Middle East Lebanon SABIS International Schools Network
Education Provider Makes Time Savings with Automated Development System
Friday, January 06, 2012

SABIS-a global education provider with a network of 79 schools and one university-wanted a comprehensive solution to automate its software development life cycle and meet recognized international standards. It deployed Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 and is now realizing significantly faster time to deploy products. This has led to higher satisfaction in the SABIS IT team and other stakeholders, including SABIS administrators, teachers, and students.

Business Needs

Established in Choueifat, Lebanon, in 1886, SABIS operates schools in 15 countries on four continents and educates more than 60,000 students. These schools implement the SABIS Educational System, which focuses on the core subjects of English, mathematics, the sciences, and languages. SABIS, with corporate offices in Lebanon and the United States, places a high value on using IT to improve the educational attainment of students, enhance the school environment, and reinforce communication.

The SABIS IT department comprises 60 IT professionals distributed among three teams: IT infrastructure, software development, and IT school operations. Each of these teams has been actively contributing to enhancing students’ academic performance and improving operational efficiency and management at the school.

SABIS was looking for a solution that would automate its software development life cycle, while at the same time meet international standards. These include the International Organization for Standardization of 9001:2008 and the principles of Capability Maturity Model Level 3 certification.

The objectives of the project were threefold:

Enhance the collaboration within and between the software development and testing teams at SABIS

Accelerate the process of interim builds

Secure the software source code assets being built through a trusted database repository

Serge Bakhos, Group Vice President, Information Technology, Creative Designs, and Book Publishing, SABIS, says: "Since 2006, SABIS has been moving its applications to the Microsoft development platform, taking advantage of the versatility of the Microsoft ASP.NET programming library and the reliability of Microsoft SQL Server data management software."


In addition to the application development using Microsoft technologies, the backbone infrastructure of the SABIS school network comprises Active Directory services with the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system running in a Hyper-V environment. In addition, SABIS is using Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft Lync 2010 for its unified communications infrastructure.

Given its existing commitment to Microsoft technologies, SABIS deployed Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010, which includes tools for architects, developers, managers, and software testers. Bakhos says: "Visual Studio Team System 2010 is designed to augment the team members’ individual tools. We considered some specific tools but nothing stood out as being comprehensive enough to compete with the Microsoft platform."

SABIS had previously used earlier versions of Microsoft Visual Studio compilers and source code editor tools. Bakhos says: "Our IT team engaged with Microsoft Services architects through a pilot program. In a virtual meeting session, it explained how the software development life cycle principles are applied through Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010. This led to an easier adoption of the process, helping us to start automating with Microsoft tools. After testing we moved on to release management, but we also looked to support better design and concept modeling."


With Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010, the SABIS IT team can discover errors early and better understand the cause of any issues. The result is significantly faster deployment of products-by nearly 20 percent-with laboratory management testing now in virtual environments.

SABIS deploys automated software life cycle development processes. Having replaced its previous, largely manual, processes with Visual Studio Team System 2010, the organization has significantly speeded up development time. Bakhos says: "The impact of the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 tools has been positive for the IT team, with a 20 percent shorter application build life cycle."

Faster time to market improves customer satisfaction. As a large multinational education provider, SABIS needs its IT team to focus on high-value, strategic work. "Automation of the software development life cycle has significantly improved customer satisfaction among teachers, administrators, and students," says Bakhos.

Automation removes risk from the software development process. The enhanced collaboration environment provided by Visual Studio Team System 2010 has reduced operational risk. Bakhos says: "The automation tools provided by the new software development system cut back on the need for face-to-face meetings. As a result, we avoid the risk of having to repeat work due to miscommunication."

New development system meets international standards. SABIS is now compliant with international standards, including the International Organization for Standardization of 9001:2008 and the principles of Capability Maturity Model Level 3 certification.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft Lebanon opened its offices in 1999 with over 200 partners all over the country.MS Lebanon is Part of the NEPA subsidiary which comprises Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Pakistan, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Palestinian authority. As the use of software and technology increases with the number of Lebanese companies and individuals depending on IT as part of their everyday life, the company is poised to thrive even more over the coming years.

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Microsoft Lebanon's Web site is: www.microsoft.com/lebanon

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