The shift to digital learning has been accelerated and remote working has become the new norm. Last month, we saw Europe’s largest bank – HSBC – announce a shift towards a ‘hybrid model’ of working post-COVID to reduce office space by 40%, and with many following suit, a return to the ‘old normal’ seems unlikely. Increased need for ICT devices has put pressure on hardware supply chains and left huge technology shortages for institutions.
Recent research suggest that at the beginning of lockdown, just 5% of teachers in state schools reported that all their students have access to an appropriate device for remote learning. With educators facing a laptop drought, and many relying on donated equipment, what can ICT budget holders do to utilise existing resources cost-effectively and sustainably?
We’ve put together six suggestions to help you maximise your ICT budget:
Audit what you have, and list what you need
By auditing your existing ICT resources, you can create an accurate picture of under/overused devices. Ask the lead equipment owner what they are using the device for and if it meets their needs. For a laptop, this could be the classroom teacher, or for a computer lab, this could be a technician. Once you’ve completed your audit you can address any technical issues with overused resources to see if component upgrades could fix them. Any donated equipment should be audited too.
Upgrade rather than buying new
Issues arising from overused equipment like slow loading times and software freezing might be resolved with component level upgrades. For example, changing from a HDD to an SSD can significantly improve speed and responsiveness, enhancing everything from boot times to read/write speeds for computers. With some studies suggesting people in Britain spend a whole day every year waiting for an old computer to boot up, increasing computer performance through component level upgrading can save both time and money.
By upgrading equipment and prolonging the life of devices, you are also saving the use of critical raw materials and conflict minerals used in the production of new devices. In short, upgrading can save you money and time, as well as the planet.
Utilise hardware trade-in and recycling schemes
Hardware trade-in schemes can be a great way to receive discounts, credit with suppliers and is a more sustainable way to dispose of ICT equipment. It’s estimated that e-waste comprises 70% of our overall toxic waste globally and only 12.5% of this e-waste is recycled.
Explore buying direct options
Forging a more personal relationship with your ICT vendors can bring both cost and operational benefits. Beyond receiving educational discounts and offers, closer relationships with trusted suppliers can help you if you encounter any issues with your hardware. Try to choose vendors that offer good warranties and fast replacements.
Buy devices you can fix and upgrade
If you do need to buy new devices, try to future-proof your purchases by buying options that can be upgraded. Tablets might seem like a cost-effective option at the time but having the flexibility to upgrade hardware components gives you more scope to prolong the life of equipment.
Demystify tech with training
For many, the thought of changing an SSD or stick of memory might be a daunting task reserved only for the ICT specialists, but understanding these tech basics can improve the lifespan of your equipment, helping users identify issues and solutions earlier on. If you understand how it works, you can understand how to fix it.
The Ortial Educational Partnership Programme
The Ortial Educational Partnership program has been designed to help schools, colleges and universities maximise their IT budgets, sustainably refresh equipment and support tech learning goals
Educational discounts and offers
You’ll receive special pricing and deal registration for your institutions so you can maximise your IT budget.
A dedicated account manager
Ortial has a strong network of educational distributors and ICT resellers. We’ll work with you to find the right account manager for your institution. Someone who understands your institution and your needs, helping you manage IT upgrades, advise on equipment refreshes and let you know about offers and promotions that best suit you.
Trade-in scheme to help maximise your budget
Our Ortial trade-in scheme gives you discounts and money off your next orders in exchange for your old hardware. Learn more about the Orital Trade-In scheme and how it works.
Access to Ortial Education
Registering as an Ortial Education partner gives you access to a range of educational resources to help your institution. Our Educational Outreach team has put together explainer videos, topical videos for your classroom and learning resources to help demystify tech for your students. We also offer school visits and workshops, where students can get hands-on learning experiences.
Want to learn more?
We recently shared tips and advice on maximising your school, college and university IT budgets in our webinar, presented by Education Technolgy, University Business, Independent Education Today and Ortial:
How to deliver better learning with less resource
Why tech-savvy hardware refresh is the key to bridging the budget gap
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