Common Constraints in Education IT Systems Management

This blog post is a synopsis of a presentation by Anthony Juliano, CTO & General Partner, Landmark Ventures. Anthony is a seasoned veteran of IT Operations and Technology Innovation. His professional history includes technology strategy, enterprise systems, network administration and infrastructure/architecture operations for a variety of education institutions.

Anthony begins with a little background around what’s different about the education IT systems management environment. Education is a highly constrained IT environment. Constrained by an extremely varied user community with widely different needs, aging hardware, tight budgets, complex politics amongst and between many different stakeholders and the high stakes of our childrens’ education, clearly education IT need comprehensive systems management solutions.

There are currently 3 major IT systems management paradoxes that education environments wrestle with:

  1. Receiving grants to promote 1:1 programs, ubiquitous computing and support capital expenditures on new hardware; but being forced to slash operating expenses, including IT support/service costs.
  2. Driving new and exciting ways for technology to facilitate student learning; but having to constantly protect against the influx of inappropriate content and predators that technology has created.
  3. Acting as a partner with school administrators and a strategic driver of next generation operations; but also being required to be a service owner who is expected to keep the lights on.

The head of IT systems management support should partner with administrators, working together to transform the institution to identify new and exciting ways that technology can enable learning and help improve operations, leverage all the latest trends and tools available so that the fundamental education mission can be fulfilled, all the while staying within the parameters and guidelines put forth by the public that the school district/university serves.

IT systems management for education environments

How do you make this happen? How do you solve these paradoxes in such a constrained education IT environment? It isn’t easy, but it’s doable by implementing IT systems management best practices including:

  • Quick remediation – fix it before it breaks
  • Calibration of security measures – a 1st grader needs more security than a school principal
  • Allow teachers to focus on teaching – automate systems administration so teachers can focus on what they do best
  • Look gift computers in the mouth – create and enforce technology standards so that you’re not spending to maintain ‘free’ but outdated devices
  • Leverage existing technology – ensure that systems management tools can operate and manage across the different devices and operating systems in your environment
  • Don’t waste resources traveling to remote location – use remote systems management tools
  • Know what’s on your network – look for systems management tools with auto-discovery capabilities
  • Demand IT systems management solutions proven in education – your environment is different from the corporate world

To learn more about education IT systems management support, you can watch and listen to Anthony Juliano’s presentation at ‘3 Paradoxes of Educational IT Support (and How to Solve Them).’

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