Today, TAFE NSW and Dell Technologies have announced they have worked together on a comprehensive refresh of TAFE NSW’s technology, overhauling the back-end infrastructure and end-user devices.
In the last twelve months, TAFE NSW has worked with Dell Technologies on a comprehensive technology refresh inspired, in part, by both the move towards hybrid learning, as well as the advanced courses it teaches using applications like AutoCAD and other apps focused on graphically intensive tasks such as games and virtual world development.
The shift towards remote working during, and after the pandemic also brought TAFE NSW’s attention to the fact its existing technology fleet was not fit for purpose and that roles had changed.
TAFE NSW is one of Australia’s leading educational and training organisations, with 430,000 students passing through its doors both virtually and on-campus every year. It’s also geographically dispersed, with 130 locations spread across 850,000 square kilometres.
TAFE NSW’s goal is to create workforce-ready students and to do this it caters to a diverse range of learners, from school leavers to career changers, offering qualifications ranging from certificates and advanced diplomas through to degree-level programs.
With its diverse range of campuses and students, TAFE NSW needed a technology solution to help it democratise education offerings, giving students across the state access to the same standard of affordable higher education, regardless of where they live.
TAFE NSW turned to Dell Technologies after it realised the old idea of a power user had been superseded by the concept that everyone was now a power user due to the hardware-intensive adoption of applications like ubiquitous video calling, Microsoft 365, and Teams. TAFE NSW needed an affordable technology solution catering to multiple staff personas.
Further complicating the situation before the refresh was the fact the previous fleet was desktop-heavy, while changing user needs meant a greater mix of laptops were required.
These devices couldn’t cope with the “to-anything-from-everywhere world” we now live in. Instead, TAFE NSW invested in devices that arm TAFE NSW’s faculty and students with the latest built-in intelligence, collaboration, and performance technologies, as well as sustainability features.
During this refresh TAFE NSW deployed 7,480 devices in total within the recent IT Asset Refresh Program. It also deployed an additional 4,336 devices within the last year, meaning it has deployed approximately 11,800 devices in the last year.
TAFE NSW chose various iterations of Dell Technologies’ Precision laptops, with decision-makers impressed by the greater lifespan (TAFE NSW expects to get between 4-5 years out of its equipment), higher performance and the ability to add discrete graphics cards if increased graphics performance is required by students or teachers.
Many of these Precision devices are helping TAFE NSW students become Australia’s future cutting-edge designers and game developers. To enable this TAFE NSW has installed 1,730 super advanced desktop computers for gaming and design courses across the state.
Around 110 DELL Precision Tower 3660 will be used in gaming courses at three locations – St Leonards, Grafton and Port Macquarie – while 1,620 DELL Precision Tower 3660s are for use in design courses offered across the state.
In undergoing this digital transformation, TAFE NSW had several key goals it needed to hit, including no increase in support costs, and the need for the refresh to be finished in the five months leading up to the end of last financial year.
This tight deadline, mixed with the fact TAFE NSW has 45,000 rooms, a smooth deployment was key to success. To meet these goals, TAFE NSW used Dell Technologies Zero Touch and Concierge services.
These services saw Dell Technologies and its implementation partners book, deliver and install around 7,000 systems from February to the end of June 2023. Dell Technologies also removed the old technology, including non-Dell Technologies equipment, for recycling ensuring TAFE NSW has no tech debt hanging over its head.
Since the roll-out, a survey of TAFE NSW staff has found 75% of respondents would award the new technology and associated implementation process a score of between 4.5 and 5 out of a possible five. This result highlights the success of the program and the fact the devices are meeting staff needs in the new, hybrid work environment.