Glip addresses 90% of the collaboration challenges for this budget-conscious school district for free 

Organization: South Burlington School District
The IT team received 90% of the functionality it needed without spending any money.
Location: Five public schools across South Burlington, Vermont
District staff are now able to chat in real time, even across locations more easily than ever.
Need: A chat and collaboration app that wasn’t too expensive.
IT Director Steve Walker has freed up two hours a day in productivity.

Managing the technology infrastructure for a public school district with pre-K through high school locations is a complicated undertaking. And in Vermont’s second-largest city, that responsibility falls to Steve Walker, Director of IT for the South Burlington School District.

When Steve’s team set out to find a collaboration app to make it easier for the district’s staff to manage projects and communicate from anywhere, they found plenty of good solutions. 

But none of these apps put all the functionality Steve wanted—chat, task management, calendars, file sharing—into one place. And each solution cost a decent amount of money. Steve worried: “What if I pay for district-wide access to one of these tools for a year and people don’t use it?”

So when Steve saw the free Glip app, he was intrigued. “Honestly,” Steve says, “Glip didn’t seem perfect, either. But it did most of what we needed—and it was free. So what was the risk?” 

“Does Glip do everything we need? No. But it does 90%. And unlike every other solution we looked into, it’s actually free.”

Steve Walker, Director of IT for South Burlington School District 

The challenge

With employees using several different tools to communicate, the IT team looked for a way to consolidate as many as possible into one place. 

When Steve Walker set out to find a better online communication app for the South Burlington School District’s hundreds of employees, he had three goals:

It had to be easy.
“A lot of people told me they didn’t want to learn a new app, or that they worried this would just be another thing they had to open and check all the time,” Steve recalls. “I completely understood that.”

It had to bring together several communications functions into one app.
Consolidating the district employees’ apps and tools was a key priority for Steve and his team. “Our staff was using email, a chat app, and other tools for sharing files and tracking tasks. I just wanted to get this functionality into one place so we could make communication easier." 

It had to be affordable.
One of the biggest issues weighing on Steve’s mind was what this new app would cost. “We’re a public school district,” he says, “and our budget is always limited.”

“We looked at a lot of apps,” Steve says. “And you know what? Most of them were fine, although some were strong in one area and lacking in others. But whichever app we chose, we were going to pay $500 to $1,000 a year before we knew if its functionality was really going to work for us. I didn’t want to commit to a service if my staff wasn’t going to get much use out of it.”

While Steve was trying to decide how to move forward, a colleague showed him Glip. “It had 90% of the tools we needed, and it was free. So we rolled out Glip to our internal teams.” 

“I felt relieved choosing Glip because there was no risk in trying it.”

Steve Walker, Director of IT for South Burlington School District 

The solution 

Glip hasn’t addressed every communication issue for the district’s staff, but it addresses a lot—and Steve doesn’t have to worry about any budgetary surprises. 

“I’ll be candid,” Steve says, “Glip is great for us, but not perfect. Everyone loves the chat feature—we’re on it all the time, and it’s made communicating a lot easier, even when we’re moving around the office or out in the field. And even though it hasn’t addressed all of the functionality I was looking for, it has been a big step in the right direction.”

“Glip is so seamless that it’s just a part of my day now, and it’s made so many things easier. I’d say Glip is saving me 15% to 20% of my time, probably a couple hours each day. Also, because I’m moving around the office all the time, and often not at my desk, Glip makes it much easier than email for people to reach me. 

I get the little notice on my phone when I have a new Glip message, and I can respond right away. Nobody even knows where I am—I could be at the beach. (I’m not, of course.)”

Steve concludes, “I’d say that just for the huge improvement in communication we’re getting from the chat tool, and the fact that we haven’t had to dip into the budget for a paid service, implementing Glip was a smart decision.” 

“Glip is easily saving me 15% to 20% of my time, probably a couple hours each day.”

Steve Walker, Director of IT for South Burlington School District 

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