Article

Stretching your school’s technology budget

Technology doesn’t come cheap and paying for it is a challenge all schools face. One option is to lease. This lets you not only spread the costs but also enjoy other benefits, as Ross Fodie of Advaro explains.

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There’s more to ICT that just technology; it’s more about the ways in which information and technology are used to deliver the curriculum and enhance the learning experience for students. This has made ICT planning and budgeting a hot topic for educators to grapple with and to develop a strategy for, which considers all the individual factors that might impact on a school’s decision making criteria.

The rapidly changing technology environment and the overwhelming options available can make it difficult for schools to work out what options might suit them and the needs of their students best. In recent times, there’s been a major shift from networked situations, where desktops have been the mainstay, to wireless environments, where portable devices now reign.

Investment in technology is a cost that has been traditionally borne by schools. More recently, the market shift toward portable devices has seen the BYOD trend move some of the cost burden to parents. Either way, who and how the technology is funded needs to be considered carefully to ensure that students have equal opportunities to access technology.

Spreading the cost

Leasing technology can present a tool for schools to make their annual budget stretch further by providing the opportunity to spread the acquisition cost over a specified term. It may also provide schools an option for parents who may struggle with being able to afford to purchase, what can be expensive, technology items. The benefits to a school in leasing technology can be:

  • Reducing the drain on the annual budget allocation – technology acquisition costs can be spread over more than one budgetary period (typically three years). This also means that schools can acquire more equipment at once, rather than a piece-meal approach to purchasing that invariably leads to mismatched technology.
  • Better purchasing power – being able to structure a bulk deal based on a school’s or (where possible) the lease provider’s buying power.
  • Standardisation of technology – this can be achieved by purchasing in bulk and helps to minimise incompatibility issues.
  • Bundled packages – a lease provider may be able to provide a package that includes equipment, peripheral items, extended warranties, and insurance options.
  • Technical support – can often be provided and coordinated by a lease provider.
  • No equipment disposal hassles – a lease provider should not only manage the acquisition process but also what happens at the end of the term, making the process easy for schools with options for replacement equipment or extending the term on existing equipment.

Long term direction

Developing an ICT strategy is really about determining what long term direction your school should take with technology choices and acquisition. Leasing can be a natural fit with a longer term approach as lease options are normally always for a longer term than 12 months – and most often up to 36 months. With all the benefits of dealing with a credible lease provider, a school can rest easy and get on with the business of education.  

ROSS FODIE is Advaro’s Business and Market Development Manager.

Advaro Limited (formerly Rent Plus) supports schools with lease solutions for assistance in acquiring their technology requirements. THEY PROVIDE a one-stop-shop, delivering lease solutions, technology expertise and dedicated relationship managers to offer guidance and assist in developing a school’s ICT strategy.

Categories: Article, Issue 63