School District 23 (Central Okanagan Public School District)

Seven K-12 school students work together on a project by drawing and colouring. ERP software for K-12 school districts allows administrators to focus on students instead of manual tasks.

Customer Profile

Central Okanagan Public School District is located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. It serves a population of 25,000+ students across 47 schools. The district is in a state of growth and welcoming an increasing number of immigrant families and English Language Learners. Central Okanagan Public School’s vision statement is “Together We Learn."

Jon Rever is Assistant Superintendent of Schools at School District 23 (Central Okanagan) and also serves on several technology-related committees for the province.

Jon Rever
Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Central Okanagan Public School District

The Challenge

Central Okanagan used a legacy ERP system that had served their district for over thirty years. Challenges included paper-based, labour-intensive processes that were siloed into separate departments. Many processes were done in detached areas: in the system, on paper, via email, and had to move back and forth between departments. “People did the jobs they had to do [but] didn’t understand the full business processes they were engaged in,” Rever shared.

He added, “We were seeing the level of risk to the organization. Cybersecurity challenges were becoming more frequent and complex. We were worried about the infrastructure. We got to a place where the tolerance of risk to the organization had exceeded a threshold, knowing if something were to break, fail, or be attacked…we wouldn’t have been doing our due diligence to manage and mitigate that risk.”

In addition to these challenges, the district was also grappling with the increased complexity of both educational and business operations.

“How do we respond to the complexity we see in our classrooms, our schools, and spread across the district? As complexity increases and growth continues, we are bumping against significant budget pressures.” 

Jon Rever
Assistant Superintendent of Schools

They began discussing a new solution when Central Okanagan was advised that their ERP software would no longer be supported. The new solution would need to improve:

  • Overall efficiency
  • Organizational infrastructure
  • System security

“There’s an underlying effort to leverage the technology to achieve efficiencies, to digitize workflows, and recapture some of those labour-intensive dollars. We don’t have a challenge; we have multiple challenges. My role is to find ways to leverage the environment to make things more efficient and deliver better service,” stated Rever.

Selecting Sparkrock 365

The decision to adopt Sparkrock 365 was made based on several key considerations. These included improving workflows, enhancing processes, and fortifying the cybersecurity of the organization.

Sparkrock 365 is powered by the world’s most trusted education ERP platform – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. “[This] was a huge decision point for us,” Rever said. “The fact that we could integrate our ERP into our Microsoft ecosystem and see efficiencies from that move by itself was significant. People are used to it, so they aren’t identifying it as a unique change because they’ve been working in this environment already.” 

Another key factor was affordability. “We had multi-million dollar submissions, and we couldn’t touch them,” maintained Rever. “Some of these ERPs are just not affordable for school districts because of how we are funded.” Sparkrock 365 emerged as the affordable ERP solution that also served as a strategic response to the challenges Central Okanagan faced.

“The investment over time is really important to us because ERPs are not short-term endeavours. They are long-term relationships. We’ll be using Sparkrock well beyond my time in this organization.” 

Jon Rever
Assistant Superintendent of Schools

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The Outcome

The implementation of Sparkrock 365 yielded transformative outcomes:

  • Enhanced security
  • Improved workflows
  • Strategic plans for growth and change

Regarding security, Rever explained, “One of the things that Sparkrock allows us to do is distribute workload across the organization, so we are asking people to engage in processes that they’ve never done before....the digitization of paper-based workflows actually increases our level of security. We can foresee and envision these processes, whether they are happening right now or whether they could happen in the future.” The reinforced security measures implemented by Sparkrock 365 lay the groundwork for a seamless transition into improved workflow efficiencies.

After implementing Sparkrock 365, Central Okanagan Public School District experienced significant shifts. The school ERP addressed immediate challenges like security and efficiency. It fostered more collaboration and accountability between departments. “Sparkrock forced us to come together and understand all our business processes. In Sparkrock, everyone understands that they share the data and are responsible for it. If you don’t do your bit properly, you will affect downstream processes. It helped us get solid on our change management, framework, and strategy,” elaborated Rever. “We went live in Finance last May, and I’m starting to hear people say things like, ‘It’s more efficient, it’s more user-friendly. We like it.’ They are adapting to the change, and they are getting used to it.” 

To further illustrate the improved workflows, Rever shared an anecdote about their current purchasing card process, which used to be incredibly labour-intensive, with paper going all over the place. “By implementing Sparkrock 365,” he said, “What happens now is the transactions from over 450 purchasing cards come in and get uploaded and assigned to the users in the system. The users are notified and go into mySparkrock. They upload their receipts, attach them to the accounts, and then hit submit. That goes to accounts payable, where it’s verified and processed. It’s the same for expense claims and purchase orders. There’s no paper anymore. People are still notified, and there are still approvals, but it’s all digital.”

Sparkrock also positioned the district for ongoing success by leveraging technology to expand reporting and analytics capability. In discussing future goals for their school district, Rever remarked, “The real investment is around PowerBI and using it to generate customized reports for people they can interact with in different ways and filter data easily to distribute those reports out. That’s the future. In our 47 schools, we will build PowerBI dashboards for our Principals. They will be able to see their financial information, accounts, staff, attendance, absenteeism, all in one dashboard so they can easily access important information in one spot.”

As they continue to embrace Sparkrock 365, the commitment to long-term success is evident:
Rever stated, “I’m very much looking forward to the next several months. We’re very close to having our payroll system encompass all our employees, and that’s another process that will save massive amounts of labour.” 

Additional Benefits

Sparkrock 365 provides incomparable customer service to its clients. In addition to training and implementation support, Sparkrock provides a Customer Success Center where users can:

  • Report a Problem
  • View Webinars On-Demand
  • Access the MyProject Portal
  • Make a Suggestion
  • Join Customer User Groups

“We have very positive relationships with the Sparkrock team, project managers, and consultants, and that’s how we need to work. Whenever we get into a complex project, the vendor isn’t just the vendor. The vendor is part of the team, and we need to function as a team."

Jon Rever
Assistant Superintendent of Schools

Rever believes the Sparkrock team has worked hard to build the capacity of their consultants and support services. “They’re listening to their customers. They’re invested in the future. I think there are so many good things to come,” he concluded.

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