5 good reasons to consider outsourcing (some of) your school’s ICT support
When a school grows through higher pupil enrolment, growing staff or expansion of its facilities, its leaders often have to increase their investment in ICT support in order to meet the higher demand.
They are then faced with a choice – do they hire additional technicians or do they outsource some (or all) of the ICT support function to an external service provider?
Joskos has been in the fortunate position of being able to play a transformational role in improving the learning and teaching experience within many schools through our extensive menu of ICT services. In this article we will take you some of the benefits of outsourcing that we've identified over the years and give you some pointers on how to go about choosing an outsourced ICT service provider that will be most suited to your school.
1. A good ICT service provider will only enhance - and never undermine - your school’s existing support team.
In our experience, an important first step to delivering outstanding ICT support to a school is to define and agree what great service looks like with the school and how we’re going to work closely and strategically with staff - including the existing ICT team. This transparency fosters a sense of collaboration and trust which is a critical to being an effective team.
While supporting a school, our engineers take a collaborative approach to all existing team members and ensure that everyone is up-to-date with all tasks being carried out. Additionally, all our engineers’ activities are regularly documented and shared so that best practices are preserved for future use.
2. An insider’s knowledge and an outside perspective is a winning combination: 1+1=3
As a natural part of their role, our industry-accredited engineers have worked in a wide range of schools. When it comes to schools’ network environments, they have seen ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’! In our experience, this type of exposure results in our engineers having a large ‘repertoire’ of troubleshooting techniques and makes them naturally resilient and effective in high-pressure situations. This combined with school staff’s intimate knowledge of their school is a powerful combination and results in a level of support that is greater than the sum of its parts.
3. Escalation points: No one can excel at everything!
Sooner or later, even the most capable in-house technician or team will come across an ICT problem that they can’t solve by themselves. In these situations, the benefits of having a managed service contract are truly felt. When a school works with Joskos, its staff (and our own on-site technicians) have immediate access to a depth of knowledge and many escalation points and processes. These include a FITS-compliant Service Desk, 2nd & 3rd line engineers, installation and curriculum experts to name but a few. This ensures that even the most challenging of ICT problems can be prioritised and solved quickly and efficiently.
4. Knowledge-sharing, strategy and ‘playing the long game’
In the same way that ‘many hands make light work’ of thorny technical issues, the same applies to creating a school’s long term ICT strategy. It's important that any strategy starts with the end in mind and this requires an ICT partner that is nuetral and working to your School Development Plan & Vision. Having immediete access to a team of experienced educational consultants who can offer this strategic input is yet another benefit of working with a managed ICT service provider.
5. Flexibility, the ‘bottom line’ and the total cost of ownership
With schools’ budgets often being tight, it’s important for school leaders to find a way to keep ICT support at a high level while controlling the costs of doing so. When hiring additional, internal technical staff, it’s more than just salaries that should be considered. The true cost will always include salary, pension contributions, national insurance, management time, professional development, sick leave and the additional cost of recruitment to replace team members who leave. Using an ICT service provider that bears all these costs without the school even noticing, is often a more cost-effective solution. Additionally, with a service contract in place, the school has the flexibility to add or reduce support levels according to its changing needs and budgets.
While a managed service contract will not be the ideal solution for all schools, we hope that we have highlighted some of the important benefits that such an arrangement offers.