Knowledge Transfer is a familiar concept to those that work in IT at academic institutions. It is essential.
Your budget is constrained, yet your needs continue to grow. The amount of data not only being compiled but being leveraged for decision-making is growing exponentially, and you are required to secure it and scale your infrastructure to house it. You need to ensure your environments are fortresses of security policy, all while maintaining a healthy user experience. Your team is small and every member wears enough hats to field a baseball team.
I imagine this story is familiar to most, and at ScholarBuys we are working with schools in this position every day. Although it can certainly apply everywhere, I want to share two areas in particular where Knowledge Transfer can make a significant impact on your team’s success.
Finding a Services Partner
Let’s face it… sometimes we all need a little help. Whether the task is too immense or you simply don’t have the time. But what about when the project is outside of your team’s expertise? What if it requires new technology that takes a less traditional approach to a common task or scenario?
This is where Knowledge Transfer is truly valuable. In my experience, the most common window in which professional services partners are involved on a project is during implementation. This is a critical point in time, and you should always try to find a partner that will not only get the job done but explain every step along the way. Doing so will help you make the most of your investment and ensure that your team will be able to optimally maintain the service for the campus.
ScholarBuys has worked very hard to help identify professional services partners that have demonstrated their effectiveness in providing Knowledge Transfer as part of the engagement. We also make sure that these partners have a wealth of experience working specifically with academic institutions so that they understand what are often very unique needs. We can help align partners for nearly all of your deployment and infrastructure needs. To name a few:
- Azure/AWS services (IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, DRaaS, etc.)
- Endpoint Security / Network Security
- Federated Identity
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
- Virtual Application Delivery / Application Streaming
- Mobility Solutions
A great example would be some of the Azure engagements we have helped our customers coordinate with SyCom. A popular initial use case for Azure is DRaaS and Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery tools. SyCom remotely assists institutions with configuring an Azure tenant from scratch, assessing which servers on-premises are prime targets for the solution, setting up necessary networking between Azure and the institution’s data center, and maps out a disaster recovery solution with the redundancy of
Azure Backups and the seamless migration of data from Azure Site Recovery. Your IT administrators learn each step along the way so that you can replicate the process as needed in the future as your needs grow. SyCom also assists with project scoping and cost budgeting. Not only will they provide you detailed cost analysis, but you will be able to navigate the billing side of Azure and understand how to leverage the reporting tools built into the platform.
At the end of the engagement, your project is complete and your team has acquired the necessary skills to keep the ship afloat through any turbulence that might find you.
Finding Solutions that Include Implementation Services
Many manufacturers have developed teams as part of their workforce that will help with solution implementation after purchase. This makes sense, as it is in their best interest to make sure that their product is correctly installed and configured so that you want to maintain it for years to come. Understanding where help exists can and should be a determining factor when comparing similar, competing solutions.
Some manufacturers will provide assistance at no cost when you move forward with their technology. We see this most often when a company designs new software and wants existing customers to adopt it. Let’s take Microsoft for example. With the transition to their new license model for education – Microsoft 365 – they now include the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite in the standard offering that is replacing the FTE-based Desktop Bundle. To assist schools with the transition, they provided a remote team of resources to assist with the initial deployment strategy and conceptualization called the FastTrack Team.
Other manufacturers will provide (and sometimes require) professional implementation services as part of the cost of their solution. In my opinion, this should not deter you from a solution but should instead be viewed as a positive. Although it does add to the overall cost, it significantly increases the success rate of your project. Technology is getting more complicated by the day, and having a team come in and help you build out a solution and also teach your team how to best maintain it can make all the difference.
Cylance is a great example. They are a Next-Generation Endpoint Security company and their solution leverages machine learning and AI as opposed to a more traditional, signature-based approach. For new customers, Cylance includes their ThreatZero services in the offering along with the software licensing. The ThreatZero consulting service includes:
- Complete install and configuration of Cylance’s technology, including the removal of your legacy solution
- Identify and remediate PUPs and Malware
- White/blacklisting, and fine-tuning the app
- Internal resource training – Cylance trains your staff on how to optimize the solution and to respond with best practices so that you are equipped to effectively manage the environment over time and as it scales.
- Quarterly Health Checks – Health Checks are provided in which Cylance goes into your console to fine-tune applications, check settings, and help with ongoing staff training as needed
This is invaluable when moving forward with a new product/service, and even when there is a cost associated to it there is an immediate return on investment.
In conclusion, you should always be in search of partners and manufacturers that include Knowledge Transfer in the equation. ScholarBuys can help you navigate your options and ensure that you are making decisions based on what the best path forward would be for your institution with a future-facing focus and approach. Don’t just pick the bottom dollar option by default. Let us help you explore your options and find a team that will add more value to your purchase.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!