Supporting your network manager to succeed

Originally posted in 2017

I was recently visiting the bursar of an Independent School to discuss their pain points when it comes to ICT. Over the course of a fairly long discussion it became clear that the main concern for this school in particular was that of a lack of ICT staffing and expertise.

The bursar explained to me that at their Independent School there was one main ICT/Network Manager responsible for managing the entire ICT infrastructure of the school. Whilst this manager was excellent at his job, the bursar and governors had concerns that he had no cover – and that posed a significant risk. Should anything happen to that Network Manager, the school would be in a very awkward position indeed. The bursar was also concerned that since his expertise on ICT was limited, the Network Manager was in a position of strength when it came to securing funding – does the school really need those new PCs or is it just a personal ambition of the Network Manager?

In this position, the school has two options. Hire another Network Manager, or enlist the services of an external ICT company to provide support where needed.

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The bursar expressed concerns that hiring an external ICT company would be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the Network Manager on behalf of the bursar and governors. This opinion is one I hear time and time again on my visits to schools, and my answer is always the same.

In a school environment it is not uncommon for a class to also have a teaching assistant. The assistant helps pupils with questions and eases pressure on the teacher. By putting a TA in a class, is it an expression of lack of confidence in the teacher? Of course not! The TA does not take the class, he/she simply helps the teacher and the pupils.

In the case of this Independent School, the bursar later understood the merit of providing their Network Manager with a little extra support to continue providing a top quality ICT service to the school, without quite so much stress.

In my experience Independent Schools are embracing new, more complicated technology in order to provide the best learning experience to pupils. However, as the technology becomes more intricate, the number of staff members able to understand how it works becomes narrower. As responsibility for these ICT systems falls upon an ever smaller number of staff, their stress levels increase exponentially.

There is real merit in easing your Network Manager’s workload. Furthermore, as a bursar, it is helpful to have an extra opinion when it comes to adopting a new ICT project. If you identify with any of the problems I have touched on in this article, maybe your school would benefit from some support – your Network Manager will thank you for it!

Interested how entrustIT could help your schools ICT? Take a look at our FREE White Paper to discover more >> 

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