Technology can be a great asset for educational institutions and schools – but it can also be a big problem if it is not set up or managed properly. Managed IT solutions can make a huge difference for schools and colleges, but how do you get started on your summer IT projects?
This article is part of a larger series on managed IT, geared specifically toward schools. In this first of four articles, we will explore how your school can improve in the time between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next.
In the coming months, we will be covering additional topics, each building off the one before. For example, next month, we will cover tackling the larger projects, specifically infrastructure (network, communications, security) as those tend to run long and are best done with an empty building. So stay tuned!
Did you know you can subscribe to our blog using your favorite RSS reader? Check out cdsofficetech.com/feed in your RSS app! And bookmark the Summer School IT Projects series page to follow along over the next few months!
Three Steps for Successful Summer School IT Projects
The school year is tough on technology. Computers break, cables get damaged, software ages, hardware needs change, and everything suffers from typical wear and tear. Classrooms may be rearranged, teachers may move from room to room, or a pandemic may force students and teachers to adopt a completely new learning platform.
As the school year begins to wind down in April and May, it’s important to evaluate the current state of your technology and formulate a plan to tackle needs and make improvements during the off months. Here are a few steps you can take at the end of the school year to kickstart Summer school IT projects.
With classes wrapping up, there’s no better time to start preparing for Summer projects. First, we need to get a clear idea of what the status of IT is within the school.
This preparation might include the following:
- Reviewing analytics to discover frequent or recurring issues or pain points
- Gathering feedback from faculty and students
- Assessing devices, infrastructure, and hardware
- Taking inventory of what you have and what you need
Reviewing analytics could be as simple as sending out surveys to students and teachers. CDS managed services clients can request a detailed report on resolved tickets. We also offer network assessments and IT consultations regardless of your client status. A service report or managed services consultation will highlight frequently occurring issues and reveal opportunities for improvement.
It’s also important to review outgoing and incoming student data. Do you have more or fewer students enrolled for next year? More teachers? Will an altered curriculum require different technology?
Additionally, consider whether your school is remodeling or undergoing new construction. Are classrooms being rearranged? What else might require IT support? New paging systems, expanded wireless networking, IoT devices, door and security systems—there’s a lot to assess!
As part of your inventory and IT checklist, you’ll obviously want to account for all devices in use and assess their viability. Some will be fine, some may need some work, and others might be beyond help. While building your checklist, don’t forget to review the licensing status of software and devices. For example, some managed firewalls and switches require licensing to remain operational.
What Is Managed IT and How Can It Help Schools?
Managed IT is basically a service that provides IT maintenance and support that supplements or in some cases completely replaces your onsite IT staff or system administrators. Some managed IT solutions also provide visibility with remote monitoring systems as well as hardware in the form of leased printers (in the case of managed print services).
2. Planning your IT Projects:
Next, take the info gathered in step one and create a plan for replacing, repairing, and supplementing equipment.
You should have developed an inventory of current equipment in the preparation phase. In the planning step, make sure you have added in some padding for contingencies and hardware failures. Remember, laptops break, routers can fail, and cables or wall jacks might need to be repaired or replaced.
Create some space for growth needs. For example, if your school has 1,000 students but is planning on adding another 1,000 in the next few years, you will need to adjust IT systems for the coming demand. Bandwidth availability may need to be expanded, for example.
Review the IT budget and make sure sufficient funding is available. Look for grants and other funding opportunities. Don’t wait until you need IT equipment to find funds; try to engage in fundraising (and grant hunting) year-round.
One of the benefits of working with a qualified managed IT provider is that they can help with your IT checklist. Also, managed IT support gives you better visibility on costs with ongoing support baked in. This means fewer unexpected costs or last-minute surprises when an IT problem occurs.
Finally, you will want to identify goals and solidify reasonable timelines for your digital transformation projects.
The third step prior to implementation is purchasing. You will need to find vendors for hardware, obtain quotes, and order items and have them shipped as soon as possible in case of backorders or supply issues. You can coordinate with your managed IT provider for hardware procurement and project scheduling.
CDS partners with dozens of vendors and industry-leading brands to
CDS Provides the Best in Managed IT Solutions for Summer School IT Projects
CDS Office Technologies offers expert managed IT services for educational institutions. We can help with your planning, preparation, and purchasing. We have longstanding relationships with top vendors and manufacturers and are eligible for better pricing.
Does your school, college, or university need help with managed IT? Contact CDS Office Technologies today – we are your one-stop shop for all technology needs, including document management, managed print services, and supplies.