IT outsourcing - a growing trend in UK education

A large number of schools currently outsource their catering or cleaning services, because these tasks aren’t an integral part of the skillset of the school staff team; they call in specialists to take away the hassle of these tasks, and let them worry about the processes, laws and risks.

Today, 15% of schools are working with an IT partner for delivery of part (we call this co-sourcing) or all of their IT support (outsourcing). They are enjoying the improved provision, cost savings and teaching and learning benefits that a specialist technology partner can bring.

In today’s budget sensitive economy it’s becoming increasingly important for school leaders to find a way to achieve a high level of ICT delivery and support whilst also keeping costs down, and taking back control of their ICT, and in the school’s that don’t currently have an IT partner, 27% are currently reviewing this option as they become more forward-thinking.

So what are the benefits?

Reduce staff overheads - The highest spend in most schools is on staff salaries, and when pressures are put on budgets, the thought of having to make teaching staff redundant to save money is a choice that no school wants to make. The on-costs of staff are high though and if you have a skills gap in your IT team you could either recruit a like-for-like technician, and continue to bear these costs, or work with an IT partner who can provide this staff member for you, either as an extra body in school, or by utilising a more flexible remote support service.

Avoid unnecessary spend – If your IT procurement choices are made on the preferences of your network manager or teachers because it’s ‘what they know about’, rather than a future-proofed and more cost-effective tool that will benefit the school longer term, then how can they be making the best use of your budget?

Increase expertise - A school IT technician or network manager is a generalist in IT. They need to know a little bit about everything, but chances are they don’t have in-depth expertise in any area, and don’t have unlimited access to high quality advice for complex issues. As a result, IT issues can take a long time to resolve, and often the technician fixes the symptom, not the root cause. An IT partner will help identify the root cause, using their links with all the main IT platform and solution partners so that you are guaranteed access to the latest information, roadmaps and advice.

Identify underperformance in IT - Managing an IT team and resources isn’t easy if you don’t understand and keep up with the latest IT technologies; we haven’t met a business manager yet that has enough ‘spare time’ to be able to do this! Because of a lack of information this can often drive a lack of confidence in when to challenge colleagues who appear to be the IT experts, and as such underperformance in all areas of IT often goes unnoticed.

Improve flexibility of service - An IT partner can provide year-round support services, and has the capacity to easily cover illness or annual leave – a luxury not often enjoyed by schools with small or even single-person IT teams. With RM supporting your network it’s like having two sets of keys to the car – we both know how it works and either of us can drive – so you have peace of mind knowing that support is always on hand when you need it.

Ensure security is optimised - Keeping your network, school data, teachers and learners safe in a digital age is a complex and never-ending task as the technology landscape and associated risks constantly change. A specialist IT partner is much better placed to keep abreast of the latest security risks, and will ensure that your infrastructure, data security and pupil access to appropriate materials are all kept up to date and as secure as possible.

By partnering with an IT support provider who works with you to fully manage your strategy, risks and costs of your ICT and surrounding technology, this means your IT costs are predictable, and your technology is cost effective and future-proofed. It also helps stop those expensive IT investment mistakes that are critical to avoid in today’s shrinking budget environment.

We’re happy to have a chat with you, confidentially if needs be, about how happy you are with the quality, cost and proactive capability of the IT support provision in your school, and what your vision for improvements might be. We can also offer you a free IT healthcheck to help you benchmark your IT with that in other leading schools.

Book your free IT healthcheck or live chat with an expert at www.rm.com/IT-healthcheck