What do you see changing in schools right now?
One major shift that’s happening is the speed of technological innovation. With today’s technology complexities, security vulnerabilities and the need to scale up or down efficiently, schools are under unprecedented pressure. To ensure their devices, internet access and IT networks are all operational and totally secure, schools often require more than one individual on staff to handle their IT infrastructures.
With all of that pressure, how can schools keep up and ride the crest of the coming technology wave?
You can look at it from a few different angles and cost is arguably one of the most important ones. Businesses for example that outsource their IT can save as much as 40% of their budget, which is a huge cost savings. This could be welcome news for schools that operate under constrained budgets because it means they won’t be caught short if the school needs to quickly expand its IT infrastructure. It also allows schools to happily focus on their daily administrative functions. We often see schools with tight budgets and limited resources that are easily able to cover their basic services with help-desk support and then add more advanced services later as the budget allows it.
Does this mean schools that outsource their IT are cutting back on their IT staff?
No, not necessarily. Outsourcing can be an extension of support to the staff you already have. One thing worth considering for schools in a time of transition however, is this: when outsourcing IT, you have the expertise of a larger team of professionals at your disposal; IT professionals who are continually trained and certified on the latest technologies. So if you do choose to outsource, you won’t have to spend extra time and money on training an employee, which most people would agree is a bonus.
What’s the biggest challenge that schools have moving forward with IT?
The time and money factor in keeping up with the latest technology – that’s the real challenge. With the numerous responsibilities school administrators have to prioritise every day, it’s completely understandable that the management of IT is often seen as a big expensive hassle. Typically schools have much longer research, development and implementation phases, which not only increase costs but also slow down your operational processes – but it doesn’t have to be like that. The other thing is, most people don’t know exactly what an IT expert does and how they do it. It isn’t easy to understand if you don’t have time to keep up with all the latest technologies.
At the end of the day, if you need someone you can trust that won’t cost the earth to work for you in a time of IT transition, outsourcing can be a good choice because it removes the cost of recruiting and all of the extra expenses that come with hiring extra staff and inconveniences like illnesses, vacations, family issues and holidays won’t disrupt the 24/7/365 management of your system. My advice is simple. If your school is considering outsourcing IT, the best thing you can do is choose a contract that ensures your IT costs are always predictable and fit comfortably within your budget.
Evan Papantoniou is the Managing Director at BizQuip Solutions which has been supporting schools since 1988.