From Strength to Strength
Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association (CMKA) is an educational organisation that puts children at the heart of everything they do. For more than 60 years they have been providing affordable and quality early childhood education to children, coast to coast from Tuakau in the south to Manukau in the north.
Head office is located in Takanini, and from there they provide 250 staff and 2000 children at 29 sites with the tools and care they need to be best equipped for life.
Technology plays an important role in ensuring that isolated sites are connected and safe, and it needs to operate at a high level to support their technology platform that sees children using video, animation, photography and coding to learn and interact meaningfully with their parents and families.
In 2011, CMKA had 70 employees and were on a fast growth trajectory.
Raewyn Van Lingen, the current HR and Communications Manager, joined the management team to help support the organisation as it expanded from a small not-for-profit with no plan and poor technology, to a commercially sustainable enterprise.
This meant finding a business partner they could trust to set them up for their future state, while also being patient and working within budgets and with existing hardware and software.
“We didn’t have this great big bottomless pit of money. We needed a partner who could work with what we had until we could afford to change things.”
The organisation put out an RFP to get a solid network built that would support their future platform needs, and Foundation Partners was awarded the contract.
Together, CMKA and Foundation Partners built a network and IT capability that has allowed the organisation to smoothly grow from 70 people with various IT functionality, to 250 people with their own devices.
All this is powered by a sophisticated IT platform that supports digitally enhanced learning and communication across their 26 kindergartens and 3 early learning centres, and delivers right-sized, reliable tools that help grow the business.
The organisation has a clear IT roadmap that aligns with their business goals and ensures that service is robust, costs are contained and everything that is invested in, makes a noticeable difference.
“We were amateurs in the world of IT, and they really supported us through that. I know that there wasn’t any advantage taken of the fact that there was no one in our organization who’s an IT expert. We needed them to be our experts, to guide us and to give us good and affordable services; and everything they did, and still do, helps that.”