High and Low Values
A high per-client-computer cost in a category is not necessarily bad, and a low per-client computer cost in a category is not necessarily good. A balanced cost structure based on your environment to achieve best overall value is important. A low direct labor cost is not good if your indirect labor costs are high. Overall low costs are not valuable if you have a low usage rate or ineffective computing environment.
We find that due to the complexity of the environment and staffing requirements with generally higher salaries, larger districts have a higher per-client computer cost than smaller districts.
Case Study High/Low Values
High and low values for each output result field from the eight case studies are displayed for comparison purposes. Note that each district may choose to include inputs that others don't and may decide to include some inputs in different categories than others.
However, the case study high/low values serve as a guideline or "red flag" for areas that may warrant further investigation. A low direct labor number accompanied by a high indirect labor number may indicate inadequate support staff, with users attempting to solve their own computer problems. A high printer supplies cost probably indicates a large number of inexpensive ink jet printers using expensive ink.
Direct costs vs. indirect costs gives an indication of the technology and direct labor costs vs. time spent by end users in training and dealing with system issues. A lack of spending on technology and/or direct labor can lead to higher self-support and informal support burden on users. A further breakdown of the direct costs, with case study high/low values, to help determine total and per-client-computer costs. Questions to ask are, "How many client computer and server operating systems am I supporting and integrating into my network?" and "How many of these computers and servers are over 4 years old and how many over 5 years old?"
The number of students per instructional computer, staff per staff computer, computers per printer and computers per server provide ratios that can be compared to the case study districts. Note that server virtualization was not employed by the case study districts at the time of the case studies. A low client computer per printer ratio probably indicates individual or small group printers, most likely ink jet types. A low client computer to server ratio indicates that there may be a number of older single-purpose servers and consolidation or virtualization of these on to a single newer server makes sense.
Asset Cost Metrics
This section breaks the per-client computer costs and total costs into the client computer, server, network, printer and supplies cost components. These costs are compared to the case study high/low values. High supplies cost indicates probable high use of ink jet printers and show that many teachers have their own ink jet printer with school supplied ink cartridges.
Direct Labor Cost Metrics
Professional Development and Training and Content/Curriculum and Support are broken out from the rest of direct labor costs as these are areas often neglected with technology staff shortages. Support costs are compared with the case study high/low values and shown not only on a per-client-computer basis, but also per teacher and per student. Appropriate investment in training is critical to effective use of computing resources. A cost breakdown by percentage of who is providing computer support services compared to the case study values. When reviewing direct labor, all those with responsibility for implementation and support of the computing environment need to be considered and determinations made as to the most effective approach to direct labor.
Direct Labor Staffing Metrics
This results section reviews number and support cost of client computers per direct labor staff, with case study high/low results displayed for comparison. These numbers are broken out by Professional Development and Training and by Content/Curriculum and Support. A cost and FTE % by tech staff, teacher and non-classroom staff (not reporting to the tech dept.) is provided. If your district has teachers assigned to provide a significant percentage of support, you may want to ask, "Why are we paying teachers to provide computer/network support?” Teachers are generally more expensive than support technicians and not trained on fixing user computing issues.