is where we must focus our investment to secure the road ahead.

2. Review of WCBS’ technology needs affects our customers

In addition to the technological advances in our software engineering, we also need to look at how WCBS as a business works with technology. There are a number of areas that are specifically important. Firstly, our internal systems, the software we use to manage the business has a huge impact and is a significant cost annually. Are we spending money wisely on these systems? Are they secure, scalable and cost-effective? Could we achieve greater efficiencies or cost savings by consolidating systems, or negotiating better deals? Secondly, our IT estate – do employees have the right tools to get the job done, what is the state of our server infrastructure, and how can we make sure we get the maximum density and benefit from our investment in technology? This is not only important internally to WCBS, but also how we deliver technology to our customers.

An example of this is the on-premise hosting solution which has been successful to date with around 50 schools already onboarded. Right now we are reviewing this, looking at what the next phase, the next generation of our hosted offering looks like. We must continue to modernise and evolve that platform to give our customers the key benefits of a secure and resilient infrastructure platform.

3. Opportunity for more customer engagement

Another priority is the WCBS Academy and how we can evolve and enhance it to provide the next version. It’s a very exciting project with huge potential to deliver incredible value, not just to customers, but also to us internally. Sarah Burnell [Consultancy Services Manager] and I are whittling down a short list of potential candidates. It represents a fantastic opportunity for us to get customers more engaged with the software to give them a better overall understanding of how it works ultimately to gain the full benefits.

I’m hopeful that perhaps one day we’ll even be able to integrate it with our own products. For example, if you are a HUBmis user and you are also registered with the WCBS Academy and you’ve completed certain courses, you can achieve some recognition displayed on your user profile to show off the fact that you’ve learned and engaged with the technology.

4. Taking security seriously – for WCBS and customers

Security is always under constant watch. We take this very seriously and the first step to provide reassurance that we develop software in a way that takes our customers’ security seriously as well is to have a recognised indicator to the market, so we achieved NCSC Cyber Essentials certification.

Security is not just about technology though. A key aspect of this is educating our own staff and also educating our customers about security best practices.

If you want to talk about any of these points, I’m free for calls – book an
Ask me anything meeting to find out more.