When I ventured into my first school back in 2008, I was shocked to discover that the school along with many others at that time did not have a robust strategy in place for maintaining their IT assets, and couldn’t even think about how they could afford a sustainable future. After taking the leap of faith from a civil engineering company, where I had developed an asset register system, I quickly sorted this issue out and immediately started to report back to the leadership and governors of the school to help them plan for the future. A new building was on the horizon due to be completed in 2010. To cut a long story short, we were able to successfully complete all of the IT Infrastructure and amongst other items, Apple Macs across the school. As the strategic plan continued, this moved on to 1:1 iPads for all pupils and staff in 2013.
Strategic planning is essential to determine the direction for your school. It focuses your efforts and ensures that everyone in school is working towards a common goal. It also helps you to agree actions that will contribute to the successful outcomes of your school.
Most schools carry out strategic planning with a school development plan which focuses on the curriculum, staffing, the building and many other resources. The IT assets in school aren’t always tracked which means that an informed decision cannot be made to replace and upgrade devices as they reach the end of their life. Reduced budgets are one of the common situations that schools find themselves in. I have worked with many schools to help them carefully plan the IT budget, to successfully do this, the life cycles of IT Devices must be known. When I start a new conversation with a School, I ask them whether or not they strategically plan the IT infrastructure and devices inline with the school development plan. The answer is usually a firm no, many IT providers don’t offer this service as part of the ongoing IT Support.
How do we track the life cycles of all IT Assets?
A robust asset management policy and system along with a simple financial plan showing the annual costs ahead for each IT area. Asset registers in schools are usually an annual job that an external company carries out. Many times these aren’t fully accurate and don’t tie in with the procurement process in school. An asset management system should be a live system that is constantly updated throughout the year. This allows the tracking of disposals, allocated devices at fixed or portable locations. Loan devices should be signed out / in along with terms and conditions of use.
There are many solutions available to help ranging from a more comprehensive spreadsheet to sophisticated cloud based solutions.
I’m always happy to discuss this further if anyone would like to reach out. Always remember:
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin