How Managed IT Can Support Complex IT Projects

In-house IT teams often lack the capacity to tackle complex IT projects.

The success of a school’s in-house IT team hinges on whether the team’s members can simultaneously address multiple competing priorities. On the one hand, a school’s in-house IT team has to respond to dozens, even hundreds, of individual help requests in a given school week. They have to drop what they’re doing, identify the issue, and spend precious time and resources addressing it. In the process, they lose out on time they could devote, instead, to long-term planning, event support, and other projects beyond the here-and-now.

Caught between the pressure of daily troubleshooting requests and the need to plan for high-stakes, school-wide priorities, it’s easy to see how in-house school IT teams are often forced to place complex IT projects on the back burner. It’s hard to justify, for example, taking the time to source and install a new audiovisual system in the school’s gymnasium when half of the school’s Chromebooks aren’t working or the school’s wireless internet service goes down.

When it comes to tackling your school’s complex IT projects, working with a trusted managed IT partner can relieve your team’s need to divert time from day-to-day technology needs while also ensuring that complex IT projects receive the attention they deserve. Doing so can ultimately improve the quality of the project’s execution and ensure your school’s IT team can meet teachers’ daily classroom needs.

Even if your school’s in-house team members have the bandwidth to take on such a project, their time may be better spent elsewhere.

Sure, some in-house school IT teams are unicorns: they can juggle the demands of daily troubleshooting support long-term planning and address the school’s one-off IT projects with ease. But that doesn’t mean they should have to. Even the most skilled educational technologists can’t be in two places at once, consistently log 14-hour days on-site, or maintain the same level of service quality across every task.

For prudent school leaders, recognizing the dangers of stretching your school’s in-house IT team too thin often favors hiring a managed IT provider to execute its one-off IT projects. Provided the school has the funds to hire such a team, doing so can prevent burnout among its in-house IT team members and signal that you value their personal well-being. The last thing a school leader needs is for an in-house team member to quit in the middle of the year. Outsourcing the school’s IT needs, whenever possible, can ease the burden on your school’s existing team members.

As technology becomes increasingly central to instruction, school IT projects take on added urgency.

Likewise, as schools increasingly adopt one-to-one student-device ratios, embrace hybrid or remote learning models, and otherwise further integrate technology into daily instruction, the burden on your school’s in-house IT team is likely to grow. Again, it may be the case that your in-house team is poised to meet the increased demand these changes will bring, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise to force them to do so.

As technology use increases across classrooms, grade levels, and school sites, so too will the need for daily IT support and troubleshooting. By noting these trends in advance, school leaders can avoid stretching their in-house team members too thin and instead hire a managed IT firm to take on a particularly complex, time-consuming school IT project.

For some high-stakes projects, failure isn’t an option.

The danger of stretching your school’s in-house IT team too thin is particularly acute when it comes to high-stakes, school-wide events where failure isn’t an option. Many schools that purchased technology to support remote learning during the pandemic, for example, are eyeing transitions to online state testing. If it occurs in your school’s state or district, the transition will undoubtedly implicate your school’s in-house IT team.

In addition to their daily troubleshooting responsibilities, the school’s in-house team will play a vital role in ensuring state testing goes off without a hitch. Failing to devote the requisite time to prepare for state testing days and creating contingency plans should things go awry can spell disaster. Bringing in a managed IT provider to address the school’s one-off IT projects can protect the in-house team’s time preparing for the big day.

At CTS, we help schools accomplish their unique missions.

At CTS, our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the country to tackle their most complex IT projects and manage their daily school IT needs. We recognize the talent of in-house school IT teams across the country but also see the risks in relying too heavily on a team of two or three individuals to manage the full range of the school’s IT needs. By hiring CTS to manage your school’s next IT project, you can maintain the integrity of your school’s daily operations, and rest assured that the project will add value to your school’s programming.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.

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