Maximizing your IT Purchasing Power and Long-Range Planning
Technology and infrastructure for school districts across the country continues to advance, evolve, and become more complex. Today’s modern classroom includes everything from phone and bell systems to cutting edge equipment for e-sports programs, and everything in between. With limited IT budgets, it is a significant challenge to secure the funding for the full spectrum of products, solutions, and services needed to achieve the educational and district goals. Strategic thinking is required.
Before getting started, make sure you’ve explored all the various buckets of funding that may be available to you. For example, your IT department may qualify for a tech levy, general fund money, grants, e-rate programs, and/or financing/leasing programs. Once you’ve identified all your sources and know the budget you are working with, you can begin strategizing on how to make the most of your purchasing power.
Some of the keyways to do this include:
- Spreading the cost of the asset over the useful life.
- Accelerating deployment by using leasing or financing.
- Using larger projects for hardware and software as leverage to negotiate better pricing.
- Locking in costs and additional discounts by agreeing to multi-year software commitments.
When it comes to using leasing and financing, Matt Jurick, Insight Financial Services customer and Director of Technology, Arlington Public Schools shares this practical advice: “It’s important to find a partner that understands the school district landscape and understands how school finances work. That’s been the biggest thing for me. Knowing that our financial partner has experience working in education, they understand the types of budget issues we go through and the kinds of funding opportunities that are available to us. They really work with us to help maximize all of our opportunities that are obtainable. It is important when looking at this, that you pick a strategic partner that understands education, because it is unique in the funding requirements.”
Once districts have learned the cornerstones of maximizing their IT budgets, they can engage in long term planning for even greater results in the future. Strategies for effective IT planning often include:
- Working backwards using the available funds and the projects you need to accomplish a predictable budget.
- Keeping digital equity in mind.
- Being competitive – providing the tools your teachers and students need to be successful and make your district desirable to the community.
- Communicating with the cabinet and the board about all of the immediate needs and ongoing support requirements.
- Working with a partner that will help you create models and ideas for funding.
- Eliminating large spending spikes and spreading costs over time.
Expanding on his past experience gaining internal support for a leasing program, Jurick explains, “Leasing allows school districts to do some amazing things. For example, the same amount of money budgeted for yearly improvements, upgrades, and new purchases, when structured in a lease agreement can be applied to the whole district at the same time, rather than just one school at a time.”
IFS offers a variety of lease programs designed to meet the unique technology needs of school districts and educational institutions across the country. These programs help education customers to sustain their IT environments, establish modern refresh cycles, reduce total cost of ownership, track and manage their assets. To learn how IFS can help you maximize your IT budget and create a strategic long-term plan. contact us today.
Insight Financial Services (IFS), a division of Insight Investments, LLC, delivers customized leasing solutions for the acquisition of technology, equipment, and associated services. Corporate enterprises, education institutions, and government agencies benefit from IFS’ fully transparent IT refresh and lease solutions. Value Added Resellers (VARs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and Managed Services Providers (MSPs) leverage IFS for customized vendor programs that help their customers acquire more of their solutions. With a national managed portfolio exceeding $1.4 billion, IFS prides itself in a hands-on, collaborative approach to leasing. Its Asset Management Online System (AMOS) provides clients with anywhere, anytime asset and lease management.