Valley View Independent School District
Automated Account Provisioning increases efficiency
Valley View Independent School District
- The IT staff was spending a tremendous amount of time and effort processing user accounts manually.
- Automated account provisioning led to big savings and IT staff can now maximize their talents for more high-impact projects.
Valley View ISD encompasses roughly 10 square miles of Hidalgo, TX along the southeast Rio Grande, and serves 5,500 students and staff across 8 schools: 2 High Schools (1 Early College Campus), a Junior High School, a 5th grade school, and 4 Elementary Schools.
Prior to discovering Tools4ever, Valley View was already implementing a solution to automate account creation and lifecycle processes. Manual management had been preventing their capable IT team from addressing other needs, such as upkeep and replacement of other technological resources: “The district was investing too much time and human capital in our technical team to create accounts versus maximizing their talent and utilizing them for things that have high-impact, high-visibility at the district level,” said Valley View’s IT Director, Jorge Martinez. “If you do the math in hours and the daily rate they get, there was too much money going down the drain for just account creation.”
Jorge’s experience with another solution in a previous district led Valley View’s initial decision-making process, but implementing that vendor’s newer product quickly revealed difficulties. “We actually ended up unplugging it because they were taking forever to implement it and we had to restructure our entire AD and they still couldn’t get it,” he explained. With the school year impending, Jorge informed the vendor that they did not “have the time or effort to be used as guinea pigs right now.”
Around that time, Jorge received an email regarding Tools4ever’s successful UMRA implementation at a nearby district and quickly assessed the solution as a viable replacement for their unfinished project. Tools4ever “pretty much explained and demoed the product and some of the capabilities and everything it can do,” according to Jorge. “We did our homework” in looking over references, he said, adding “everybody was for the solution.”
Valley View’s UMRA automation was up and running within a week. “We have 11 systems that are fully utilizing the User Account Provisioning and Passwords for the automation process,” Jorge explained. The automated systems include learning and staff resources such as Accelerated Reader, Follett Destiny, Study Island, Pearson Successnet, Timeclock Plus, Elevations, and TripDirect. “The benefit of this is that now you log in as a teacher and you see the same courses as you would when you go into your gradebook and your students will automatically be there.”
“Ever since post-installation and everything has been complete, I really haven’t called support.”
Jorge Martinez, IT Director
Perfecting the Process
At UMRA’s handoff, Valley View had no qualms about assuming full ownership. HR had created student and staff dummy accounts within a test environment to check all of the processes. “That helped us to see the areas we needed to fine-tune,” Jorge said, before setting the date for UMRA to go live. Tools4ever quickly updated the scripts for Valley View’s project to eliminate delays. The assigned consultant “would
email us as all that stuff was completed at night, so I guess he worked late hours,” remarked Jorge.
UMRA has only made life easier for the Valley View IT team since going live. “Ever since post-installation and everything has been complete, I really haven’t called support,” said Jorge. “The solution’s been working great and we haven’t had any major issues or anything like that – just a couple of fine-tunings,” he continued. “Of the 5 staff members that I have here, it is a combination of at least 1 to 2 of them that
would be managing this,” Jorge estimated, figuring “a combined 60% of their time would just be accounts, which is just ridiculous.”
It took “about a year” to demonstrate ROI, Jorge calculated. “I would say the first 2 quarters is getting everything situated, and then evaluating the entire solution,” he explained. After that, the Valley View team was already looking ahead for even more improvements, focusing on questions such as “how do we streamline other systems out there?” “It became more of an opportunity to partner with other departments that needed the account creation,” he expressed. Asked what advice he would give to other districts, Jorge stressed “starting early, getting the right departments and individuals involved in the process” in order to compile the “proper information for the engineers so they can execute the project in a timely fashion.”
With their account management challenges solved, Valley View has started tackling the district’s other projects such as determining a technology replacement plan. Jorge’s team now spends time working on VMware infrastructure, wireless infrastructure, network equipment upgrades, backups, firmware, and more. “Time and effort are invested in other initiatives and major projects that have high impact,” Jorge
said. “The outcomes were right on. In other words, we knew what we wanted, we got the proper connectors and everything. We did a test run on it, made sure it all worked, and fine-tuned it, so everything was expected as we discussed it from the very initial implementation and design.”