Over the past decade, the demand for technology in K-12 classrooms has consistently increased. With rapid adoption among students, teachers, and management alike, the range of technology being used in K-12 school districts is continually expanding.
IT adoption in schools comes with its own unique set of challenges such as budget constraints and security concerns. Districts and schools spend valuable time and resources in procuring technology to facilitate today’s digital learning environment.
This is why they are standardizing their approach towards procurement, deployment, maintenance, and tracking of devices to streamline their IT asset management and get the most out of these investments.
Inventory management for K-12 school districts requires vigorous tracking and streamlined processes to remain efficient, maintain accountability, and continuously reflect the school’s evolving goals and technology learning priorities.
1. Planning and procurement
K-12 school districts manage IT assets on a huge scale. According to a 2018 survey, 20% of IT leaders in K-12 districts report that their teams are responsible for supporting more than 15,000 devices.
Currently, the K-12 IT landscape consists of a wide mix including MacBooks, iPads, Chromebooks, and Windows devices. With most district schools managing IT equipment across multiple campuses, it becomes challenging to track the need for new IT assets and to plan and procure accordingly.
Powerful IT asset management solutions can significantly minimize this challenge and streamline bringing learning devices from markets to the classrooms. For instance, they help in accurately assessing the need for new devices through seamless integrations with a ticketing system so teachers or other faculty members can push requests for new devices.
As the ticketing system is integrated with an ITAM tool, it becomes easier for IT teams to extract information on procurement protocols, vendor details, and other budgetary concerns before accelerating the request, reducing the ticket resolution time.
With ITAM software, your IT teams can easily sort through different vendors in their system and create purchase orders on the go. Powerful IT asset management software comes with various purchase order templates making the job even easier and quicker. You can just choose a vendor from your ITAM database and push out a purchase order, all through a single system.
Efficient ITAM tools come with advanced reporting capabilities so you can view the hardware use trends across all campuses and take informed purchasing decisions. With these powerful reporting capabilities, you can facilitate the analysis, planning, cost management, and purchase of new devices across any number of school locations.
IT leaders in districts nationwide struggle to balance tight budgets and hardware-heavy initiatives like 1:1 computing. As you are able to streamline your procurement with an ITAM tool, it is likely that you will buy IT assets in bulk and avail discounts as well.
K-12 school districts deploy thousands of student devices every year. The one-to-one rollout programs in K-12 school districts can be a significant challenge. IT teams need to deploy devices across all school locations during a limited time frame. This is further compounded by the challenge of provisioning devices for newly enrolled students.
An integrated ITAM tool comes with different identity and device management platforms so user and IT asset databases can easily be imported onto your software.
You can then assign devices to every student or faculty member with unique asset tags to ensure that there are no errors during deployment. The software also comes with RFID and barcode scanning so you can quickly and easily check out thousands of devices in a single day, minimizing manual data entry.
For the post-deployment phase, you can make use of the Agent to ensure that the designated user has received the device. A simple log-in can help you verify the assigned devices and match the device’s ownership.
3. Maintenance and disposal of IT assets
Once the devices have been deployed, real-time tracking is required to ensure that the devices are running properly so the students’ learning process is not disrupted. These devices also require regular screening and servicing so there is no unplanned downtime.
ITAM tools come with preventive, diagnostic, maintenance, retirement, and replacement features so you can automate these time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks.
With the help of ITAM software, you can set up periodic servicing of Chromebooks and other devices and set alerts beforehand. You can also attach and upload guidelines and servicing manuals to ensure that the devices are being maintained properly. The maintenance phase includes the repair of faulty components, software upgrades, and periodic backups.
Furthermore, the integration of your ITAM software with a service desk helps your students and teachers push requests for maintenance or repair whenever their device breaks down. This ticketing system integration gives you details about the device, and its previous servicing and usage history so you can resolve the issue quicker.
If some of the devices need disposal, IT asset management software also dictates protocols and policies that have been outlined by your K-12 school district.
You can follow those steps to ensure that you are retiring the IT assets in a standardized fashion. You can attach checklists and procedure outlines for the retiring phase so all assets are disposed of in a similar manner across the entire district.
Cybersecurity has always been great concern regarding K-12 technology because it entails the protection of crucial student and faculty information.
According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, among the over 7.7 million enterprise malware events that happen every month, more than 60% come from the education sector.
As the learning devices are deployed over a number of campuses, and a huge amount of devices are connected to the school’s IT network, it becomes essential for IT teams to go the extra mile and take precautionary security measures.
The embedded mobile device management features in your ITAM tool help you take preventive measures against cyber threats and risks of data breaches. If your K-12 technology is being managed via a powerful ITAM tool, it is highly likely that there is a pre-configured ITAM agent deployed on every device.
This agent saves information on the software being downloaded on your K-12 devices, their firewall status, and more. You can set software limitations to ensure that specific websites or applications are blacklisted and must not be accessed by your students to improve network security.
With the de-provisioning feature, you can revoke access to software and applications once the students have left the school. This ensures that the old students cannot access the network anymore and there is no risk of a data breach. The real-time tracking of the hardware devices also helps to minimize the risk of asset theft and loss.
K-12 school districts regularly introduce new technology and software applications to ensure an enhanced learning experience for students and better academic performance. The use of more software applications gives way to concerns about staying compliant with software vendors.
As school districts buy multiple software licenses with hundreds or thousands of software seats, it becomes impossible to keep track of these software licenses manually. Furthermore, most of the K-12 school districts are also required to stay compliant with FERPA, CIPA, and COPPA regulations.
Integrated ITAM software helps you stay compliant with software vendor agreements as well as government regulations, helping you evade hefty penalties that you can incur otherwise.
IT admins in your K-12 can easily keep an eye on the licenses that are expiring in the near future so they can be renewed as soon as possible without disrupting the learning environment for students.
They can also track the software seats that are being utilized and increase or decrease the number of entitled seats accordingly. Staying compliant in this manner serves as a proactive measure in case there is an external audit in the near future.
AssetSonar is a powerful IT asset management solution for K-12 school districts. It offers comprehensive and intuitive management of your K-12 hardware and software tools so you can focus on delivering quality education. Sign up today for a free 15-day trial.