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5 Insights From Moving to Saasyan Assure

We sat down with two IT directors who have recently made the switch to Saasyan Assure to learn about their experience and insights they may have for others considering a similar move.

Ron Robinson is the Director of Information Technology at Toowoomba Grammar School (TGS) and implemented a combined Saasyan Assure and Palo Alto solution in November 2022.

Afzal Shariff is the Director of IT Services at Canterbury College after recently moving from A.B. Paterson College. He has implemented a combined Palo Alto and Saasyan Assure solution at both schools in the past year.


Here Is What They Had To Say 

1. Involve the right stakeholders from the start to make sure end users are happy with their selection and can understand how others in their role will use the solution.

2. Know what you want and establish your school’s priorities for what you are looking for early on.

3. Simplify and delegate to help reduce IT workload and actively involve wellbeing, teaching, and leadership staff throughout the process.

4. Set goals with Saasyan’s support staff for what you are looking to achieve within your first year.

5. Be proactive with change management and leverage Saasyan’s support team to make sure no one feels overwhelmed.


Read The Full Interview Below

Ron Robinson - Toowoomba Grammar School (TGS)

1. What decision-making process did you go through and who was involved? 

TGS undertook a full functionality assessment between vendors and a cost comparison was completed for functionality against cost.

A key stakeholder group was formed and presented with an abridged demonstration showcasing functionality from the educator/end user’s perspective. From a technical and functional perspective, IT’s preferred solution was Saasyan, however the final decision was to be made by the stakeholder group… They supported our recommendation.

Stakeholders included the pastoral decision makers, as well as the head of junior and senior schools, and several responsible officers in the pastoral care function.  


2. What has been the most noticeable change you have observed since switching to Saasyan? 

  • Reduced workload for IT
    The IT workload post deployment is almost zero. Saasyan puts the tools back in the educator’s hands.

  • Ease of use for non-technical staff
    Very easy to use, most picked up usability after only one session and with use of the supporting training videos.

  • Increased visibility across students’ online activity
    The granular nature of data gathering and the flexibility of crowed sourced triggers is a bonus, however the hooks available into MS office platforms are vital and very affective. 

  • Delegation of duty of care
    TGS set up 4 groups that manage/ oversee the information being gathered. Security groups allow us to efficiently delegate to the appropriate resource group.

  • Proactive intervention with wellbeing alerts
    This has proven very effective as alerts are getting to the right interventional resources in a very appropriate timeframe, supported by robust post-incident follow up and review opportunities. 

  • Flexible web filter controls and reporting options through Assure’s integration with LMS
    This is critical to the management of our pastoral care function. There are many ways to slice and dice information for reporting, trending, and intervention opportunities. 


3. What were your considerations and how did you weigh them? 

  • SaaS rather than appliance
    TGS has a ‘Cloud First’ strategy. This product meets that need, furthermore, with the appropriate Palo Alto agents installed on all school provided devices, whether the device is on premise or offsite, the information is still attainable in real time.

  • Total cost of ownership 
    You cannot put a price on the care of our students. However, from a purely economic standing, and when compared to our previous offering, Saasyan provided a 26% faster ROI, when you include the human resource savings in management.

  • Capability to monitor Microsoft Teams and Google
    Saasyan’s integration with MS Teams is vital for effective pastoral care across MS Platforms.

  • Providing a superior experience for involving non-technical personnel 
    All end users, even the sceptics, have made reference to its ease of use, regardless of technical ability.

  • Leveraging a combined solution with next generation firewall 
    TGS uses Saasyan in combination with our new Pal Alto Firewalls. This provides a far greater depth of visibility than what was possible with our previous solution.


4. What would be your guidance for fellow colleagues in the industry making the switch to Assure? 

Start early on the change management piece. Don’t start with what the platform does, start with how the new platform will empower the educators with the tools they need to ensure productivity and flexibility in the classroom, whilst providing an ever present eye on pastoral care.


5. Do you have anything you wish to share on your experience with Saasyan’s initial onboarding, training, deployment and ongoing support?

The support team is second to none. Nothing was ever too much effort and the proactive outreach by Saasyan staff during the whole process to see if help could be provided was fantastic. It's always good to be able to reach out and actually speak to someone.


Not Once, But Twice

Afzal Shariff - Canterbury College, A.B Paterson College

As an IT Director who has implemented Saasyan Assure at two seperate colleges in the past 12 months, can you share your perspective on your decision and experience?

We evaluated various software after defining what was the requirement of the software application. We created list of features, functionalities, and performance benchmarks for each software. Looked at the demo online and costed each software.

Overall, the adoption of the Assure has the potential to significantly enhance student wellbeing and improve pastoral care programs that our college provides. 

Teachers can monitor digital activity in real time to gain visibility and control over their students' online activity. Ease of use is critical for the success of the application to be used in classrooms by academic staff.

Our key considerations were:
-    Functionality 
-    Ease of use
-    Integration with current firewall

Every school is unique, and so are their requirements. Therefore, I would recommend thoroughly assessing their needs before embarking on a journey to adopt a new software solution.

It is essential to plan and manage the change when implementing a new software solution such as Saasyan. It is as important to ensure that your do your evaluation of the various software thoroughly.