Jan 19 2016

How Managed Tablet Subscriptions Can Stretch IT Dollars

Managed tablet subscriptions can help IT leaders meet mobility requirements without overspending.

Mobility is transforming the way students learn.

Early concerns about K–12 students bringing mobile devices to school have given way to a national movement that views mobile devices as a cornerstone of educational achievement. A Grunwald Associates Report found that more than half of parents surveyed believe that schools should make greater use of mobile devices in education.

The report also found that 85 percent of parents think mobile devices and apps make learning fun, and most parents said these technologies can help students in areas such as problem-solving, math, reading, science and foreign languages. Improving student success through mobility demands a one-to-one model, where each student has a mobile device. Increasingly, school districts are providing devices to students to ensure an equal learning experience, with many choosing tablets.

While school-funded tablet programs cut down on device variables, K–12 IT departments still face many mobility management challenges. They must determine how they’ll procure tablets, what apps to deploy and how they’ll secure and support a mobile ecosystem. Because these IT departments are usually understaffed, these challenges are magnified.

Here’s where a managed tablet subscription can help. By deploying a subscription that bundles tablets, enterprise mobility management (EMM) software and help desk services, IT leaders can meet mobility mandates without shouldering the management burden. Tablet bundles designed for K–12 enable IT staff to meet the mobility needs of students, administrators and teachers.

Reaping the Financial Benefits

Managed tablet subscriptions offer school districts, whose IT budgets are limited, a way to create sustainable mobility programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan advocates the use of mobile devices to create “learning experiences that are available anytime and anywhere,” but sustainability remains a stumbling block. In many cases, the means for raising funds for such programs, as well as procurement and support efforts, aren’t reliable. Raising money through bond measures, for example, isn’t a sustainable way to fund one-to-one mobility programs, or even to maintain device pools for student use.

Managed tablet subscriptions offer a way to sustain tablet programs because districts can treat them as a predictable operational expense (OPEX), rather than a capital expense (CAPEX). A district’s mobility program becomes a line item on its annual budget, meaning administrators don’t have to continually request capital funding. Further, a managed subscription option can deliver the key technologies and support services in a single lower-cost offering. With a subscription bundle, OPEX benefits extend to EMM software, which covers mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM) and mobile content management (MCM) — as well as help desk services. Meanwhile, the predictability that comes with operational expenditures helps IT staff work consistently within an annual budget.

A K–12 tablet program is a multifaceted operation, with multiple moving parts that affect the total cost of ownership (TCO). It starts with the cost of devices, and extends to EMM, mobile applications, carrier plans, device disposal and support. By offloading the management and support of a tablet fleet, K–12 IT departments can reduce TCO from the outset. Further, a managed tablet subscription leverages the service provider’s economies of scale; a single acquisition point; consolidated billing for hardware, software and voice/data plans; and a single point of contact for support delivered by mobility specialists. All of this drives down TCO.

To learn more about the benefits for schools, read the white paper “Graduating to a Managed Tablet Subscription.”


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