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Maximizing Your Technology Budget With Shared Services

John LaPlante

July 8, 2022

I was talking to a potential customer the other day about outsourcing their school’s technology, and I couldn’t help but remember when we wrote (and won) a $100,000 grant from the Local Government Innovation Fund to study Shared Services in education. I still remember bringing together those 17 different agencies, spread across education, government (both local, city, and county), and private enterprise to create a blueprint for sharing technology services. While our plan did include overall cost efficiencies for the partner organizations, it was just as much about being able to do things that were previously unimaginable with the organization’s limited budget. I was also reminded of my work at Salt Lake Community College during the full outsourcing of that school’s information technology function, including all 85 of their IT resources which covered both administrative and academic technologies, student lab environments, help desk, and network server and infrastructure, local- and wide-area networks, and our smart classroom project.

In my discussion with this school, I shared that even though they might only be able to afford a single “tech” to manage their technology, they may be able to afford 1/2 of a “tech” for the break/fix aspects of their job (their current tech was not 100% utilized for the entire year), and then part of a server engineer for those times when this resource was necessary. Further, at the beginning and end of the school year, outsourcing affords the ability to engage a team lead resource to “scale up” to support the increased demand at these times of the year. Also, they may be able to afford a regional manager for a few hours a month to handle their financial planning, lifecycle management, administrative system integrations, inventory management, and vendor relationships. And lastly, they will be able to afford an account manager to handle the overall relationship with the school district, making sure that all services are delivered in a fast, friendly, and consistent manner, and with a high degree of professionalism and customer satisfaction.

In the end, the district may not save that much actual budget, and they may just break even. HOWEVER, they will be able to bring a significant set of additional capabilities and resources to their teachers and staff for the benefit of their students – which, in the end, is why we’re all here.  

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