As the majority of Schools and Cities operate bare-bones IT teams on tight budgets we offer these 3 smart tips every school or city IT team should implement:
1. Create an IT Team that Fits Your Needs
Choosing the correct members for your IT team is very important for your organization to flow smoothly. An organization’s IT team allows employees to do their jobs in an efficient, productive and secure manner. The kind of organization you have will play a huge role in your IT needs and what kind of people you should hire to control your IT infrastructure. For instance, a K-12 school district would need people who can do the following jobs on their IT team: IT administration, instructional technology support, provide technical expertise and project management.
The administrative role is essential because this is the person who will provide resources, approve projects, make requests and be a voice for what the educators, parents, and students need in regards to all things technology at school, and in some cases at home.
The instructional technology support staff is very critical in making sure all teachers and students know how to use the technology the district provides so they can have as many advantages as possible.
The technical expert (you may want more than one, depending on the size of your district) needs to have an understanding of hardware and software computer technology, at least a basic understanding of client/server technology, understand the fundamentals of networking and perhaps even have coding experience.
Finally, you will want a project manager. A project manager is important because they will facilitate communication with all the team members as well as educators and parents. This is an excellent position for someone who already works for the district, as it will help them understand the needs of the students and teachers.
Filling all these roles with qualified people will help take care of 90% of all the IT work you’ll need to be done for your district. But what about the other 10%?
2. Outsource Tasks that Don’t Fit the Team
When you have work that can’t be done by one of your core IT team members because of either time or skill, you should consider outsourcing. One of the best reasons to outsource IT work is it can help reduce spending. Instead of hiring extra employees to perform jobs that may only require a specific skills for only a specific project, you can hire specialists as needs arise. This can help keep costs down because you can pay by the job rather than wrangle a hiring search through HR and potentially incurring additional costs such as benefits and taking much more time.
Outsourcing will also allow you to bring in experts to supplement lacking skill areas within your team and even train your team members on the newest technology. Not to mention hiring someone from outside your IT team for special projects will also help keep your core team members focused on essential tasks keeping everything running smoothly.
3. Implement the Right Service Desk Solution
One of the most important aspects of keeping things running smoothly and efficiently is the service desk (or help desk) software that you run to manage all your projects, tasks and trouble tickets.
The first thing you will need to do is determine your budget. Some software is free offering simple, but essential, functionality verses mammoth, all-in-one solutions that cost tens of thousands of dollars including hundreds of potential features you probably will never use.
Next, you will want to prioritize the features you need. Online directories like Capterra can help you research and sort offerings based on features. Take time to test the solutions you are considering. Usability is just as important as features and many providers offer free trials of their software. Remember, if it is too complicated, especially for your end users, you may find progress move slowly taking away from the “help” or “service” aspect of your help/service desk.
In the end, it is all about getting things done. When deadlines aren’t met and assignments are completed no one is happy. Put in the effort now to get to get the right team in place with the right tools. Good luck!