Choosing an ICT partner for your school or trust? Then read this first.
We work with many leaders in schools and trusts who have a clear vision for their organisation. They know that ICT is key to fulfilling that vision. However, when it comes to choosing an ICT partner to help them leverage ICT to achieve their goals, they can struggle. There are a lot of approaches to ICT and a lot of people giving ICT “advice”; how can you choose the best option for your school or trust?
Here’s some of the key advice we give school and trust leaders when they ask us how to assess a potential ICT partner:
Will they help you make strategic decisions?
Leaders often need someone to help them translate all the operational ICT noise that they hear from their internal teams. These teams may be “doing” ICT incredibly well, but they are not necessarily the right people to be helping you inform strategic ICT decision making.
Therefore, when choosing an ICT partner look for ones who can help you “think” about ICT strategically and not just “do” it. You need strategic ICT advisors that can help you interpret those Educational/Operational/Technical/Financial challenges into strategic advice that enables you to make effective decisions.
Can they connect your IT decisions to educational outcomes?
In our experience, this is one of the hardest things to do; but the most essential. This is helping leaders understand the ‘why’:
- Why are you choosing particular ICT tools? How effective are they?
- How does this help you achieve your vision?
Ultimately, schools and trusts are there to deliver the best educational experience possible to their students and if your ICT isn’t helping you do this, then it’s not helping you achieve your goals.
Select an ICT partner who is totally committed to outcomes and who understands your why, rather than partners who are just focused on delivering the tech.
Can they help you make the best of the IT investment you’ve already made?
You are not operating in an ICT vacuum. You will have already invested time and money in your school’s ICT. Therefore, you need to make the best of what already exists. This often means opening your staff’s eyes to the potential of existing ICT solutions and helping them to innovate with what they already have. It’s not always about buying more “stuff”.
We always advise leaders to find an ICT partner who will help you maximise what you already have and really leverage it to help you achieve your goals.
Can they help you plan for the future?
ICT is always evolving and improving at pace. As a leader, you need to be looking at the horizon and anticipating what is coming next, so you can assess what it means for your trust or school. Look for ICT Partners that are going to make you aware of what’s out there and what it means for your organisation.
Are their people of the right calibre?
As well as understanding education and being able to provide ICT advice at every level, what type of people have they employed? These are the people who are going to be working with you and your team, so they need to be the right fit.
Check that their team members are experienced, mature, strategic ICT consultants; people who are on your level and understand the strategic issues that you are facing.
If you’d like to talk to someone about whom to choose as your ICT partner to inform your vision, then contact us for an informal chat.