In-house IT teams often lack the capacity to tackle complex school IT projects.
Between device management, procurement, and day-to-day troubleshooting, in-house IT teams constantly balance a host of competing priorities. When a printer stops working or a projector bulb goes out, in-house IT teams spring into action, assisting the teacher or support staff member with whatever issue they’re facing.
The stakes for an in-house team are high: schools increasingly depend on technology to teach their students. If a school’s wireless network goes down, everyone looks to the in-house IT team for a quick fix. Regardless of any other priorities they’re facing, the in-house team has to drop everything and get the network back online quickly. With every passing minute, teachers potentially lose valuable instructional or planning time.
For these and other reasons, in-house IT teams often lack the capacity to tackle complex school IT projects that demand sustained time, energy, and attention. It’s difficult to manage the school’s E-rate application process, for example, when team members are constantly traveling from room to room putting out technology-related fires. In-house IT teams largely focus on keeping the trains running, an approach that—while often necessary—leaves little room for long-term strategic planning.
Bringing in an external provider to manage one-off, complex IT projects often makes sense for school’s with an in-house team. Not only can school leaders ensure the school’s day-to-day technology needs are met, they can also rest easy knowing there’s an entire team devoted to a particular IT project, one that will add long-term value to the school’s instructional programming.
Outsourced IT teams have the know-how and project management skills to successfully execute school IT projects.
Outsourced IT teams also possess technical knowledge and project management skills that in-house teams sometimes lack. If a school is considering installing a new wireless network, purchasing a new suite of Chromebooks or other hardware, or simply wants to re-imagine its device tracking system, an outsourced IT team can often recommend particular products with which they have first-hand knowledge or, conversely, counsel against purchasing a device model they know is due for an update or will soon become obsolete.
On a more technical level, outsourced IT teams can ensure that the individuals assigned to the school IT project have the requisite skills to see the project through to completion. After meeting with the school to discuss its project needs, the outsourced team can quickly identify which of its team members have the skills required for the job and ensure that they match the school with someone with the expertise to successfully execute the project.
Longer-term projects like summer close-out or beginning-of-year launch also depend on strong project management skills, which outsourced teams can bring to bear. Because the technology troubleshooting process is often reactive, in-house teams may lack the time necessary to sit down and create a detailed project plan that makes sense for the school. Outsourced teams, by contrast, can draw on their experiences with multiple clients to quickly devise a plan to accomplish the school’s project. Armed with a school calendar and a due date, outsourced teams can quickly identify key milestones for a given project and provide school leaders with a dependable roadmap.
For high-stakes projects, outsourced IT teams can provide additional support to in-house teams.
Because schools depend so much on technology, certain IT projects can be particularly high stakes. Successfully adding an entire grade, rolling-out a new device management system, or installing new SMART boards can have an outsize impact on instruction. For that reason, schools often use outsourced IT teams to provide back-up for high priority projects. Rather than comprising day-to-day troubleshooting services, school leaders can bring in an external provider to shore-up the in-house team’s services on a given project, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks and that instruction can continue uninterrupted, despite the time required to complete the project.
For schools with lean in-house teams, outsourced IT teams can provide the “extra hands” necessary during particularly busy times of the year, such as launch and close-out. This is particularly true for independent schools, where almost everyone on staff wears “multiple hats.” Outsourced IT providers can parachute in to assist the school during particularly busy times and help the school manage its complex IT projects in a way that doesn’t lead to staff burnout.
At CTS, we help schools execute their school IT projects and accomplish their unique missions.
Our team of IT specialists draws upon their in-depth experience in the education sector to help schools accomplish their unique missions. Successfully executing complex IT projects can add tremendous value to a school’s instructional programming. Whether providing support to in-house teams with project execution, or re-imaging your school’s technology systems from the ground up, our team has the expertise necessary to ensure your school’s complex IT project goes off without a hitch. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.