Connect Academy Trust
Plymouth and South Devon
Connect Academy Trust

Connect Academy Trustrevolutionises IT and estate management system with Zendesk for Education

Connect Academy Trust (CAT) is a growing multi-academy trust based in Devon. Made up of 8 primary schools in Plymouth & Torbay, CAT is an ambitious trust working on the UK’s first Ocean curriculum. Aiming to prioritise the things that really matter, CAT has a strong focus on the education and wellbeing of their students and staff.  


Connect Academy Trust strategically partnered with ION after realising the need to optimise and modernise their IT and estate management processes. Previously, CAT did not have a system in place to manage their IT support or estate maintenance requests. Many requests took place via email, phone calls, or frequent visits to the IT Department office. This created disruptions to workflows and major inefficiencies when issues such as leaks or hardware problems with digital equipment occurred.  

Both the IT Department staff and the facilities team felt overloaded and lacked a clear structure on how to deal with the onstream of requests. Due to this lack of structure, CAT also required a way to monitor their workload that would allow them to effectively manage their daily priorities and understand recurring faults. As such, the Trust required an analytics tool to help them delve into their data in order to understand common issues and remove inefficiencies.  

CAT partnered with ION to resolve these issues by implementing a modern and efficient ticketing system with Zendesk to provide both the structure and analytics the Trust required. Zendesk would allow CAT to build a streamlined workflow and maximise efficiency.

Key objectives included:

Creating structured internal processes

  • Implementing an internal structure that would allow the IT and Estate Management team to accept ticket requests for support
  • Creating a ticketing process that would remove the need for emails, phone calls, or in-person requests in order to streamline internal processes and remove inefficiencies  

Providing analytics and reporting

  • Provide a clear overview of workload that would allow both teams to manage tasks based on priority  
  • Implement analytics tools that would highlight recurring faults and issues and allow the team to address these  
  • Provide reports on time-management to allow senior management to understand where time and resources are being used  


ION worked closely with Connect Academy Trust to understand the trust’s unique requirements and configure Zendesk accordingly. ION’s team of specialists led the delivery process which consisted of implementing Webforms with custom fields, establishing email triggers to route tickets to the correct internal teams, creating personalised views for groups and team members, and training workshops for key members of CAT’s team.  

The delivery was a huge success and Zendesk’s implementation has established the clear structure and streamlined processes CAT required in order to meet their key objectives. An efficient and optimised ticketing process was established that allowed the estate management team and the 5 IT staff to successfully manage support requests from 8 different schools. Staff now have a clear overview of their workload and have established a request system that removes the time-consuming back and forth of email chains or the disruption of sporadic phone calls and in person requests.  

Now armed with Zendesk, CAT has already seen major improvements in internal efficiency and has revolutionised their support processes. Following the implementation and ION’s training sessions, the team have quickly adopted the new system and have already put through 1500 ticket requests. The greatest impact of the implementation has been the vast improvement in the trust’s time management as they now have a streamlined user service, alongside email alerts and the auto assignment of tasks to the right team member. Additionally, analytics tools have now provided the trust’s CEO with the visibility needed to see exactly where time and resources are being diverted to.  

By choosing Zendesk, Connect Academy Trust has successfully optimised their internal IT and Estate Management processes, established streamlined and optimised ticketing processes, and eliminated huge inefficiencies. CAT is already benefiting from improved levels of productivity following their go-live and applaud ION’s team for their expert configuration and training sessions, alongside their commitment to a smooth implementation process. A long-term relationship between CAT and ION has been established, and CAT intends to continue tailoring and upgrading Zendesk to a bigger package as the trust continues to grow.  

Josh Hughes, Connect Academy Trust IT Area Manager, said:  

“The implementation of Zendesk and our partnership with ION has totally transformed our internal processes and provided the structure and the tools needed to eliminate inefficiencies. The team is delighted with the new ticketing system, and we have already seen huge improvements in time-management and productivity. Team ION delivered everything we needed to achieve our goals with a seamless implementation, and we look forward to our continued partnership with them on future projects.”

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