The partnership between the Brazilian educational institutions Bom Jesus Educational Group and Universidade São Francisco, and Nutanix is empowering over 42,000 students to succeed.
With Nutanix by their side, Bom Jesus Educational Group and the Universidade São Francisco (USF) are successfully delivering seamless access to education technology for 42,000 students across Brazil. Along with 40% increased performance and a 30% reduction in IT costs, the institutions’ teams also enjoy an improved quality of life thanks to Nutanix’s simplified management and efficient technical support.
The Bom Jesus Educational Group and the Universidade São Francisco are two distinct companies, but interconnected by the founding friars of the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception of Brazil, who have been working in Brazilian education for over 100 years. In all, the two institutions bring together more than 5,000 employees and around 42,000 students.
The Bom Jesus Educational Group is headquartered in Curitiba (PR) and has more than 30 educational facilities in Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, operated as Colégio Bom Jesus. In higher education, Bom Jesus has three campuses in Paraná and an education unit in Blumenau (SC), operating as FAE Centro Universitário. In addition, the group has five other business units: Editora Bom Jesus, Valor Brasil – Promotional Products, Bom Jesus Theater, Lace – Language Center and Gráfica Bom Jesus.
The Universidade São Francisco (USF), which is maintained by Casa Nossa Senhora da Paz, also has a strong presence in higher education. USF is located in the state of São Paulo, with campuses in the cities of Bragança Paulista, Campinas, Itatiba and eight additional distance learning hubs. It has more than 40 undergraduate courses, three stricto sensu graduate programs and more than 20 lato sensu graduate courses. The institution holds the highest possible scores from the Brazilian Secretary of Education Department (MEC).
Recognized for bringing together the best of tradition and innovation in their educational services, Bom Jesus and Universidade São Francisco strive to empower students to uphold the ethical, moral and spiritual values of Franciscan principles. Together, the institutions offer educational programs that cover the entire learning path, from early childhood education to higher education.
As part of their commitment to improving the student learning process, the Bom Jesus Educational Group and USF understand the important role that IT plays for their activities.
“It’s our job to provide our students with the best possible technology experience, one that meets the needs of every single age group we support,” said Prof. Dr Marcelo Bardi, Information Technology Manager.
In addition to using IT for daily operations, their work is also driven by differentiation and innovation. For example, classrooms need to be connected and capable of delivering always-on Wi-Fi, audiovisual and multimedia tools, and more.
When choosing a new solution, the education institutions carefully considered how to best serve the needs of their customers, the students.
“What we thought about was this: How can we offer a technology that’s attractive to a two-or- three-year-old child, who can’t even read? And how can we also meet the demands of the students in our graduate programs, so that they can leave our institution mastering these technologies?” said Bardi.
The idea to choose a hyperconverged infrastructure began with a technological reorganization of the institutions, where they made the strategic decision to bring all their processing infrastructure in-house. They chose to invest in a hyperconvergence solution as part of their strategy for Disaster Recovery and data center modernization.
“In 2013, we started to plan the environment so we could have our own data centers,” said Bardi. “Then in 2017, we created a second data center to effectively act as an active contingency environment. That way, if the primary data center ever fails, we already have the secondary data center ready to take over.”
Before the migration, Bom Jesus Educational Group and USF were using a traditional 3-Tier architecture. Now, the institutions are running ERP and CRM applications and more, all powered by their Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure data center.
Leading the way in flexible learning
For Bardi and the Bom Jesus Educational Group and USF teams, investing in the right technology tools to support their students and their staff is critical. With Nutanix, the organizations can successfully handle ever-increasing demand from students, as the volume of access requests grows every day.
“We can now deliver technology services to all of our 42,000 students across Brazil in a centralized way,” said Bardi. “They can be assured that when they’re taking a virtual exam, doing an activity, or when they need to connect with the teacher for an assignment, whether on a weekend, at night or in the morning, they know that the virtual environment will be 100% available.”
The administrative teams from both institutions are also enjoying the benefits of Nutanix.
“We notice great staff satisfaction because all of our systems are delivered via virtual desktops. We are able to deliver the ERP with all its processing capacity to our team no matter where they are,” said Bardi.
The result is seamless access to technology.
“Our students and staff aren’t able to notice the difference between their application running on a physical machine or running on the app,” said Bardi. “So, someone in Rio de Janeiro-over 600 miles away-does not notice any delay. This is an amazing transformation in customer experience.”
Simple management and improved performance
One of the main motivators for Bom Jesus Educational Group and USF to choose a hyperconverged infrastructure was because it’s easy to manage multiple services from one single platform.
“Our Nutanix solution makes management much easier and also helps us continuously improve the service quality,” said Bardi.
When it was time to migrate to their new solution, the IT teams found that Nutanix co-operated with all of the processes involved, from the environment design to the implementation stage.
For such a large organization, it made sense to perform the migration in stages.
“We didn’t migrate in one single moment,” said Bardi. “It took three migration phases with everything planned in agreement with Nutanix.”
To give their 42,000 students the best learning experience, the IT professionals from both institutions knew they needed to invest in the right technology. After choosing Nutanix, they were delighted to find that they were actually saving money.
“Since we are a non-profit organization, we have a legal obligation to reinvest all the previous year’s profits in the current year. We choose to invest a considerable amount of our profit in technology,” said Bardi. “After turning to Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure, we had an IT cost reduction of around 30%.”
Quality of life improvement
Along with saving time and money, the institutions are finding that Nutanix is also making their lives easier.
“I think the best example regarding the improvement in people’s quality of life is not having to go to the data center every day,” said Bardi. “Because Nutanix offers management capabilities outside the application installation site, our team gains a lot as a result. There is something we usually joke about within the IT department: if things are quiet, it means things are good. There have been very few times when we’ve had issues with Nutanix applications.”
The IT professionals have also been impressed by the speed and quality of the support they’ve received, when they’ve needed to use it.
“In 2019, I can count on one hand how many times we actually had to use Nutanix’s specialized technical support,” said Bardi. “In addition to having cutting edge technology that’s recognized internationally, we also have a quick answer to questions and potential concerns.”
The reason that the organizations chose to work with Nutanix wasn’t solely down to the solution being the right fit. They also saw how well the values of the two companies align.
“We are very judicious when choosing who we do business with. It is mandatory that our partners respect our philosophy and the ethical principles we follow daily,” said Bardi. “What I am actually looking for is a company that becomes our business partner.”
With Nutanix, Bardi believes that Bom Jesus Educational Group and USF have found the ideal fit.
“When we find a technology and a company that’s aligned with our strategic vision, we’re definitely going to work with them,” said Bardi. “That’s how we feel about Nutanix. It’s a mature technology and we really feel the difference and the benefits.”
The goal for the educational institutions is to give students all the technology tools they need to succeed. In that sense, they see Nutanix as a crucial part of the equation.
“Just because the user doesn’t see the Nutanix application, they have still benefited from this resource,” said Bardi. “When our students become successful professionals, they will remember that their educational institutions had all these technologies available for their use.”