IT Assessment & Digital Roadmap for a Texas School District
After winning approval from a local school board, Saxony helped a local school district restructure their IT department and develop a future-focused technology plan.
In 2019, a school district in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex reached out to Saxony Partners for help creating a long-term roadmap for their internal IT department.
The district’s Chief Innovation Officer was spearheading the effort, which would incorporate some new digital education initiatives and help the district define how they should manage their current and future technology resources.
As per district rules, the project was bid out to agencies statewide and nationwide. Saxony presented its bid to the district’s board. The board accepted our bid, citing confidence in our approach, our technology expertise, and our experience doing similar projects for other school districts.
Saxony began by assessing the client’s people, processes, and technology. We wanted to know exactly what goals the client wanted to accomplish, so that we could line up their goals with the roadmap.
There had been some recent turnover inside the organization, meaning that the timing was good to realign staff resources. Utilizing best practices for IT alignment, Saxony developed and submitted a plan focused on resource optimization.
With the right people in the right places, the assessment moved to processes. The goal was to create a plan that was scalable over the next three-to-five years, at least.
A big focus of process optimization for the client was vendor contracts. By not keeping up with paperwork and doing other due diligence around payments and reimbursements, the district was at risk of overpaying or missing out on opportunities to cut costs. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic presented a sudden need for remote teaching capabilities and management of devices for personal learning. These trends were already beginning to emerge, but the virus proved to be an accelerator.
Saxony began creating a plan focused on both of these issues. Almost immediately, our team discovered a missed vendor reimbursement payment of almost $200,000.
Finally, Saxony created a plan for leveraging technology to accomplish the district’s goals. As mentioned previously, Covid-19 led to an influx of new 1-to-1 learning devices (hotspots, tablets, etc.), each of which needed strategies for support, maintenance, upgrades, and replacement. There were some on prem capabilities that needed to be moved to the cloud – facilitating remote access, improving efficiency, and saving on physical infrastructure costs.
A NEW LEARNING APP
In the process of engaging with the IT assessment, our team uncovered an opportunity to build a quick web-based application that facilitated a special learning project. The app allowed instructors to create and offer courses beyond those typically offered in the regular curriculum package.
From the app, teachers could list their special classes, third-party partners could offer to host them, and prospective students could sign up. These classes would typically be taught during teacher-in-service days.
The client ended up with a much more efficient, well-structured IT department – which was compliant with IT best practices. Now and for the next several years, the client has a plan for its physical and cloud technology and devices.
By optimizing processes with vendor contracts, Saxony already facilitated the reimbursement of more than $193,000 owed to the district by a third-party. We anticipate further cost savings through the migration of physical technology assets to the cloud.
The district is also well positioned to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with a plan for remote learning and maintenance of 1-to-1 learning devices.
Finally, students and teachers alike benefit from new opportunities to learn and interact through the development of our new mobile app, which allows for special courses to be offered on teacher-in-service days.