Insights: Case Study

Case Study: WA Department of Education – ICT Digital Census

Efficient and accurate data reporting is now available to the Department of Education, Western Australia, thanks to Kinetic IT and Amazon Web Services’ work to support mandatory IT device audits.

The Problem


Prior to automation, the mandatory ICT census across Western Australian schools would have a significant impact on educator time and resources due to it being a manual process.

The Solution


Using Kinetic IT specialists, and leveraging its long-standing partnership with Amazon Web Services, the traditionally three-month device audit is now shortened dramatically to just days through automated processes.

The Outcome


Following implementation, more than 10,000 hours in staff time is saved and device audit data gathered is significantly improved, providing accurate results within 24 hours to the customer.


Customer Background

The Department of Education, Western Australia, is responsible for delivering high quality education to almost 320,000 students in around 800 schools across Western Australia. The Department aims to deliver a high-quality education to all students in all learning environments, and is committed to students achieving their best and being lifelong learners who actively contribute to their communities and society.

To meet reporting requirements, the Department conducts an annual computer census to understand the number and types of devices in schools across the state. Historically, this was a three-month process involving manual inventory counting across all schools, financial reconciliation and data collation.

In an effort to recover the time that schools had to invest in the ICT census, and to improve accuracy and quality of the audit data, the Department sought to automate the process, so turned to Kinetic IT as its strategic delivery partner for ICT services. As an Advanced Consulting Partner, Kinetic IT engaged Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support the project’s delivery.

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The Problem

  • Context: The customer sought to recover the time that schools had to invest in the ICT census, and to improve the accuracy and quality of data gathered.
  • Experience: As the customer’s long-term strategic delivery partner, Kinetic IT was engaged to design and develop a solution. Leveraging industry partnerships, Amazon Web Services was brought in to round out the project team.
  • Complexity: As one of the world’s largest geographic education jurisdictions, it was critical that the solution worked for each school the customer supports, including those in rural and remote communities where technology and data connections can be more challenging.
  • Collaboration: Ensuring public schools were supported to report their devices or device needs, Kinetic IT, AWS and the Department worked together to bring the automated device audit process to life.

“The benefits from automating the audit process were immediate. Device counts can be refreshed within 24 hours, allowing us to provide an audit to the Western Australian government in days instead of three months. Our staff can now allocate more of their time to teaching and student engagement.

— Glenn Veen, Director ICT Governance & Planning

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The Solution

With Kinetic IT’s specialist advice, the Department implemented an automated audit process where all devices such as computers, laptops, and tablets are recorded as soon as students and faculty staff log into the schools’ networks, eliminating all manual processes. In addition to saving an estimated 10,000 hours of effort, the automated system has also improved the accuracy of device count significantly whilst also delivering data of a much richer quality to enable device identification.

Wayne Berriman, Group Executive at Kinetic IT, says it was crucial that the solution designed was cost-effective, reliable and secure. “A challenge we faced when creating the solution was the volume of the data we had to process and store. Using the AWS Cloud, we were able to combine a number of AWS services to provide the Department with the compliance, computer power, security and storage needed for their cloud-based audit system.”

Kinetic IT designed a data lake architecture on the AWS Cloud to help the Department collect, anonymise, encrypt, and compress data at scale. Device and usage data are uploaded several times an hour from around 800 sites, and stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) ready for processing. To protect personally identifiable data, Kinetic IT uses encryption in transit and rest, while its proprietary algorithms anonymise the information processed in the AWS Cloud. This ensures sensitive data is secure and complies with the Department’s security and privacy guidelines. After processing, in line with the Department’s requirements for long-term storage and retrieval, data is compressed so that less than 8TB of Amazon S3 storage is required per year while still allowing for full functionality.

The Kinetic IT solution also segments and categorises the data on Amazon S3. Deploying its data storage on AWS has given the Department high system availability with an uptime of 99.99 percent, and helps the Department avoid data loss from possible single-point-of-failure situations.

A combination of AWS Lambda and Amazon Athena are used to run regular analysis queries across the data lake. This serverless analysis approach allows the Department’s data lake to store almost limitless amounts of data, while eliminating traditional database overheads and providing a cost-effective operating solution. Device classification details and aggregated datasets are stored in Amazon Aurora, which is then used for reporting and visualisation.

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“With this visibility, we are now able to have a virtually real-time understanding of the types of technology in use in schools across the state.

— Glenn Veen, Director ICT Governance & Planning

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The Outcome

The new census system has given the Department visibility into more than 340,000 devices across the school network, including 80,000 personally owned devices, which were not previously tracked. This data has informed the Department’s decisions on ICT infrastructure across the state, such as purchasing new equipment, upgrading bandwidth, and allocating tech support services.

Glenn Veen, the Department’s Director of ICT governance and planning, says the benefits from automating the audit process were immediate. “Device counts can be refreshed within 24 hours, allowing us to provide an audit to the Western Australian government in five days, instead of three months. Our staff can now allocate more of their time to teaching and student engagement.”

  • Cost Efficient: Reduction in costs, staff time required to run the audit and reporting time due to automated solution.
  • Accurate: Customer devices tracked to significantly high accuracy across a large and vast education jurisdiction.
  • Quality Service: The automated census provides a much finer resolution of device types in use across the estate.
  • Benefits: More than 10,000 hours of staff time now repurposed to support schools to deliver quality education to students across the state.

The Technology

ICT Digital Consensus – Automated ICT device audit using a cloud data lake

As an Advanced Consulting Partner, Kinetic IT engaged Amazon Web Services to provide Amazon Simple Storage (S3), Amazon Aurora, Amazon Glue and Amazon Athena solutions to support the customer’s requirements.

Kinetic IT can tailor its work to suit your business needs and seamlessly integrate solutions into your existing IT platforms.

  • Automation of business-as-usual tasks, such as audits
  • Effective decision making leveraging big data analytics
  • Efficient solutions that provide customers with the whole picture
  • Significantly accurate results using the industry’s leading partners

“With the automated census process allowing us a real-time view into the range of ICT devices used by our students and staff, we are able to provide schools with more time for teaching and learning with reduced administration overheads.”

— Glenn Veen, Director ICT Governance & Planning

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