You’re thinking about signing up with an ICT support provider – this might be for a number of reasons. Your Network Manager has left or is away due to long-term sickness. Or he/she might have gone on holiday and you’ve had an emergency. Alternatively you might be aware that your Network Manager is firefighting every day – only carrying out reactive tasks rather than strategising for the future.

So, what are your next steps? It’s not difficult to find a company that will offer to manage your ICT support for you. A simple Google search will result in tens or even hundreds of companies that will gladly work with you. Yet how do you work out what’s right for you and demystify any of the grey areas around external ICT support? Here are some common questions we are asked when schools approach us for help with their ICT.

Q. How will your support team work with our internal team?

A. The answer is however you like! Your ICT team will have a good idea of the tasks they want to keep and those they would like to hand over. They may be keen to work on a roadmap for the future direction of your ICT – or they might like to hand that over and get on with improving the ICT already in situ.

Tip: Any provider you speak to must be able to mould their team in with yours – they are an extension to your team, not a replacement – simply complementary.

Q. How well do you understand what we need?

A. From our service desk, to our engineers, installation and education experts, we fully understand your needs as a school – with years of experience in the sector – and can help you out whenever you need us.

Tip: Make sure you work with a service provider that is just education focused. This ensures they understand the urgency of even the most challenging ICT problems and can solve them quickly and efficiently.

Q. Will you make us buy lots of new ICT equipment?

A. No, not at all. We will make recommendations regarding what we think you need after conducting an ICT audit but we would never force you to buy anything you didn’t want to buy. If you do decide you need to invest in some new ICT we will provide advice around the technology we think would be best for you at the best price, but again it’s your decision.

Tip: Make sure you work with an unbiased ICT support provider who doesn’t favour any particular vendor and always has your best interests at heart.

Q. What if I need you one month and not the next?

A. It’s your budget so your support agreement is on your terms. We can help you work out which type of ICT support plan is best for you – fully managed, hybrid or ad hoc. The choice is yours regarding how, when and how much you spend.

Tip: Look for an ICT provider that gives you flexibility and don’t get locked into an agreement that might not be right for you in the future.

Q. How do I know if I am getting value for money?

A. We see providing schools with value for money as being always there for them, providing strategic input, expertise, and day-to-day guidance if required. It might not be something you can always see but the value of reassurance and reliability is difficult to put a price on.

Tip: Work with an ICT provider that fills you with confidence that they will be available to help you out whenever you need them – for real value for money. This is what you are paying them for after all!

Don’t be left wondering about the whys, ifs and buts when choosing an ICT support provider. Make sure you ask them the pressing questions before you sign up, so you can really get to grips with who they are and what they can provide.

Need to assess your school technology?
Why not use our free online ICT Health Check Tool?

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