In this time of shrinking school budgets, leaders are looking at where they can make cost savings without compromising education standards. ICT is an area that can often be made more efficient, saving money and resource, while still delivering what you need.
As ICT advisors to UK Education, we’re often brought in to assist schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) in making prudent, as well as cost-effective, decisions about their technology.
Here are some of the key questions we generally ask ...
What do you actually need?
Our first step is to help you articulate what in fact you need your ICT to deliver. We look at your education and business goals and determine how your ICT should be helping you achieve these.
This will then allow us to create a clear picture of what you need your ICT to facilitate – ICT for ICT’s sake is not the end goal. The end goal is ICT to help your school or Trust achieve its goals.
We worked with Ormiston Academies Trust to help them meet their goal of procuring ICT at a strategic level, bringing cost savings but and more rigorous e-safety.
As a growing Trust, the Trust’s Management Team wanted to find a cost effective way to stream line essential IT services without compromising on quality or security. They were also aware that with different academies using different systems and providers, using all these different legacy ICT systems across schools was too big a potential risk to e-safety; so e-safety and security was a high criteria.
OAT brought us in to help them move to strategic ICT procurement which would save money without compromising on safety or quality.
We helped them scope out their goals and then determine how to achieve them in an ICT Plan. We then helped them implement a Trust-wide strategic procurement project for the essential IT services of broadband, telephony, and e-safety.
The end result was well-negotiated contracts with high quality suppliers that delivered the services specified to meet the needs of the Trust - and all at an excellent price.
The cost savings will be significant. Over three years, the intention is to recoup for telephony and broadband alone savings of between 10 to 15%.
Do you have the right ICT infrastructure in place to help you achieve your goals?
As school and Trust’s ICT needs change, the ICT infrastructure they have in place might no longer be the best for what they need.
When we do our Current State Reviews for schools and trusts, we examine their current ICT. Sometimes, schools and Trusts have what is needed but it’s being used in the wrong way – we can advise on best use. Other times, the Schools’ needs have moved on but their ICT hasn’t.
An example we saw recently was a Trust that was moving everything to the Cloud. They no longer needed server rooms and the infrastructure that accompanies servers.
When you know what ICT infrastructure you need and what you can let go of, you can streamline your ICT to deliver what you need, often make cost savings in the process.
Do you have the right ICT people in place?
This can, understandably, be emotive. Again, it goes back to what you want your ICT to deliver for your school or Trust. We often see skilled ICT people in the wrong jobs – things have moved on and different skills are needed.
For example, if you choose to outsource essential ICT services or move to the Cloud, then you might not need ICT staff who are adept at supporting physical kit. Instead, you will need ICT Team Members who can administer and manage contracts and Cloud based services.
However, these sensitive staffing decisions can only be made when you have clarity around what you need your ICT to achieve.
We are experts at helping schools and Trusts find the cost savings they need in ICT but without compromising quality or safety. Do contact us for a free consultation and to find out how we can help you.