By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
What should IT Pros look for when investing in IT support software for education? Let's explore the basic features every school district needs to get the most out of their IT helpdesk software solution.
Not All IT Support Software Is Created Equal
Every organization on the planet can benefit from IT support software. As technology grows in complexity and we become more reliant on these tools to support our work, it’s becoming increasingly important to invest in help desk products that connect IT with the rest of the workforce. And schools are no exception. In fact, over the past two years, schools have become more dependent on tech (and the professionals who support it) than ever before.
But not all IT support products are made equal. For example, the best solution for a massive Fortune 500 company may not be the best software for your school district. That’s because schools have a highly unique set of needs.
Of course, comparing software products is a tedious and time-consuming process. And even with plenty of resources at your disposal, it’s not always easy to identify which solution will best meet your school’s demands.
To help, we’re exploring the basic features school districts require from their IT support software.
Why Do You Need IT Helpdesk Support Software In Your School District?
IT support software is a solution that helps IT teams manage an organization’s digital environment. For schools, this means ensuring all software is operating as expected, tracking hardware (like laptops, tablets, and keyboards), reducing privacy and cybersecurity issues, and supporting a variety of learning environments. It incorporates a helpdesk so faculty and other staff members can quickly get assistance if they run into a problem, asset tracking so schools can manage their tech inventory, and other features to help district IT pros work efficiently and effectively.
In short, IT support facilitates IT teams in solving users’ problems so they can make the best impact on students and do their jobs well. It can also help you save time, money, and other precious resources — which is something every school district can appreciate.
There are many different types of support tools, and each software offers a variety of features. It’s crucial you pay close attention to those offerings when comparing your options.
What Are The Features To Look For When Choosing IT Support Software For A School District?
1- Excellent Customer Support:
You can have the best and most powerful IT helpdesk software in the world, but if the customer experience is sub-par, then you’ll be limited in your capabilities. As you compare your options, check out customer reviews on third-party sites like G2 and Capterra and look for hints about how the provider handles customer questions and concerns. Ask the provider about their process and how long it typically takes them to get back to someone when they encounter a challenge. Also, ask about customer support hours and how the provider can be reached (such as live chat, social media, email, or phone).
2- User-Friendly Design:
The software you choose should be intuitive and easy for anyone to use, regardless of their tech-savviness. While there’s always a learning curve associated with new software, it should never be challenging for someone to submit a ticket. Look for products that have a clean and simple interface. It’s also a bonus if the product is mobile-friendly so faculty, staff, and IT support professionals can access everything on the go.
3- Focus On Cybersecurity:
Cybercrime is an ever-growing issue, and school systems are being targeted at higher rates than ever before. Without the proper protections in place, a ransomware attack or data leak could cost your district dearly.
But antivirus software and firewalls aren’t always enough. To mitigate your risk, you need IT support software that can foster communication between your IT team and your faculty and staff. The faster they can report suspicious activity, and the more empowered IT pros are to solve issues, the better you’ll be able to react should you become the victim of a hack.
4- Easy Scalability:
Always pay attention to how easy (or challenging) it is to add new users. After all, as your district grows, so will your reliance on IT support. Take time to research the process for adding new technicians or increasing your support volume. Consider the cost for each additional agent and, if you rely on outside contractors, how easy it is to assign tickets to those third-party professionals.
5- Supportive Of Hybrid & Remote Environments:
As we’ve experienced during the pandemic, everything can change in a flash. Schools have worked hard to adapt to those extreme changes, spinning up distance learning environments practically overnight. While many schools have fully reopened, having remote and hybrid learning capabilities have changed the educational landscape. Whether or not you’re currently relying on those types of environments, it’s always good to know the software you choose can support your evolving needs.
6- Accessible Reporting:
You can’t improve what you don’t track. Reporting and analytics are essential components of IT support software because they help IT leaders identify their areas of opportunity and better allocate their resources. A worthy product will allow you to keep an eye on the metrics that matter most — like how quickly you’re responding to and closing out tickets or where the majority of your tickets are coming from.
7- High-Quality Asset Management:
Lending expensive technology to students can give IT leaders heart palpitations. But when you have access to useful asset management, you can keep track of all of your hardware — including those items inside and outside the building. This not only helps you know where to find things but also ensures you better anticipate costs because you’ll know when something is approaching the end of its lifecycle. And with features like SherpaDesk’s seamless barcode scanning, you can deploy assets and audit entire classrooms in seconds.
Select The IT Helpdesk Solution That's Right For Your School District
When you’re comparing IT support software for school districts, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by bells and whistles and end up paying for a bunch of features you may never use. Instead, begin your search armed with a list of non-negotiable features and seek out products designed to make your life easier.