The education industry has been undergoing serious change in its use of IT and the networks that underpin it.
New technology has emerged, staff and pupil behavior has changed, and as a result, IT professionals are too often left with a different playing field at a time when budgets are under downward pressure.
To make better sense of these changes and trends, we are researching the experience of IT professionals up and down the country. The report will be available in early 2016 (Update: the 2018 survey is now open—to have your say, scroll down), and freely available to those who complete the survey.
When completed in the New Year it will offer a comprehensive overview of how the industry is evolving, and how education providers across the country are shifting the way they approach networking to meet the ever increasing demands from students and senior management alike.
While the report dives deep into a number of different focus areas, we wanted to highlight a few trends that really stuck out at this early stage:
3 early trends from the State of Networking in Education Report 2016
1. 75% of respondents' IT budgets have either decreased or remained the same over the last three years.
The considerable downward pressure on IT budgets in the education sector has been anecdotally mentioned for a few years, and our results back this up.
Only 25% of respondents indicated their budget has witnessed any increase over the course of the last three years.
Government ring-fencing of IT budgets in schools in particular ended some time ago, with the inevitable affect on budgets now being felt by the vast majority of respondents.
2. 40% of respondents have not significantly upgraded their network in the last five years.
It goes without saying this statistic is influenced by public sector austerity and budgetary restrictions.
With less money in the system education providers are extending their refresh cycles and holding on to ageing equipment for longer, leading to the rise of several IT problems and challenges recurring across the education sector.
3. Majority feel their knowledge is being diluted by the expanding list of IT systems.
With IT budgets forever being squeezed and IT departments needing to cope with an ever-expanding list of systems, the majority of IT professionals are reporting an inevitable stretch, and subsequent dilution of knowledge.
The more technologies an IT professional has to learn, inevitably the more their expertise in particular areas dwindles. The full report will contain even more insights about today's networking in education landscape.
Update: Have your say for 2018
Is your school struggling with IT integration? Have you found the right balance between hardware and network readiness? Put your hand up for the 2018 report and have your say.
The survey collects responses from top educational providers across the UK, resulting in a full report.
Take 10 minutes to contribute your opinion to the report, scheduled for release in early 2018, and gain insights into the challenges faced by education organisations throughout the UK, as reported by the organisations themselves. Use these insights to inform key IT decisions for 2018, improving the state of IT for your education organisation and the pupils it benefits.