Education has seen a complete overhaul in the last fifteen years. Research has moved from the library to the online database, homework from the notebook to the laptop, and lessons from the chalkboard to the iPad. Though technology now provides an unprecedented level of versatility and efficiency in the classroom, it’s expensive and can be difficult to manage. Today, education providers throughout the world are moving IT support to the cloud to keep costs down and maintain efficiency. Here’s how they’re doing it:
Identifying the Customer
In many organizations, IT service desks and IT support teams are there to help the employees. In education, it’s a bit more complicated. Devices can be assigned-to or loaned-to students on a temporary basis. The responsibility for that device could fall on the students or their parents. And of course, there could be assets assigned to classrooms and teachers as well. That’s a diverse group of “customers” for a support team to assist. For many institutions of higher learning, that means multiple platforms or tools to manage different processes across departments or types of customers. It becomes incredibly difficult for IT to create an efficient environment.
Designing the Experience
Communication can be difficult given the variety of customers and their variety of needs. There could be thousands of students and faculty calling, emailing, or showing up at a technician’s office with a question or an issue. The experiences of the users and the technicians should be designed to simplify the process. That’s why it’s important to find a single solution that works for everyone.
The service desk solution should be available on campus and off and should provide access to all parties 24/7 (since problems or questions can arise outside of regular hours), and it should organize data for easy access from all of the lines of communication. The idea is to provide efficient support and delivery despite all of the real-life variables in the education system.
The Modern Service Desk
There are so many complicated tasks for support to facilitate. Auditing assets, student on-boarding, requests for items, and budgeting for technology can seem like impossible mountains to climb. The modern service desk should help the support team organize, prepare-for, and ultimately, automate many of these multi-layered tasks.
A modern service catalog can be customized to route each task or decision to the appropriate party, simplifying communication, and drastically improving efficiency. A few customizable questions for data collection can eliminate so much of the back-and-forth that occurs during the aforementioned daily tasks.
The other key to maintaining efficiency is reporting. How long are you taking to complete these regular tasks? What’s working for your organization? What areas need improvement? All of this data can be tracked through modern reporting. It’s customizable, so you can measure success in terms of business hours for your organization. The first step in improving is to quantify your performance in the first place.
IT Asset Management
This is the first place that many organizations in education want to improve. Today’s students are tech savvy, capable of learning more with their devices, and technology has evolved to the point where the devices require minimal software, making it easy to streamline the technology for a group of students.
The downside is, students can be reckless with the expensive assets, and it can be difficult to assign responsibility for devices that are traveling from the classroom to the bus, on a field trip, or home with a student.
IT service management can bridge some of these gaps. Administration will gain visibility into each individual asset’s lifecycle: who it has been with, where it has been, and what it has been used for. Assets can be configured holistically to fit the needs of a group of students, whatever their projects might entail. Most importantly, ITSM will make it so much easier to manage repairs, updates, purchases, and overall budgets for a school’s technology.
The Big Picture
A service desk solution will simplify and automate many of the regular, previously time-consuming tasks. With that solution is an incident management system will improve communication, store the growing amounts of data you need to track, and help technicians prioritize and resolve tickets. An IT asset management system will relieve confusion about who needs what, who has what, and what happened to cause an issue with a particular device. All of this should improve the experience of both the customers (students, parents, teachers) and the support team.
And, of course, organizations can measure their progress through reporting on support services, costs of repairs/updates, and how much time and money they’ve saved with their organizational platforms.