agree bring it all in inhouse
I have just posted this to get peoples thoughts; I have seen a lot of posts on the forums in relation to moving things externally, Gmail, Google Apps, Office365, VLE, MIS (Progresso ( I think is going web based) etc.
To be honest we have done things completely differently, Moved Mail internal Exchange 2010 (previously hosted externally), allowed access to files externally for staff and Students (Nickís Home Access Plus, thanks Nick),Moodle VLE hosted internally, Given Staff, Parents, access to Student info Externally but again hosted Internally (Web based).
To be honest there is more we are managing and hosting internally but you get my drift.
So hereís my question by starting to host things Externally arenít we losing control of things to an extent including data, as well as some control of these systems and how they develop, so things like when they go down for maintenance etc, no internet no access to these external systems. Which to be honest seems a bit of a worry to me.
So do people prefer to use external Services (Support) for certain things and why ?
I know that budgets are tight so this could be one of the reasons but by gradually moving things externally because of this arenít we saying someone else can do it cheaper and couldnít this mean that eventually nearly everything is hosted Externally so the school loses control of these things and how they develop and IT Staff lose jobs or diversity of job, which to me is one of the big adavantages of working in education.
agree bring it all in inhouse
Instead of asking the question about losing control start asking questions around things like ... will it affect how teachers and learners use IT? Will it affect the running of the school? Will it increase or reduce any liabilities the school has to meet (statutory obligations, legal requirements, etc)? What changes does it make to the budget? What changes to school expertise and capacity will it create? Does this involved retraining of existing staff, redeployment or redundancies?
Control is definitely the wrong word to use ... it makes it sound as if people are trying to protect their own jobs at the expense of important things like whether something will be detrimental to the children.
In-house is over-rated at times ... filtering is a good example ... wanting to have tighter control of what is going on is fine, but when you don't have it backed up by school policies (discipline, staff handbook, AUP, etc) and nothing gets done to check whether it is suitable for the school then why spend extra money on it?
And yes ... some of the above is said tongue-in-cheek ... but others (including SLT in schools) are not saying it in that manner.
Its the same old chestnut again and it all boils down to service, cost and downtime.
How much the system costs to run with inhouse services and staff compared to external services and a downsize of staff requirements within the school.
What level of service does the school require?
What SLA levels do the staff require and the KPIs that define whether the school will be re-imbursed if the level of service falls below that of the SLA agreement.
Its all relevent:
External services, requirements:
Good internet access
Good level of IT competency by the staff
Good understanding by the SLT about the SLA agreements and the KPIs that go with it.
Understanding that the personal touch will be lacking within the school.
Everything to be done through an external helpdesk which may be hosted in another country.
Cost factor which will be governed by the SLA level agreement.
InHouse Services: Requirements:
Good staff with expertise
The cost of each service:
Dependant on the levels of service required by the school but could be as much as £150k per annum for a medium sized school of 1000 endusers. This will not include a refresh of equipment this comes as an extra which could take the SLA up to £250k per annum.
2 - 3 Staff @Approx £60 - £70k wages
Equipment refresh £50 - £60k per annum
Training approx: £5K per annum
You pays your money and you takes your choice:
What a lot of schools are doing is using the Web apps which are available externally for free but downsizing their IT staff requirements to probably one or two staff max.
With the recent cuts in budgets to schools even those that have gone Academy, there are still more cuts to come which will mean only one thing, that is more staff cuts (Mainly support staff).
I personally feel it is better to keep things hosted internally as our staff requirements are quite extensive and they need to have their hands held most of the time.
This is only my take on the matter.
That way the powers that be can continue in their goal to get the minimum requirement provided for the least cost and to drive out skill from schools.
The concensus seems to be that schools are about teaching (sure I'll buy that) and (here's the important bit) should not be good at anything else. There seems to be a distinct trend to go after tech support, there is a role for a caretaker, cleaners, acounts staff, secretaries which no one goes after but suggest that they should have a place for someone who knows about technology and they get antsy.
I think that it is fear, this same thing happens in some enterprises where they outsource the IT to the cloud so they don't have to deal with people who know more about something than they do.
To be fair there are some benifits to externalising certain things but I don't think those are the main motivation in many circumstances.
Fair point as control and as regards teaching and learning, but if systems or Services are taken outside the school seems to lose a lot of say in how these develop and your right as regards Teaching and Learning being the key here this is what we are all about hopefully. Again your right about backed up by school policies, SLT etc but didn't want to make this too complicated a question by delving into all of this.
It is just in all three educational establishments I have worked in we have done this brought as much in house as possible and where staff and students have been previously been frustrated with IT in some aspects, they have been a lot happier and found what we have put in place has helped them, where it hasn't helped we have changed it and that I feel is the key because I have used a fair few external systems and services and it is something very difficult to get changes implemented where as if it is internal it is up to you to drive the changes.
Also don't get me wrong I get support from the various support services LEA, SIM's support also an outside contractor where I need the expertise just prefer to manage everything in house myself, we also have support from various software providers and I make sure I use this fully where required.
Get your point as regards the statements SLT point, but isn't that what we should be disproving and shouldn't we be driving the decision making as regards IT with Senior Management and how it best effects teaching and learning in school.
Agree with you as how it seems to be taken costs to run in house services as opposed to external services but I know quite a few schools that have bought external services and are now trying to get out of these I am not saying all of these are bad just that it ties the schools hands to an extent and once they buy into this Scenario it is difficult to get out.
Scenario 2 every time I am not saying we have the skills to do everything as regards IT but I have the sense to get extra expertise where I need it be this externally or training or both.
That is my fear a lot of schools seem to be going the Web apps route to save money and I can see there point to an extent but just feel by doing this they are losing how these things are used and how they develop.
Again see your points as regards cut to budgets but feel we should not always be accepting this but should look at using IT innovatively to save money or add extra functionality in a cost effective manor.
I have deffinately this as regards powers at be goal minimum cost and drive out skills but in industry and look what a mess that is in.
Your right schools are about teaching and learning and IT is there to support that but if IT isn't working and it is managed externally difficult to change if IT isn't working internally sack the IT Manager or put someone over them to make sure they do what they need to but I feel at least the school can control this.
I agree with you about the motivation for externalising things can sometimes be blurred, so shouldn't we be in a position to drive these decisions and not have them drive us.
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