One year since the pandemic began, colleges and universities still face uncertainty around when students will fully return to in-person learning.
In the United States, only 35 percent of students have returned to schools for in-person learning full-time. The majority of students continue to attend virtual school, or some mix of remote and in-person classes. And even as vaccine distribution ramps up and provides a glimmer of hope for a return to in-person learning, remote learning will remain a required service in the days, months and perhaps even years to come.
As higher education moves beyond “reactive” to “proactive” in its approach to enable online learning, institutions need to balance budget sheets and resource bandwidth with the right investments in digital infrastructure. To enable remote learning experiences while keeping costs manageable, colleges and universities should consider turning to a managed services partner. A managed services provider versed in the IT needs of higher education can accelerate digital transformation to establish remote-ready platforms and online learning resources for the long haul—all without breaking the bank.
Budgets are down, but expectations are up
Higher education has faced a challenging school year, losing $120 billion in revenue since the start of the pandemic. For these institutions to navigate the widening budget shortfalls, keeping costs down is paramount.
But while the industry looks for more ways to reduce spending, they also must balance critical investments in academic digital transformation and IT modernization. The costs associated with digital operation tools like online learning resources, management systems and other platforms can add up quickly. Yet, colleges and universities today do have options to manage their IT spend, without cutting corners on performance or connectivity.
This is where a managed services provider can be a huge boon and can help academic IT departments position themselves to get the most of their digital solutions and keep services running smoothly, while also being more efficient and cost-effective.
For instance, while many colleges and universities might have already adopted digital learning platforms or established their own online IT help desk services, few have reached the full potential of these investments. Here, a managed services provider be a guiding force for institutions looking to make the most of these assets or take on other time-consuming IT tasks that are less strategic.
Managed services provider: a trusted partner for managing IT spend
Whether or not students return for in-person classes this year, colleges and universities can’t slow down in building out their remote learning and instruction offerings to power the future of education.
Most colleges and universities are already up-and-running with cloud-based apps, like Zoom or Slack, to enable connectivity and enhance remote collaboration. But as higher education continues to move more services and apps to the cloud, being cost-effective and making sure everything runs without a hitch will be crucial.
A managed services provider can help institutions take stock of their current solutions, tools and platforms and understand how they can be best combined or utilized to make the most of these investments. For example, the right kind of partner can provide optimization across the board for academic IT teams—from desktop technology to on-site data centers and cloud services.
From web hosting to IT support desk, data mobilization, cloud migration or even disaster recovery, managed services can help colleges and universities bear the load of cumbersome and complex tasks associated with increased digital operations. In doing so, an external partner can help academic IT teams develop new workflow efficiencies and take administrative tasks off their plate (such as always-on IT service desk help)—so they can focus their energy on more strategic IT initiatives.
Cost-savings now, digital success in the long run
While adding a managed services partner may require an initial investment, it’s a cost-trimming measure for the long in the run. Consider the process of renovating a home. Instead of scrapping everything and starting from its foundation, a managed services provider can help make the most of the existing infrastructure and work to modernize the rest in a cost-effective and lasting manner.
As higher education looks to best position itself amid continued uncertainty over the next couple of months, it’s clear that digital operations will play a huge role in what’s to come. Even when students do in fact return to in-person classes full-time. Academic IT departments that add a managed services partner can help themselves make smarter bets and reduce costs, while setting themselves up to provide leading digital learning services in the years to come.
To learn more about how Netrix can support digital transformation and remote IT operations for higher education, please contact us