Case Study
OLC save York High School time and money on Microsoft Licensing

For York High School their annual Microsoft School Agreement seemed to be a costly occurrence, filled with uncertainty due to a lack of understanding about legislation and appropriate cover. But following a procurement process SBL saved the specialist sports school valuable time, funds and proved that when working with them they were in safe hands!

York High School

York’s newest High School was launched in purpose built facilities in January 2009 to accommodate up to 1,000 students between the ages of 11 and 16 years. The school positions itself as being large enough to offer a wide range of courses, but small enough to know individual pupils.

ICT – Enhancing Teaching and Learning

Like any modern school, ICT is at the heart of all new developments and is used to enhance teaching and learning – a fact reinforced though a new state of the art ICT network, which truly positions the school’s facilities for the 21st century.

The Brief

Complementing the facilities York High School was looking to renew their annual Microsoft School Agreement for its 487 desktop machines – or so they thought!

York High School’s Network Manager, said: “Like any organisation we were looking to fulfil our legal requirements for our software licenses but with so many machines we knew that we needed to get the very best deal. We quickly found out that any ICT company can sell you a licence but it’s the specialists like SBL who take the time to understand your needs and can really deliver – not just on price but on excellent customer service that adds value and saves you time.”

Saving £6,000

During an initial consultation Samantha Hickman, Education Account Manager for OLC – the Academic Division of SBL, took the time to understand York High School’s requirements before offering expert advice, built up over SBL’s 22 years of working within public sector supply.

Samantha commented: “License agreements can be complicated and there are many misconceptions about what you need. We could certainly have delivered to the School’s brief; that would have been quick and simple but that isn’t how we work. At SBL we use our experience and expertise to recommend the product that best suits the customer’s needs. In this instance this helped to save York High School over £6,000.

“York High School was simply over licensed; they were paying for a full license that they didn’t need. We worked with them to make sure that their School Agreement featured the right cover so that they weren’t paying for elements that they did not require.”

Recognising the Danger Signs

It was during this consultation that SBL discovered a problem; one that was costly and potentially very dangerous. The nature of the existing Dell desktops meant that pupils were able to flick a voltage switch at the back of every machine, turning it from 230v to 110v. Every time a pupil turned the machine on it ran the risk of blowing the desktop.

“We knew that some pupils were vandalising the power supply, a dangerous and costly act. We’d tried a variety of solutions but none seemed to work. After a discussion with SBL and a quick measure up, the team found a material that would safely and securely cover the volt switch. SBL even found suitable glue and had the plates cut to size and fitted. They have completely eradicated the problem,” continued York High School’s Network Manager.


SBL are keen to ensure that every customer gets the best from their software, this often includes facilitating demonstrations and educating clients about what they are receiving and the benefits associated with their purchase. For York High School this was no different.

After realising that the School’s network team had never received a demonstration of their Adobe Design software, this was quickly co-ordinated, providing clear examples of what could be achieved through different packages and ultimately offering guidance on a product that would best suit the school’s needs. This resulted in the school purchasing Adobe Design Premium Site Licence.

Everything We Need, With No Hidden Extras

“When we started our quest to find a suitable licence supplier we didn’t realise that there were so many benefits associated with talking to the right organisation.

“Although we were receiving comparable quotes from other suppliers, we discovered that these didn’t include everything that we needed, such as warranties and that there were hidden costs.

SBL looked into areas that other companies didn’t. They provided us with everything that we required with no hidden extras or unnecessary elements. The team offered expert advice and guidance, which gave us confidence in our purchases and saved us valuable funds,” concluded York High School’s Network Manager.

Looking to the future

What’s next – SBL is definitely the supplier of choice for York High School, providing licensing advice and answering hardware questions. Through their status as a Sophos reseller and recognised position as an Information Assurance specialist, SBL’s OLC team are now looking into all future Sophos Licensing.

Why SBL?

OLC is the dedicated academic division of SBL, offering hardware, software, training and service solutions for education – including LEA’s, universities, colleges and schools.

With over 20 years’ unrivalled experience OLC offers a clear understanding of the unique requirements facing today’s educational market place.

With a goal of ensuring pupils have the best possible learning experience, OLC offer a complete stress free process, time and costs savings, the right solution and complete satisfaction to establish mutually productive, long term partnerships.

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