Anyone who has worked in Education IT for very long knows that, despite the drop in hardware prices over the years, IT costs continue to rise, but I wonder how many of your administrators have taken the time to figure out why -- or really thought about what to do about it.
A recent report in eSchool News (Report: Tech-support costs on the rise) reminds us that technical support costs have doubled in just the last four years -- making technical support the fastest growing expense in Education IT. Is anyone surprised by this? I am certainly not.
According to the report, the typical knee-jerk reaction to this trend is that old stand-by: cut professional development, and cut software spending. Sounds a little like "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face" to me! Or is it the noses of our educators and our students that are being cut off?
Sure using this approach the small "mom & pop" business can put things off, and it can even keep the enterprise going for a year or two -- until the guy at the top gets promoted -- or bails out to avoid getting fired over lost productivity! But an educational setting is different. Isn't it? At least it oughtto be!
Whether we are educators ourselves or we are providing tools to our educators, it's our job to train our future leaders -- and that means training our educators as well, not just their students. So why are our administrators cutting training for our educators and ourselves when, without training, the tools we provide are of marginal value.
The author of the eSchool News report states:
"Interestingly, few technology directors cited reducing tech-support costs as a way to cut budgets in a more significant way--this, despite the fact that tech support is the fastest-growing cost area for school technology budgets."
So how might we cut technical support costs? I can think of a few ways, and I'll bet you can too:
Yeah, I know that I am preaching to the choir but these are the things we need to share with our administrators -- many of whom have little IT training themselves.
A thorough analysis of how your IT day is spent, and how much time and money could be saved through prudent use of limited resources by establishing a realistic life-cycle funding model with balanced goals based upon the needs of your educators and their students could make a big difference -- to you and to your educators and their students.