The Kent IT Consultancy (KITC) is part of the School of Computing and is a student staffed IT consultancy delivering services to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Its mission is to solve business problems with technology and to make our student consultants more employable.
This year the KITC had 26 undergraduate consultants who delivered between them 7000 hours of work across both Canterbury and Medway campuses. As well as running a project to recruit next year’s cohort, the team delivered a range of customer facing projects:
- 9 x Digital Transformation projects– in these they helped small businesses to understand how they can make the best use of technology.
- 3 x App Prototype projects – where they develop prototypes of of their clients’ ideas, allowing them to get quotes from development partners and to seek investment.
- 4 x Website projects – The fixed price website package gives businesses a professional looking website which they can manage and update themselves.
- 1 x Training session– They taught entrepreneurs on KBS’s Business Start-up Journey to build their own websites.
- 2 x Executive briefings– briefing business owners on the basics of Machine Learning and the Cloud.
- 29 x Cyber Security Health checks – helping businesses to benchmark themselves against the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Business Guide.
The KITC’s client feedback scored an average of 9.2 out of 10, indicating clients are highly satisfied and likely to recommend the services to others.
They also received testimonials from clients, including Furnitubes, a local manufacturer of street furniture, for whom they created a standalone website that promotes a new product called Akriplanter. Catherine Barratt, Managing Director at Furnitubes International Ltd said: “Charlotte and the KITC team were fantastic. They understood the brief really well, were very well organised, checked in every week and delivered a fantastic site within a few weeks. Probably the best supplier experience I have had in a while!”
Students consultants also developed a prototype app for Jenny Hiscock and her industry partners at The Research Network. Jenny Hiscock, Reader in Chemistry at University of Kent, said “Fantastic team, very professional, went above and beyond what we had expected of them.”
Julian Jennings, Managing Director at Legality Ltd, asked KITC to assist with a digital transformation project and to consider the challenges they may have when scaling their existing digital product into a new market. Julian said “Legality experienced conflicting advice from various IT companies presenting difficulties in determining the best solution. The KITC team gave us a clear and unbiased assessment of what we required to best meet our needs. Giving us reassurance and confidence in choosing the right path going forward.”
The KITC delivered another digital transformation project for Whitstable Yacht Club. The project focussed on helping WYC to grow their training operations by using technology to better manage their course booking process. Kelvin Tolson, Commodore at Whitstable Yacht Club said “The team quickly came to grips with the business and operational requirements of the proposal and set up a structured plan to achieve them. The project was delivered to specification and on time. We would use KITC again for future projects.”
Student consultants also delivered an executive briefing for Sustainability Monitor, focussed on Machine Learning. The briefing allowed the executive team to better understand the capabilities and challenges of using Machine Learning in their business. Phillip Dunn, CTO at Sustainability Monitor said “The team was very well organised and professional – they stuck to a schedule and followed up on actions. They brought us new ideas to consider and sought and responded well to feedback along the way.”
The KITC is in the process of adapting its offering in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Local SMEs can continue to access its services over the summer with a new cohort of Master’s student consultants who can help businesses adapt to new ways of working.
Places as a consultant at the KITC are available for undergraduate and Master’s students in the School of Computing, however there are limited places available and students need to complete a competitive selection process.