IT functionality has long been a background concern for K-12 schools. While having enough technology in place to teach students effectively has been important, most systems were managed through a homegrown help desk or similarly basic solution. However, changes over the past few years have added a layer of complexity and many schools are not only dealing with new challenges internally, they are also trying to do more to incorporate technology into how they teach.
In light of these changing technology requirements, there are many ways that an advanced IT service desk can deliver value for educators. Here are four of the standout benefits:
1. Limiting Risk
Making changes or resolving incidents without the necessary oversight and coordination offered by a service desk solution can create incredible risk. A minor change to the configuration can lead to downtime or worse, data being lost or made vulnerable to hackers. Schools handle so much sensitive data, and must store it for so long, that they cannot afford risk. However, they also lack the funding necessary to establish extremely elaborate risk management plans. A good service desk provides the kind of day-to-day functionality to minimize potential dangers without creating excess fiscal disruption.
2. Giving IT Freedom for Innovation
For many schools, the service desk employees and the IT department are one and the same. As such, professionals must find a way to balance day-to-day support, ongoing management, maintenance, incident management and problem resolution. This involves carefully integrating consistent requirements with new problems. As such, IT teams in academia are often so bogged down with everyday tasks and do not have time to handle special projects that could improve efficiency and reduce costs. A sophisticated service desk can provide a layer of organization and coordination that eases many operational burdens and creates some room for innovation.
3. Improving Change Management
One major efficiency challenge facing K-12 schools is the way technology dependencies exist across a variety of department and operational boundaries. Different teachers, staff members and students may depend on the same applications and services at different times, making it extremely difficult to effectively time change in order to minimize disruption. This is where a change management platform that can track activities of all stakeholders can be incredibly beneficial. Such a solution can help IT teams choose the best times to perform change and gain a clearer understanding of the impact that small or major adjustments will have on operations.
4. Extending Change Coordination Outside of IT
A change management platform used as part of a service desk is, in many ways, an incredibly advanced scheduling solution. It can be used to identify what configurations adjustments need to be made, when they must happen, who has to be involved and what will be affected. This functionality can extend beyond IT. For example, facilities teams can use the platform to identify which classrooms are in use at what times, how many desks are in each location, where A/V equipment is at any time and what type of setup changes need to be made over the course of any period of time.
This system can be integrated with athletic scheduling, requirements for any night courses, extracurricular activities or administrative meetings happening at the schools as well. Essentially, all functions that require any kind of change or scheduling to any physical or technology element of the school system can be integrated and coordinated through the service desk. This can lead to incredible value creation by opening clearer lines of communication and collaboration between departments.
An IT service desk can generate considerable cost savings and operational efficiencies for K-12 schools systems, and many of those benefits extend beyond the realm of IT.