As summer rolls into an uncertain fall semester, college and university leaders around the United States will continue to face tough decisions around how to create quality learning experiences. But whether or not students and faculty return to campuses in the next few months, investment in digital infrastructure, remote-ready platforms or tools and online learning resources will be crucial to the successful future of higher education. Enlisting managed services and IT support partners can help.
Higher education institutions use learning management systems that resemble ERPs in the business world. Across the board, from learning management system administration to web hosting to online data storing, college and university IT teams have their hands full today.
Faculty use learning management systems to upload files, syllabi, coursework and end-of-term grades—the latter often under tight deadlines. Students rely on specific college- or university-hosted web resources to access live streamed or taped lectures, upload papers and deliver presentations that involve screen-sharing with people scattered, in some cases, around the world. Administrators maintain digital archives and databases that guide how faculty operations, education resources and student services run.
Bringing in a managed services provider enables college and university IT teams to focus on important tasks, like keeping learning management systems running securely, efficiently and around the clock. It’s important for academic decision-makers to determine whether a prospective partner understands the IT demands of the higher education industry. Doing so can also ensure the integrity of higher education IT networks, platforms and tools used to deliver digital services across the organization.
In our recent work with higher education clients, we noticed a nearly 40% increase in the number of IT service requests coming in during April as faculty, staff and students move to remote setups. As we roll through May, requests have leveled off, but the clear value of 24/7 IT support remains. While some colleges and universities can deliver around-the-clock IT administration and service in-house, outsourcing service desk operations can boost an institution’s ability to manage IT operations, bandwidth and infrastructure.
When searching for IT support partners, colleges and universities should consider firms that can help educators, administrators and students thrive in digital environments. Partners should be able to scale IT support with institution IT operations throughout the academic year and adjust to fluctuations in volume depending on student breaks and semester timelines. Specifically, external partners should be well-versed in always-on IT service desks with direct lines to front-line experts, swift IT service response and issue resolution, new platform or tool deployment, and implementation and remote or BYOD security guidance.
No matter what the future holds, colleges and universities need strong IT service teams with expertise in the very platforms, tools and networks they use to keep operations running smoothly.