The practice of IT service management (ITSM) may have originated in large, private enterprises, but it has shown its effectiveness in many different types of organizations. That includes education and other public service-oriented organizations, like the healthcare sector and government.
Many educational institutes have already adopted ITSM practices to make their organizations more service-oriented. However, others might still need to decide whether the significant investment in time and effort is worth it.
This article will highlight some of the challenges that can be solved by IT service management in the education sector. Then we’ll clarify precisely how ITSM practices benefit educational institutes and why finding the right toolset is so important.
Educational Institutes Face Many IT Challenges Today
Colleges and universities across North America face many challenges today.
Larger and more complex user bases
Educational institutions tend to have more varied and complex user bases than private businesses. Their users include students, permanent and adjunct faculty, staff, and alums. In addition, higher ed campuses are also often hosting conferences and other events and run into many of the same IT challenges as hospitality venues.
Educational institutions are also often old, with complex administrative histories. Their IT infrastructure can be decentralized, with data siloed among academic departments, central administration, research institutes, and even whole colleges within regional networks or more prominent universities. This decentralization can make it very challenging to manage requests and projects that span the entire institution, drawing on resources from two, three, or more different networks and IT teams.
IT departments are being asked to do more with less. Despite growing enrollment, many educational institutions are under even tighter budget constraints as COVID-related costs and cuts to public funding take their toll. A study from McKinsey Insight found that heading into next year, “up to 57 percent of public four-year institutions and up to 77 percent of private, not-for-profit four-year institutions could suffer budgetary shortfalls of more than 5 percent.”
New and more significant security threats
Cyberattacks against educational institutions are rising in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Many bad actors see educational institutions as valuable and vulnerable targets when their overtaxed IT departments struggle to manage remote learners and instructors. In addition, educational institutions have a large amount of useful data, including student identity information and research data.
How ITSM Helps Educational Institutions Overcome These Challenges
By design, ITSM practices touch on every aspect of your team delivering IT services. The right ITSM toolset can help you address the challenges outlined above and more. Here are some of the ways to use the right tools.
Provide better insights
End-to-end ITSM management and control provide better insights into how your organization runs. These insights can inform everything from how you can optimize ground-level operations to your institution’s long-term strategic planning.
For example, the tracking provided by a reliable ITSM platform can help you identify trends in your service requests. Are students repeatedly reporting the same issue with a distance learning app? They may need additional training at the beginning of the following semester. Are building managers reporting crashes on a particular model of classroom IT equipment? Could you flag that item for a competitor review before your next inventory refresh?
The better insights provided by IT service management in the education sector can lead to better operating efficiency and reduced waste. Both of which reduce operating costs over time.
ITSM tools streamline problem resolution. As a result, your technicians will spend less time on each service request, and your users will be back up and running faster.
ITSM insights also help you identify which human or IT resources need to be used more efficiently. For example, are you seeing many loaner laptops sitting idle in your inventory? Retire or repurpose them next quarter. Is there a queue for certain study rooms because students value your new touchscreen displays? Create a new project to provision touchscreens to the rest of those spaces.
ITSM increases productivity
Over time, ITSM reduces problem resolution times. Your IT resources will be more available when your users need them, mainly if you use an ITSM solution with self-service tools. For example, your students won’t need to wait in a phone queue if they can get a simple issue, like a beginning of the semester password reset, resolved quickly through a web interface. It can also help teaching and administrative staff with similar needs.
It becomes a platform for digital transformation
Many educational institutions need help with effectively carrying out a digital transformation. Digital transformations require various coordinated technological, operational, and cultural changes. Aligning those three elements of an organization is also the goal of ITSM.
A reliable ITSM platform gives you the tools you need to streamline your organization and deliver meaningful long-term change to your institution. ITSM tools will support your transformation project and help you sustain your changes once they’re complete.
ITSM improves customer experience
Mature ITSM practices are much easier for IT professionals to follow than traditional workflows. Objectives will be clearer under ITSM, making work less stressful. Your service desk portal will organize everything they need to track. Your staff will appreciate the organized and well-thought-out workflows you create for them using ITSM principles.
To Effectively Apply ITSM Practices, You Need the Right Tools
To adopt IT service management in the education sector, you will need reliable, centralized tools. One of the core principles of ITSM is centralizing the collection and management of service requests and resources within a single service desk platform. So, you should be able to look for a service desk tool that can accommodate the various problems, projects, and IT asset inventories you need to manage at your institution across their entire service lifecycles.
Finding a platform like that sounds difficult, but it isn’t. Consider C2, the ITSM platform for every educational or para-public institution. C2 is an all-in-one IT service management platform that helps your teams collaborate and deliver better service. It’s also a codeless, cloud-native solution, so it’s easy for organizations of any size with any set of resources to use.