Summary.

We’re pleased to have completed work on the first phase of a software project for Norfolk County Council – on behalf of Educator Solutions (formerly Services4Schools).

The task of creating a web application which was originally created using Microsoft Access is a complex and challenging one.

Our gifted technical team came through with a winning solution based on the Laravel framework. The new application is currently being trialed, with further modules due to come online over the coming year.

Project Background.

The project aimed to make it easier and quicker for schools to access the Council’s ordering application (based on Microsoft Access) to procure anything from stationery to materials and equipment.

Setup over a decade ago, the Access application had become unreliable and difficult to administer (with different schools using different versions of the software). The biggest issues being an un-intuitive interface (complex and confusing) and lack of browser support (VPN access was slow and required the installation of specific services).

Challenge and Approach.

The challenge was to come up with a way for schools to connect via a web browser whilst still retaining full access to the existing Access application.

Working with the team at NCC, we held a series of workshops to scope the project – culminating in a written specification outlining our approach, recommended technologies, timeframes and budgets.

We chose to use the Laravel framework, mainly for its flexibility and security – as well as being open source, it also has excellent documentation and resources.

The custom reporting function proved to be particularly complex, with a huge range of variables and calculations to perform and output in a structured format.

Outcome.

The end result was a custom, fast-loading, easy-to-use, responsive web application that ran in tandem with the existing Microsoft Access application and worked seamlessly across browsers and devices.

So far, feedback from schools has been resoundingly positive with future updates ongoing.