Providing a cost saving, future-proof solution for education

The Landstede Group will implement a new connectivity infrastructure through Axians Network as a Service (NaaS). Thanks to NaaS as a future-proof solution, the educational institution is now expecting considerable cost savings and the chance to free up more time from their IT department to focus on innovation in education.

With around 25,000 students and 3,000 employees, Landstede is one of the largest educational institutions in the Netherlands. The group offers secondary, vocational and adult education, at 44 locations in the Netherlands.

Fast internet for more than 30,000 users has an impact on the network

Landstede had to deal with an outdated, complex and sometimes unstable network. In addition, the support of many components were coming to an end. Yet around 30,000 users want fast internet and related services every day. The network was therefore subject to strict and ambitious needs. For example, virtual reality is increasingly being used in the “classroom of the future”. Where students can train in realistic scenarios for sectors such as security, care, technology and construction.

Jacco Heikoop, head of IT and Information Management a.i. at Landstede Group said that the organisation had more wishes than just a new, excellent performing network.

We want to save costs and be innovative at the same time. But the most important requirement is that the network must always work.

Landstede considered purchasing all the equipment themselves, before making the move to Network as a Service. They realized that behind the scenes they spent a lot of time and money on monitoring the network, implementing updates and guaranteeing security and stability, and they no longer want to manage hundreds of switches alone.

Network outsourcing is on the rise

More and more organizations are outsourcing their daily Connectivity infrastructure management. A survey by IDC [1] shows that in 2018 71 percent of the networks in Western Europe were already managed by an external party. Furthermore, research from Computer Profile [2] shows that education is a leader in the use of cloud solutions, such as online learning environments.

By choosing NAAS, we no longer have to worry about Lifecycle Management. Our costs are predictable, we pay according to what we actually use based upon our usage and we will know the exact investment if we want to renew locations or add new locations

Heikoop Jacco

Head of IT and Information Management a.i. at Landstede Groep

Network as a Service is a secure solution

Another advantage is that Landstede Group can be sure patches and security fixes will be monitored and implemented. Which is a very important element for the group.

“We have to comply with the strict rules of GDPR. The accountant checks us for this. But now that this has been allocated with Axians their specialists and processes, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. We do not need to hire a person in charge of (network) security or to train a specialist for it.”

IT department moves towards a steering role

The transition to NAAS also mean cost savings certainly play a role. There are no dismissals. The employees involved are now deployed in other roles, for example as IT teachers.

“A win-win situation also arises there, because it is difficult to fill those vacancies. Those who remain in the IT department will have more of a managerial role. Their role will become less reactive and operational and students and teachers will notice that. Because our IT staff can now focus more on adding quality, there will be a knowledge platform in which teachers, IT staff and suppliers participate. That should result in an innovation calendar for the coming years.”

IT people are more present in the classroom

The IT department will also be more visible in the classroom. IT employees get more time for innovation, together with the teacher. This should, among other things, lead to the optimal use of apps such as Class Notebook and Microsoft Teams. Contributing to reducing administrative burdens and workload with smart solutions is also among the goals. In secondary vocational education, for example, three quarters of teachers experience high work pressure. According to the Educational Research Directorate, it has already been demonstrated in other sectors that this is an important cause of stress and burnout symptoms. This effect has a negative effect on learning performance.

Landstede Group with new network ready for the future

Landstede expects NaaS to be fully operational this summer. The group is then ready for the future.

“We are technically prepared for the arrival of things like WiFi6 and AX-technology. By choosing Cisco Meraki we make a reliable choice for our students. They are born today the mouse. The moment is almost here when students start taking lessons remotely or look back at the recordings later. You have to be able to respond to such trends. If you do not grow along with this type of development, then you have to deal with schools that do. Strategic thinking about the future and role of IT in education is therefore crucial.”

According to Heikoop, the choice of Axians was motivated by the good track record of Axians in education.

“Axians is a major player who has proven to be able to handle such large-scale jobs. They are not a ‘box mover’ that only delivers technology. Axians is a true knowledge partner who thinks along. That is what you are searching for in an important decision like this, good advice and a party you can fall back on.”

Long Term Partnership

By deploying our knowledge and expertise, we are happy to make a positive contribution to good education in the Netherlands. together with our technology partner Cisco Meraki. We are particularly proud that Landstede has chosen for a long-term partnership and for Axians’ Network as a Service.

Greeve Tom

Deputy Managing Director at Axians NL