Tribal Group Blog

Tribal Group Blog

Taking support to the next level - Warrington Collegiate

Posted by Tribal Group on May 5, 2016

As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers, and the development of our staff, we arranged to send Tribal ebs support, Learie Cormack and Antonia Martin, to Warrington Collegiate, to obtain a first-hand view of their day to day operations.

As an ebs customer of many years, Warrington Collegiate were able to accommodate us and give us a true view of how our MIS System, ebs, is being used by real people in a real environment.

Our objectives were simple; to truly understand the requirements of our customers to enable us to deliver a more informed and efficient support service.

What we learned:

While a proportion of using ebs concerns data entry and while we did get to experience that first hand with some registers tasks we were set, we quickly realised it’s not all about mouse clicks and keyboard tapping. The Timetabling and Exams team are constantly on the phone and being visited by tutors who need to move rooms, book exam times, add learners to exams, and all sorts of college-life scenarios.  They use ebs to find availability, add learners/rooms, timetable for hundreds of classes and it is seamlessly integrated with their processes so a tutor can visit in person and an event be booked for them within seconds.

The team at Warrington Collegiate were very positive about ebs, and when we introduced new functionality for them they were excited to learn how it worked and begin using it immediately to make their lives easier; this included clone curriculum, roll forward in Client, and de-duplication in Client. Any issues users had were raised with us as suggestions for improvement; the team had loads of ideas about how ebs could work better for them and it was clear they wanted to work with us to make the software as efficient as it can be.

A realisation we had was that people’s job roles differ from institution to institution.  While we expected Andy (Systems Development Manager) to be hidden away taking IT calls from users, he is actually very involved in the integration of ebs within their systems.  He writes reports and configures the software to Warrington’s advantage, one example being a report from Client that with one click will print 2 copies, plus a third with additional information for a Direct Debit in Enrolments.

He works closely with the MIS team and timetables, registers, ALS, ILR and exams staff all work together in the one room and are a very close-knit, friendly team.  It was great to see what a ‘Systems Development Manager’ actually entails and that job title doesn’t always give away what goes on.

The apprehension we felt about potentially being left to fend for ourselves soon dissipated after we had met the team and it was a two-way conversation; the team were just as interested in what goes on in our Sheffield office!

What we introduced

  • Viewing enrolment list right from the home screen
  • Clone curriculum
  • Roll forward curriculum in client
  • De-duplication in Client
  • Bulk editing special dates in learner manager
  • Restricting mobile number fields to minimise error
  • Extending max records returned to help with batch printing (in Windows)
  • Exam roll forward in Web
  • What is best to include when raising a support call
  • Possibility of the MIAP module
  • Possibility of the exam seating module
  • ILR scheduling


Andy, along with the other staff members whom we interacted with, showed great enthusiasm in our visit and found it useful as they learned things that they never knew existed. We also learned a bit more about their processes

We then had a review with Andy, Jackie, Laura, and Julie Hindley and discussed what we observed and the actions necessary to resolve the issues raised and also commend them on the good process that they have in place and their bespoke development that works seamlessly with ebs.  The general consensus on the project from both parties is that it was a great experience and very beneficial for both sides.

For me personally it was a great experience and I enjoyed every moment, it was great to be able to put faces to names and meet the people I have spoken to for years over the phone face to face and share ideas.



It was an eye-opener for me to see the different processes Warrington have in place and how this differs massively from college to college. How we think the system will be used is not always how it ends up in practice and it was great to actually witness the flexibility of ebs first-hand.

The team at Warrington Collegiate are incredibly friendly and everyone was keen to show us their bit and immerse us in their day-to-day.  The rapport built up on this trip is invaluable and being able to put faces to names has been the biggest help in furthering our professional relationship. I would absolutely visit Warrington again - Andy said it would be great if we could come back around enrolment time and see things in a higher gear!- and this trip has solidified my belief in the ‘Taking Support to the Next Level’ initiative;  bring on the next visit!


Andy (Systems Development Manager, Warrington Collegiate):

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for making this visit possible.  It is not often you are able to meet face to face with Support and have a dedicated period of time to really look at ebs.  It was a pleasure to have Antonia and Learie with us for the week.  Meeting them both for the first time, they instantly felt like part of our team and were great ambassadors for Tribal.  I also feel after this visit the working relationship between Warrington Collegiate and Tribal has become stronger and overall support improved with the knowledge gained by both parties.

This opportunity came at a very good time for us, with processes and systems being reviewed.  The visit has been a very valuable experience for the college not only identifying good practice that is currently taking place on a day to day basis, which was reassuring, but also a number of efficiencies, which have saved various teams within the college time and ultimately cost.  Having Antonia and Learie with us has given staff the opportunity to ask questions and get the answers first-hand about ebs and also provide feedback in relation to the parts they find difficult or time consuming.  No query or question was left unanswered.

I feel this is a service that would benefit all providers, even if you feel you have ebs working as you want because I guarantee the Support team will find something you are missing out on.

Are there any plans to have some of your team at the ebs conference this year?  I feel having face to face contact with your team would be very beneficial to your customers.


Empower Conference

Topics: Further Education