Of an IT budget, one industry source says that 80 percent is typically dedicated to keeping things going, with only 20 percent earmarked for strategic initiatives.
To maximize your school or city IT budget, you need solutions to make maintenance more affordable. This will free up funds for growth and improvement.
Why IT is Important
Most administrators and decision makers see information technology as a necessary piece of their organization to maintain and build. Fortunately, today, many are seeing an increase in their IT budgets. Others, unfortunately, see IT as overhead, like keeping the lights on, and the annual candidate for cost reduction. They don’t view the upside impact of modern technology infrastructure to their end users.
A 2013 report by Pew Research Center of nearly 2,500 educators showed that 92 percent of those surveyed say that access to technology and the internet has a major impact on content, resources, and materials for teaching. They also said the internet increased collaboration with other educators and improved communication with students and families.
For city and other public organizations, the right IT tools and services are critical. Technology enables greater access to resources that make the government run more smoothly. IT enables improved departmental communication and collaboration, and improved relations with community members.
Assessing Existing IT Costs
The first step in maximizing a school or city IT budget is assessing what is already in place.
- How much of the budget is being spent on supporting existing IT?
- What is reaching the end of its useful life?
- What investments are required to replace outdated, obsolete, or broken technology?
The goal in completing a full assessment is to map out where your organization or school can be more efficient. Focus on the long-term impact of your decisions as well as on the immediate value.
Make the Right Investments
To maximize your IT budget, balance efficiency and productivity with the cost of the technology. When building your budget, make sure you consider the total lifetime cost including maintenance and replacement of existing technology.
ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) suggests that schools, in particular, stretch their IT dollars by practicing sustainable technology. They use computers as an example:
“A sustainable technology practice means not purchasing more technology than a school can regularly maintain, upgrade, and replace … If you don’t maintain the technology, you get unreliable computers that teachers won’t use.”
How have many IT Leaders solved this issue?
Look to the Cloud
Cloud services are often an excellent way to invest in sustainable IT for schools and other organizations. Often, cloud technologies are worth the costs for schools and cities. And many providers even offer discounted rates to public organizations. Make sure to ask!
With cloud services, organizations can access software and infrastructure, such as a help desk system, as needed wherever users or technicians are located. And organizations can do so without an ongoing investment in hardware and other on-site equipment.
Another benefit of cloud-based services is they are scalable and quick to implement. If a school/city finds that it is using more resources than expected, increasing capacity is often as simple as pressing a button.
The truth about cloud technology is that it is now available to anyone on any budget. Your school or city organization can thrive on whatever budget is available to you. Click here for more information on IT solutions for schools and cities.