In today’s rapidly changing educational landscape, the need to automate administrative processes in schools is greater than ever. Traditional, manual methods of handling school equipment are becoming obsolete, necessitating a shift to more advanced, technology-driven processes. Educators now emphasize the importance of virtual learning and digital curriculum in response to increased remote learning opportunities. The escalation of this shift means that up-to-date IT equipment management systems are needed to ensure efficient management of assets across schools and individual students.
Modern asset management systems allow school administrations to drive common logistical tasks without disruption, but further, they facilitate improved learning for students. These solutions enhance school productivity significantly and help overcome key challenges faced by schools in handling IT equipment, such as:
- Security risks: Schools are one of the fast-growing targets for information security breaches. Hackers target personal data stored in schools’ databases because of its sensitive nature. It has been reported that K-12 school districts and schools in the US experienced more than 1850 data breaches between 2005 and 2021, compromising 28.6 million records. Students often use campus-issued devices to connect to an array of devices via on and off-campus networks – protecting these devices off-site against cyber attacks is a significant hurdle. Schools have turned to IT equipment management techniques since it is vital to protect students’ information to maintain confidentiality and security. These strategies ensure that devices and sensitive school data are properly handled and kept safe through effective, systematic security management tools.
- Waste of limited funds: The majority of K-12 educational institutions in the US rely heavily on public funds to run their operations. Although the overall enrollment rates have increased, The Washington Post reports that public funds for charter schools have been cut during the Biden administration by $6 million along with imposition of stricter requirements for obtaining grants. In this environment, allocating funds to better manage school assets and equipment is a greater challenge than ever. With reduced resources, educational institutions cannot invest in the right asset management systems, and therefore lose track of basic IT equipment required to run smooth school operations.
- Equipment loss due to breakdowns: Effective equipment tracking and maintenance solutions are necessary to make sure equipment is readily serviced and maintained. Schools require a wide variety of IT equipment – ranging from multimedia equipment to laptops and peripherals– that could incur large costs when unexpected breakdowns occur. Also, the inability to accurately record equipment information, such as its repair or replacement schedules, can also lead to disruption in classroom operations. Schools cannot afford long downtimes because hybrid learning requires the constant use of IT equipment. If equipment is not available when required, it can negatively impact a school’s bottom line.
Maximizing school revenue through IT equipment management
Keeping track of IT equipment is vital for smooth school operations. Here are some ways an IT equipment management system can help save costs and improve school efficiency:
1. Optimized availability of equipment
Manual equipment handling techniques can lead to missing items if the equipment is not properly tagged and tracked.This translates into disruption of school operations and higher costs. Also, manually handling assets is time-intensive, negatively impacting operational efficiency and labor usage.
The chances of inaccurate information entry are greatly reduced when purpose-built management solutions are used to record equipment quantity and usage. Leveraging automatically updated equipment details removes most manual handling from the process, a key source of inaccuracy. For example, when school libraries use barcodes to keep track of Kindles checked out to students, scanning their barcodes automatically generates data such as checked out date, time and the owner. This not only reduces costs and efforts considerably, but optimizes the availability of equipment so students and staff never face a delay in assignments. Additionally, multiple pieces of equipment can be handled simultaneously without the fear of losing them due to mishandling.
2. Reduced duplication of assets
Data recorded through paperwork is at risk of loss in case of fire and other unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, it is highly difficult to keep track of equipment already possessed by business as there is no record to cross-check with.
With an IT equipment solution, you can ensure that your school possesses just the right amount of equipment needed, and you can easily avoid the problem of duplicate, redundant assets. For example, if a teacher orders two new laptops for their class, an administration that lacks sufficient asset inventory data may mistakenly purchase more laptops to cover the teacher’s request, when the laptops could have been reallocated from existing stock. With an asset management solution in place, up-to-date inventory data enables teachers, staff and students to easily find the required assets. Accurate asset information enables you to reallocate equipment from one location to another, ensuring that schools and students have the right tools, without unnecessary delays.
3. Preventative maintenance
Failure to prepare for equipment that is near the end of its lifecycle or needs urgent repairs leads to inefficient workflows. Preventative maintenance allows your IT department to maintain equipment in the best shape possible and track them to avoid unnecessary interruptions for both students and staff. An IT equipment management solution stores complete asset information, including procurement and disposal, repair, and service dates to track the entire asset lifecycle. Scheduling regular maintenance is an effective cost-saving strategy because it reduces downtime and the additional expense associated with unplanned equipment failures and the associated urgent remediation efforts.
Initiating recurring maintenance for your high value IT equipment also saves time and efforts for staff. An IT maintenance solution produces customized reports detailing how equipment is being utilized – for example, issuing an alert when a PC in the computer lab is being sent for service. To further expedite this process, the system will automatically adjust the maintenance schedules for your school equipment to make sure your inventory is updated and equipment well maintained.
4. Improved audits
Asset auditing is a major part of school asset management as it helps quantify asset usage and identify its condition. However, this is a time-consuming task and without accurate records of inventory levels it is difficult to keep track of equipment. Audits make it easier for your school to align with its operational requirements by maintaining the right amount and quality of equipment. With an IT equipment management system, the chances of discrepancies in audit numbers and recorded data are minimized because the process is automated. This enables your school to better prepare for audits well in advance, while also gaining the other benefits of real-time insights about their IT equipment assets. At the time of an audit, the school staff can efficiently cross-check specific devices based on equipment categories.
Also, manual audits can be faulty due to human errors –for example failing to account for lost or unreturned equipment, which is particularly common with the rise in hybrid learning. IT asset management mitigates this issue by updating equipment counts automatically and maintaining accurate equipment availability for both students and teachers.
5. High configurability
An advanced technological solution for school equipment management will enable you to customize workflows and data access to fit your school’s unique needs. For example, schools that have a wide range of IT equipment spread across various school branches may require more constant monitoring than those in other scenarios. A customizable IT equipment management solution streamlines this process by allowing you to categorize your equipment in precisely the way your situation requires. Customized reports can also be produced so that the staff and teachers can access the necessary details of your school’s equipment, enabling relevant, data-driven and impactful decisions.
An IT equipment management system helps you manage your school IT equipment with complete visibility into your assets’ performance and condition. The system can provide details about the location, serial number, owner of the equipment, its lifecycle and quantity utilized, which increases ease of accessibility for the users. This not only helps your school to improve its overall ROI, but also facilitates better management of high value assets with increased flexibility, ensuring that the right equipment is always available for smooth operations.
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