General Chat Thread, Would Heads really react favourably to an email like this? in General; Is it time to write to your head teacher about budget cuts? - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home ...
27th October 2010, 02:13 PM #1
Would Heads really react favourably to an email like this?
Is it time to write to your head teacher about budget cuts? - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
I'm in two minds... It's almost as if it assumes the IT team are so isolated from the rest of the school they need to market their services as though they were an external vendor.. Or is this just me?
Also schools that have IT services such that 15000K per annum savings could be made through virtualisation are surely already are using it. School that aren't probably don't spend much more than that **in total** each year...? I'm not really in the mood to do a full analysis but I would be interested to know if I'm off kilter with my reaction to this...
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27th October 2010, 02:18 PM #2
The letter really needs to be written so that it matches the school's actual situation - copying and pasting someone else's letter would not go down well (even if it is a good letter by Ray!)
It does no harm to remind a head why you're there and if you can say "look, we can do x, y, z which will cost £xx but could save £yy per year" then it has to be a good thing. IT is almost always seen as something which costs a school money - this isn't going to go away but if a small investment (buying print management software) can save a large amount then it has to be a good thing to look at.
27th October 2010, 05:12 PM #3
As I was writing it (the letter), I was in two minds as well - there's always a risk that it's simply going to come across as irrelevant or patronising. But having spent enough time talking about these kind of issues with both IT managers and school leaders, there's definitely a disjoint in some schools. And yes, some schools will already have taken some or all of the steps I've talked about, but not everybody. I was with a college leadership team last week, and when we were talking about savings through server virtualisation, it turned out they had 100 servers, and not a single one virtualised. So for everybody that's done something to reduce cost, I think there's another who might find the discussion useful.
27th October 2010, 06:21 PM #4
Although the letter is good are a lot of IT teams so isolated from management that this feedback hasn't already been discussed? One of the things we've done here is to make sure people know what we're doing \ planning and why so there's no big surprises when it comes to project work etc. We also make ourselves very visible and responsive so people know we're there... really helps to create a positive perception of IT rather than the classic "geek in the cupboard" view you get when watching The IT Crowd
Thanks to gshaw from:
srochford (27th October 2010)
28th October 2010, 06:13 PM #5
The need to take that approach to a piece of writing is not something I have encountered before. I have always worked for superb non technical managers who expect a high level of communication and allow a good degree of freedom to deliver. Just luck I guess.
However that letter is very well written and indicates depth of thought that should get the attention of a head who has previously been taking the techie in the cupboard for granted.
The question is: would the techie who sends this understand the importance of some of the implied contextual analysis that has gone into its writing? Because it is that, rather than specific pieces of tech, which is needed to drag the ICT service in many school into the twenty first century.
28th October 2010, 06:48 PM #6
- Rep Power
I think be it a letter or a conversation with the leadership team these are times when we should all show willing to try to save money and virtualization is the perfect way to go about this. Not only will you save on power costs but also server replacement, air conditioning costs and also licencing costs. I would be more than willing to talk with people about how this can be achieved. (sorry if this sounds like an ad for Microsoft)
28th October 2010, 07:36 PM #7
I can see the point that people are making about IT not being isolated in Schools and with any luck discussion on how IT can save the School money have been ongoing. Unfortunatley though we are all about to have our 'belts tightened' significantly and IT is an obvious place to save money by simply cutting the budget, which helps no one. I think what this letter does is give you the opportunity to put something in front of your head which explains that IT can save money for the School without simply cutting the budget.
As well as virtualisation which from experience will save you money its also about showing the head that 'smarter' use of IT can reduce paper usage, photocopying, printing, postage and ultimatley the Schools carbon footprint. Whether you use the letter as a conversation starter or as an actual letter (altered to suit your School) I think its an excellent starting point.
I am one of the lucky ones where the School invested heavily over the last 3 years and now we are starting to see the benefits in long term cost savings both using virtualisation and our latest paperless School project. Like Dave I don't want to sound like I'm advertising Microsoft products but if anyone wants to discuss further or see what we are doing then just let me know.
28th October 2010, 09:03 PM #8
Alas my Head is a little too on the ball and we've already had the "how can we cut cost in IT spending?" conversation so a letter is not going to help me much this year. One question I would ask is - how much IT budgeting is just an annual thing? Only visited once a year when your trying to get as much as you can off him in April?
For me the ICT budget plan is a constant work in progress that I'm working on with the head and others through out the year so come April the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted and we all know where we stand for the coming year.
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