Feb 28 2024

How Short-Staffed K–12 Teams Can Benefit from Device Management Services

From asset management to disposition, expert collaboration can reduce chaos for schools of all sizes.

When K–12 districts need to extend financial and staffing resources, they should consider third-party services, particularly for device management. Some districts may assume that the upfront costs will break their budgets, but, if used strategically, these services often pay for themselves. One of the most compelling arguments for outsourcing device management is the efficiency gains, which then allow school IT staff to focus on strategic needs.

Regardless of size or location, many schools share similar challenges: IT teams are lean while endpoints are increasing. Schools need help managing devices while staying on top of critical infrastructure management, cybersecurity and classroom technology support. Depending on whether a district is large or small, urban or rural, or private or charter, the device ecosystem may vary considerably. Outsourced IT services are flexible enough to meet the needs of each. 

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External Partners can Tailor Solutions to Meet Schools’ Diverse Needs

At large districts with thousands of devices, asset management quickly becomes a burden. Service partners can help with device management, configuration, break/fix and disposition so that internal teams can focus on strategic initiatives. Other large schools take the route of using partners to upgrade and maintain the networks and other infrastructure that support one-to-one programs.

RELATED: K–12 schools are saving money with asset-tracking technology.

While small districts can also benefit from device management and maintenance support, they often use service partners to fill skills gaps or gain a fresh perspective on IT strategy. Small private or independent schools can also benefit from these services. They often struggle with attracting and retaining tech leaders, as their salaries are not often as competitive as those at bigger schools, and their IT teams may be tiny or nonexistent.

Unlike small-school IT administrators, who often wear multiple hats, service providers can focus exclusively on IT support. They are well-versed in best practices and can help smaller schools evaluate options to ensure that they get the best ROI from IT investments.

Devices TOC


Suburban districts may share some of the challenges of both large and small districts. Many have seen exponential growth in endpoints, as students may use two or three devices. At that volume, a district must evaluate the entire device management lifecycle to prioritize needs and goals. A service partner can present various options and help IT and district leaders chart the best course forward.

WATCH: Strategic partnerships help overcome small budgets and staffs.

Device Services Help to Ease K–12 Tech Staffing Constraints

The shortage of experienced IT staff remains one of the most significant challenges facing K–12. Many districts continue to have limited IT resources in critical areas, from cybersecurity to classroom support. Inevitably, these shortages create less-than-ideal conditions, including difficulty in achieving optimal educational outcomes, burnout among IT staff and compromised protection against cyberattacks.

According to CoSN, in 2023, 50 percent of districts were understaffed in classroom technology integration, and another 54 percent needed more staff to support students and families remotely.

Core IT functions fare better. However, approximately one-quarter of districts lacked adequate staff for fundamental tasks such as maintaining applications and network systems and meeting IT departments’ annual objectives. Such situations typically result in IT staffers taking on more responsibilities in disparate areas, regardless of their capacity or expertise.

63% The percentage of K–12 school districts in which technology accounts for less than 5 percent of their total budget


Device programs in particular put pressure on networking operations, which is another area where partners can be of service. Often, partners help IT departments build trust by helping them to resolve issues quickly and address needs proactively. That’s especially important for large districts, where downtime could disrupt learning for thousands of students.

DISCOVER: Outsource these six areas of your K–12 Wi-Fi 6 upgrade.

Outsourcing Comes with Long-Term Savings for School Tech Budgets

District leaders may be inclined to keep IT services in-house to save money, but outsourcing certain functions can generate efficiencies that yield long-term savings. For instance, outsourcing device configuration tasks at a large district allows high-skilled IT employees to focus on complex or strategic activities that can truly have an impact.

Ultimately, every district has a unique set of challenges. A rural school may find it difficult to retain the necessary skill sets, while a city district may have a strong team spread thin across a large geographical area. The right service partner will help a district assess its objectives, determine where support will be most meaningful and create a strategy to maximize the investment.

This article is part of the ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

Getty Images: Ines Fraile, Photo_Concepts, XiXinXing, Selimaksan, Andrey Zhuravlev, 12963734

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