Accelerating the Transition to Online Learning and Testing when the Pandemic Hit

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Case study - Accelerating the Transition to Online Learning and Testing when the Pandemic Hit

About the Client

Global certification and exam organisation APMG International assesses and endorses a wide range of professional training and consultancy services for certification schemes. The organisation offers candidates direct access to accredited training providers as well as handling examinations on providers’ behalf.

When Covid-19 hit, APMG’s core business of in-person and paper-based services (and the associated revenue) was immediately impacted. We helped the organisation move fast to achieve 100% online service delivery.

Challenge: Covid-19 Threatened Business as Usual

APMG is a longstanding customer and an early adopter of cloud, DevOps and agile ways of working. Our established relationship and a deeply embedded partnership approach meant we could quickly take measures to reduce routine IT outgoings and ramp up online services. While many other organisations were reeling from the immediate impact of Covid-19, we worked with APMG to implement an effective strategic response.

“[The team] pulled out all the stops to support us through the upheaval of Covid-19. Lots of service providers talk about taking a partnership approach. [These guys] really mean it.”

David King
IT Operations Manager, APMG International

Solution: A Rapid Response to the New Normal

We developed a two-pronged response to the unprecedented changes brought about by Covid-19 and associated lockdowns. Measures to reduce routine IT spend were implemented in parallel to the build of an online platform for training and exam services provision.

Since we were already retained by APMG for managed cloud services on Azure, we were immediately able to reduce the monthly overhead. Cost saving measures were identified via an in-depth assessment to ascertain which cloud services were essential and which could be put on hold or scaled back. This significant downsizing of the estate was based on APMG’s new circumstances. For instance, we temporarily powered down one developer environment that wouldn’t be needed in the near future. In addition, we approached Azure to invoke its pandemic response, resulting in a change to APMG’s payment terms.

These steps enabled resource and budget to be redirected to the business-critical task of launching an online platform to handle services previously delivered in person.

Outcome: Remote Learning and Exam Provision Expanded

By the end of April 2020, five weeks after the UK entered full lockdown, APMG Learning Platform (ALP) was ready for launch. This online platform for training and exam provision meant APMG’s accredited training providers that previously relied on in-person services could replace these with a remote alternative. Initial teething problems linked to audio quality and international time zones were quickly resolved, enabling services to continue despite the ongoing upheaval and uncertainty of the pandemic.

This project resulted in an accelerated transition to online services for APMG and its training providers during the lockdowns. It has demonstrated the benefits of remote learning and proved that exam standards can be maintained with this model. Going forward, ALP will continue as a core part of APMG’s offering.

“This work on our learning platform build enabled us to move to 100% remote service provision in a matter of weeks. It protected our business and ensured continuity for our training providers and their candidates. It also accelerated our longer-term plans for more online service delivery and a truly digital first approach.”

David King
IT Operations Manager, APMG International

“The accepted wisdom is that organisations should adopt a cloud solution, but the execution of anything other than an off the shelf basic cloud solution is more complex than the literature suggests. We have benefitted greatly from [this collaboration]. Having a truly knowledgeable and committed partner enabled us to move at speed, no ifs, no buts. A real partnership in action.”

Richard Pharro

This case study is based on work completed by DevOpsGroup before the team joined forces with Sourced Group, an Amdocs company.