You are about to emerge from a contract with an existing ICT provider, or the BSF programme, and its time to consider new models for IT support. You are extremely aware of what has been termed ‘the cliff edge at your feet’- extensive hardware needs to be replaced with limited budget.
Could Cloud technologies be the answer? An opportunity to reduce costs by having servers in the sky, or at least in a remote datacentre? Have schools not been trialling this approach already, particularly with the use of Google docs and Microsoft 365? Surely, only a small additional effort would be needed to permit high performance, low hardware refresh costs and vastly reduced on- site support?
Or is there a danger a school could become more concerned with finding budget reductions than with ensuring effective IT management which is funded sustainably?
It is for scenarios such as this that we advise schools to find the direction that suits them best.
There is little doubt that in time a Cloud solution will be the option of choice for most schools, -yet few schools are currently positioned to take advantage.
To begin with, Cloud solutions necessitate higher capacity school infrastructure that usually involves high bandwidth Internet line, new switches, 10Gig fibre etc.
Then there is the choice of Cloud provider. Google Docs for example provide excellent educational resources. However, a move to Chromebooks will involve significant change within the school.
Do you keep to one domain and do you concentrate on one Operating System (or not)? These are policy decisions for management that will have a great impact on how much support you will need in the future.
Teachers will need to be additionally trained for Google Apps for Education and become certified users. They will need to become accustomed to alternatives to existing desktop applications.
Your IT staff will need to be trained and developed and take exams- an essential element for a successful implementation. Then they will need to move your staff to the new environment.
You may of course choose Microsoft 365 but much of the above will still apply.
Each school’s approach to this will be different and therefore a differentiated and bespoke approach is essential.
However, across the UK a consensus seems to be appearing. A solution needs to be put in place today but which includes planned whole school movement to the Cloud within just a few years.
Need help in deciding? Just let us know if we can help.