We are always on the lookout for ways to help schools stay up to date with the IT trends of today. Most schools think the only way to do this is to pay a massive fee upfront. Not only is this too big of an expense for schools, but it also increases the workload of the IT Manager.
What if there was a turnkey network solution with Broadband, Wi-Fi, Security, VoIP and Pro-active Support, based on an opex (operating expense) cost model? Wouldn’t this relieve pressure on schools to focus on their core business, which is educating learners?
We sat down with Dylan Horsten of MySky Networks who explained how IT as a Service is changing the way schools provide a great network experience for both students and staff.
Q1: What is IT as a Service?
A: IT as a Service is when the service provider leases the equipment and provides the service for a monthly fee to the school. This service is best for schools who don’t want to own the equipment but simply want to pay a monthly fee for a team of IT professionals to proactively manage and monitor your network.
Q2: In your opinion, are schools up to date with secure and stable Wi-Fi?
A: The simple answer is “no”. However, you obviously can’t generalise as some schools have made the change and have reaped the rewards. But many schools in South Africa don’t have proper Wi-Fi or Security Solutions to cater for the demanding needs of the latest technology and learning techniques used by teachers and students.
More and more devices are being added to a school’s network via Wi-Fi and the network needs to be ready for this. Having an enterprise-grade network which includes Broadband, Wi-Fi, VoIP and Security is crucial to providing a superior learning experience for students. It is also crucial to ensure the network is safe and secure.
Q3: What are the benefits of IT as a Service for schools?
A: The main benefits of schools using IT as a service include:
- IT as a Service allows the school to set the cost as opex (operating expense) instead of as capex (capital expense). This allows schools to budget accordingly and not have to fork out a lump sum in the beginning.
- The network is pro-actively monitored, meaning the school will be alerted of any issues as soon as they happen. This also helps the school focus on their core function rather than spending time monitoring the network or fixing problems.
- A detailed SLA (Service Level Agreement) is included in the solution, ensuring any issues or faulty equipment is resolved or swopped out within the SLA timeline.
- There is no need for highly skilled IT personnel on-site. Support is included in the monthly fee – including firewall changes, Switch changes and other changes that require a skilled IT engineer.
- There are no call-out fees for any issues, and all upgrades, patches and reporting are also included in the monthly fee.
- Schools are never left with old IT equipment, if a new contract is signed after the initial contract ends then all hardware is refreshed and upgraded. If a school would like to keep the existing older equipment, then a revised monthly rate is negotiated, and the service continues as normal.
Q4: What services do you, as MySky Networks, offer schools?
MySky Networks offer the following services to schools:
- Wi-Fi as a Service
- Security as a Service
- Voice as a Service
- Analytics as a Service
- SD-WAN as a Service / Broadband as a Service
Q5: How do you manage the relationship with your schools?
MySky Networks truly values our relationships with schools, the first thing we do is assign a dedicated account manager to the school to manage the account. We then add the school to our support process for any pro-active alerts and request. An on-site contact is used for contact between the school and MySky Networks to streamline the support process.
Monitoring Access to our support and reporting platforms are provided to allow the school to have visibility into what is going on in their network.
Q6: What schools do you service and what do you do for them?
MySky Networks currently service the following schools and provide the following services to them:
- Dinwiddie Primary School – Fully Managed Service – including Wi-Fi, Switching, Security, and Broadband
- ADvTECH – 17 Schools, 6 Tertiary Institutes – Design and configuration of the switched and Wi-Fi network
- ADET (African Digital Education Trust) – Fully Managed Service – including Wi-Fi, Switching, Security and Broadband
- Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy at St Stithians College – Mobile WiFi and Security solution that is used for remote teaching.
- Precious Poppets Preschool – Fully Managed Service – including Wi-Fi, Switching, Security, and Broadband
- University of Pretoria – Managed Service Level Agreement for onsite WiFi support
- Laerskool Fairlands – WiFi services
- Dominican Convent – WiFi Services
- Incubation Hub – Fully Managed Service – including Wi-Fi, Switching and Security for educational outreach programs.
SchoolAdvisor sees the value in IT as a Service for schools as an option. We love how it can not only provide a cost-effective solution but also gives schools more time to do what they do best – their job!
If you are interested in the IT as a Service model which MySky Networks provides, leave your details below. We’ll ask a member of the MySky Networks’ team to contact you so that you can explain to them what solution your school is looking for and find out how they can help. A free onsite evaluation will be provided to assist in scoping the best solution.