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Low Code Higher Education 4 min read

TechTalk 1- How Greenwood, a Multi Academy Trust, is using Low Code to streamline processes

In this new series, we talk to customers like you about all things technology. We’ll cover their challenges, how they overcame them, and their thoughts on industry trends. We hope through their stories and opinions, you’ll get some useful insights you can apply to your own business. 

For this first episode, we sat down with Graham Feek, Deputy Chief Executive of Greenwood Academies Trust, to discuss why they chose Low Code, how the Ecosystem approach benefits Greenwood, and what he thinks of AI. 

Greenwood Academies Trust is one of the country’s largest Multi Academy Trusts. They are a ‘not for profit’ organisation with 37 academies educating approximately 18,000 pupils across England.  

Let’s dive in! 

Why Low Code?

We have a long-standing relationship with Microsoft, and we’re trying to find ways to do things better and save money, just like any other academy and school.  

That’s why we wanted to invest in Low Code and work with trusted partners to perform core processes fundamental to our business better, a lot quicker and cheaper. 

We’ve looked at Low Code for a while. In many of our academies, staff members have used Power Automate and Low Code to automate daily tasks. We concluded that whilst we encourage staff to do it on their own, there was a risk without boundaries, controls and due diligence around this process.  

It could ultimately become counterproductive because you rely on individuals to put processes in place. We wanted an organisational approach to develop it securely and with proper change management. While we continue to encourage staff to leverage Low Code for task automation, we wanted to build things in a planned, methodical way that is resilient over time. 

How is the Ecosystem approach enabling you to do more with Low Code?

We heard of the Ecosystem approach only after talking to ANS. At that time, it became very obvious to us that we needed extra security and diligence built into the whole Low Code process.  

I liked the ANS Ecosystem approach because this is not done ‘to’ us, but it involves training a number of team members so we can do more of it ourselves. We’re not the only organisation facing these challenges, so this approach ultimately allows us to share the learnings with our colleagues and other academy trusts, helping us build leadership within our sector.  

What do you think the future holds for AI, and what’s your plan?

I think the concerns about AI is that the technology has grown faster than most organisations’ ability to fully understand the potential implications and benefits.  

Some aspects require careful consideration at an executive level to ensure our staff and pupils effectively use this tech while aligning with the expectations of an organisation committed to supporting individuals.  

Now, for instance, with Bing Chat, you’d be able to input organisational data in a secure way. This will open up numerous benefits around how we can support young people in their learning.  

But I think our sector needs to take a step back and see how best to use these tools because they’re incredibly powerful. It will make a positive difference if educators are the ones guiding the process. We don’t have answers to many of those questions yet. But it is very exciting, and we have a responsibility to do it in a measured, sensible and secure way.