Technology Strategy

Having uncontrolled technology in any organisation is a disaster. It’s fine when someone is available to support something exotic, but what happens when they leave? Wo will support it then? We were asked to create a technology strategy for an education authority and had some challenges to the exotics.

The Brief

The authority had a diverse set of technology. It was a mixture of different workstations, operating systems, software, in fact every flavour of everything possible. Support was a nightmare and nothing was really being patched. We were to come up with a strategy to replace, and maintain the technology going forward.


What we needed to know is if there was already a common purchasing policy. There was, but it was a difficult thing to navigate, and took too much time to get anything in. Heads were able to spend money on anything they needed within a budget and local companies were involved in supplying different schools and colleges. It was just easier to circumvent the purchasing department at county level and buy locally. We discovered the networks were provided by county, but local influences had added additional hardware, which most of it wasn’t supported. The senior schools were the worst where students interested in technology had expanded the network to allow more devices such as insecure WiFi and wired clients.


We instigated a series of audits of each location’s technology, documenting the make, manufacturer, type, and ownerships. Without this audit, we would have had no understanding of the size of the problem. As we were told, the older the student, the more the network was interfered with. The county policy prohibited such activity, but there were no controls in place to prevent it. Primary schools were a lot less prone to interfering with their technology than senior and colleges.

As an independent contractor, we were interested in actually encouraging experimentation. While this was encouraged, it was entirely possible to have a policy which empowers students to experiment, but in a controlled manner which didn’t put the corporate systems at risk. We were keen to build this into the strategy.

As we were asked by the county authority to look into the problem, we looked at the purchasing policy and why the process was too difficult to follow. As with many government processes, it was long-winded, complicated, and bloated with signoffs which added no value. We asked for a more senior group to look into the process, which they did. It took a while, but the final process was much smoother and easier to use.

The strategy we created had four sections:

  • Rectify – sort out the current diverse equipment. Where county was able to support something, we could retain it, while everything else was to be replaced.
  • Secure – The network team had to secure the network to prevent unauthorised devices, while leaving it open enough to allow the safe use student-owned WiFi enabled smartphones and tablets.
  • Enable – Heads can now get the technology they need when they need it.
  • Empower – Students can experiment in safe areas and configure devices, expanding the interest in networking and programming.

This strategy enabled schools and colleges to have such diverse technology such as electronic whiteboards, integrated devices, and the power to help students explore technology in a safe environment without risking the corporate systems. It simplified the support and purchasing, and expanded the ability for students to use their own devices safely and securely.


Centralised support

The county provided the equipment and software, and because it knows exactly what it provided and installed it, support is vastly simplified.

Happier heads

Sourcing hardware and software is much simpler, cheaper, and quicker. It released them from the grip of local suppliers.

Budgets simplified

Budgets can be planned as the support costs are now understood, and any future purchasing plans no longer rely on external companies to provide quotes which vary wildly.

Happier students

Students can now explore technology in a way not previously experienced. They have access to new technology, including a ‘borrow and share’ initiative, which has exotic technology in the catalogue.


Heads no longer need to worry about trying to get multiple companies to support different hardware and software. It is all done in one place, saving valuable money and time.

Students are happier experimenting in a safe environment, resulting in a rewarding experience for both the student and the educator.

Students and teachers can bring in their own devices, and be safe in the knowledge it will be granted access to the services they need.