Schools Can Use Asset-Tracking Technology To Save Money and Reduce Risk

According to tech expert Adam Stone, consolidated asset management via asset-tracking technology can give schools better control over essential inventory.

Graphic showing computers, laptops and cell phones.Public schools use various technological devices for teaching, learning, and operational support, including devices like laptops and tablets taken home by students and school staff. Tech expert and reporter Adam Stone recently wrote about new asset-tracking technology to help schools keep track and reduce the risk associated with such devices. Stone writes, “School districts have a financial obligation to account for IT resources, and they must know where devices are in order to effectively deliver IT support services.”

Stone says that school and IT leaders increasingly turn to “modern IT asset management platforms” to better handle their hardware and software resources. Asset management has been described as “the management of all IT assets, including computing, networking and related equipment, as well as software licenses, entitlements and subscriptions.”

According to Stone, there are several reasons to consider using asset management platforms:

  • Increased accountability: Stone writes, “First and foremost, there’s accountability.” He quotes Moore Public Schools in Oklahoma by saying, “We’re a public entity, and we’re fiscally accountable to our patrons, so we must make sure that the funds that we receive are used appropriately.”
  • Practical IT help: Stone also says that effective tracking makes IT more responsive, citing Chesterfield County Schools in Virginia. “In order to service something or answer a help ticket, it’s helpful for our technicians to know where that item is located and which exact item they need to look at.”
  • Improved cybersecurity: Stone argues that “strong tracking and auditing capabilities support robust cybersecurity and more responsible management overall.” “If you don’t know what you have, you can’t defend it,” says Amy McLaughlin, cybersecurity program director at the Consortium for School Networking. “You don’t know if it’s gone missing. You don’t know how to fix it when it breaks, and that extends from the hardware into the software. If you don’t know what software services you’re running, who your vendors are, where the software is installed, you can’t patch and protect. You can’t deal with issues as they come up.”
  • Financial savings: Stone notes that modernizing a school’s asset management system also saves money. With modernized tools to manage software assets, 11 percent of respondents in Flexera’s 2023 State of ITAM Report “realized more than $25 million, and 39 percent realized between $1 million and $10 million in savings and cost avoidance.” This is accomplished by fewer losses of misplaced IT assets and devices and by eliminating redundant or underused software.

Here’s one example of a school district using such technology:

  • Chesterfield County Schools, Virginia: Chesterfield uses Incident IQ, a service management platform that combines asset tracking and trouble-ticket management. Incident IQ also has an app to help with these processes. According to the school district, in Incident IQ, “users and assets are linked in the system, so if I’m a teacher in my classroom, I’ll be able to see my computer and my projector. And I can click on one or all of those items and submit a ticket for a problem that I’m having.”

Read Adam Stone’s full report.