National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure

The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI) has been set up to provide training and work experience to learners aged 18 and above in all aspects of what makes a modern railway.

No longer is this just engineering and wearing hard hats, they’re looking at creating great passenger experiences, innovation, digital design, communications, project management and leadership as well.

Driving the vision

NCATI want to create and enable the next generation of employees for the new era of rail travel and modernisation of the existing rail network, drawn from lots of different backgrounds and with the skills to take on any challenge.

The College is fully kitted out with the very latest equipment – trains, carriages, track and digital systems, to name a few – but they are always wanting to be pushing the college forward with advancements in technology that not only makes a difference to them and their systems, but also to the students that study there. That’s when they turned to Phoenix.

After a robust procurement process, NCATI chose Phoenix because they showed commitment to understanding the needs of the college and understood the direction of travel that the college were going in. Daryl Unitt, Head of Information Technology, National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure, said, “They had great relations with Microsoft, and they gave us the confidence that we knew that we could have a long-term relationship with them.”

Since partnering with Phoenix we've been able to better understand and better realise the features of the Azure stack. There are lots of features which we weren't aware of and the ability to actually ring up and communicate with experts within the Phoenix team - actually bounce ideas and understand what is the art of the possible.
Daryl Unitt, Head of Information Technology, National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure

Working in partnership with NCATI, Phoenix listened and understood the long-term strategy and goals and identified Microsoft Azure as the platform that would really allow them to deliver on this. Using Microsoft Azure not only allows them to increase capacity around staff and student numbers when needed, but also reduce their compute during quieter times. This puts them in control of their costs and helps them plan far more clearly and strategically in terms of cost and resource.

Daryl Unitt continued, “The things that we really found beneficial is the ability to know that it isn’t a sales exercise. That we really are in partnership and it is a trusted adviser relationship has really, really allowed us to maximize and leverage the investment we have made in Azure systems.”

Since embracing Azure, the college is now looking at expanding this into areas such as big data, artificial intelligence and business intelligence to understand their customers, learners, predict future trends and make better, more informed decisions.

Supporting the transformation

Another area that Phoenix have supported the college with is the supply of an IT Support Managed Service. This has had an almost immediate impact on NCATI for both users and the internal ICT Support Team. This Managed Service sees Phoenix delivering first-line support to the users enabling the in-house team to focus on more strategic and business critical projects.

Daryl Unitt concluded, “Phoenix have provided us with a Managed Service and we have noticed a massive uptake in user engagement. Our user base are happy to communicate and are regularly getting fixes on first support calls. This has meant that my ICT Support Team in-house had been able to concentrate on value-added services such as training, developing new systems and implementing new services.”