case study

A different class

Making the grade?

Activate Learning is an education group that operates eight, high-tech college campuses in South East England. They are committed to transforming learning outcomes for students across the region.

Activate Learning needed their FM team to deliver safe, high performing and compliant facilities for their students to learn in every day.

But in 2019, there was a problem.


8 colleges

State-of-the-art college campuses


Across 3 counties

In South East England




Back in 2019, our legacy work order systems were failing

Alan Jones - Director of Group Facilities Operations

The challenge

Over the years, Activate Learning had grown into a large and thriving operation.  But while the team were managing multiple sites equipped with the latest learning technology, their approach to FM was analogue and chaotic.

Campuses were using paper, Excel and email to manage their maintenance and work orders.


Analogue FM was wasting time & risking compliance

Activate Learning were operating eight separate helpdesks

Managers had no visibility and control over their maintenance teams

Document & task management were not centralised

Response times were slow

First time fix rate was low

Data was unavailable

There was no cost control

Service was slow and compliance was at risk. We were wasting time and money. We had no data. We had no oversight across our multiple sites.

Carl Simpson, Property & Environment Manager

The Expansive platform was intuitive and flexible. The team were passionate & knowledgeable.

Alan Jones, Director of Group Facilities Operations

The Fix

Alan Jones, the incoming Director of Group Facilities Operations, knew they had to replace the multiple ad-hoc FM systems across the different campuses with a single help desk and CAFM package.

Activate Learning ran a tender with 5 different help desk solutions.  EFM was the clear winner. The team found the Expansive platform was the most intuitive and flexible, and could be exactly configured to meet their needs. 


A CAFM brings control

Expansive worked closely with the team to plan, centralise and automate work order management for all their campuses. And they did it fast.

Full implementation of a central helpdesk & reporting dashboard

Planned and automated workflows

Dedicated mobile portal for engineers

Full training for all users: Helpdesk, FM Managers, Maintenance Team & Contractors

Centralised document management & compliance

Activate’s transformation in numbers

EFM helped Activate Learning move from a reactive approach to a proactive, process driven, CAFM system in record time.

16 weeks

Full CAFM set up in just 16 weeks

FF - Better comms

40 engineers trained

FF - KPI Performance

15k jobs triaged in 18 months

FF - Mobile first

1 mobile portal for engineers


Lessons learned

The mobilisation has been successful. Requests are collated and triaged centrally then distributed to local engineers and contractors. Engineers and contractors are using a mobile portal to access their work orders, recording their hours and communicating in real time with the helpdesk.

Routine tasks are built into the system on a pre-defined schedule

Maintenance teams are using mobile to record activity in real time

Visibility and campus control have been transformed

Response and action times are quicker

Compliance is tracked centrally

Structured data is used for deeper analysis and reporting

Work is easily prioritised and scheduled; results are tracked and data analysed within a single platform.

How is the CAFM working? Centralising the help desk has helped us utilise our labour better. We can organise teams on the ground through a single platform. We can see at a glance where there are persistent maintenance issues that need resolving. We can see where compliance tasks are overdue and chase them up.

Alan Jones - Director of Group Facilities Operations

Compliance is centralised & under control. It's a real success story.

Alan Jones - Director of Group Facilities Operations

Full marks from Activate Learning

“Data has been a game changer.  For the first time I have complete visibility of the amount of work we’re doing. The data has enabled me go back to the CFO and evidence why I need more budget or more people.  We’re not flying blind anymore.” 
Alan Jones - Director of Group Facilities Operations

“With new systems there’s always the danger that  migration and training will be painful. But the Expansive platform was easy to use and the team was so responsive.  We've just moved on in leaps and bounds.”

Sandra Searle – Facilities Customer Services Manager