Where will the servers actually be? If a datacentre handling student information is overseas, for example, foreign legislation about information security may come into play.
“Not only is it about whether you’re easy to work with, but is it easy to integrate your services in with those of other service providers?” Bittinger said. “And those issues around integrating the security elements are those that might include the identity management and issues around integrating the end-to-end delivery itself.”
IT providers and their customers struggle with integration and change management. So channel players with strengths and highly-skilled staff in those sorts of complex areas could be onto a hot revenue stream in the not-so-distant future, Bittinger suggested.
Getting deals will either be about the winner being a player with a very clearly defined contract that irons out all the curly bits or the parties will have decided instead to form a more strategic, longterm relationship that changes with the client’s needs, Bittinger predicted.
Contracts must be teased out, followed through in all layers to their natural conclusions, and finally, dealt with coherently.
“If the client can access the tool, can other service providers access the tool? And if they need access to each others’ tools that can be a problem,” Bittinger said. “And if you end the relationship, can the client take away the tool?”
Schools’ IT managers confirmed the educational benefits of smart technological adoption.
At Ballarat and Clarendon College in Victoria, 800 of a total 1180 students have been participating in a 1:1 technology program since 2007. Pupils in Years 5-10 now bring their notebooks or tablet PCs to the two senior campuses of the school each day.
Victoria-based education specialist, Computelec, won the deal, which includes service and training to the college’s IT staff and ongoing support including maintenance and break-fix. At the start of each year, about 200 tablet PCs are distributed to new students, under the national solution provider’s watchful eye.
Basic training from Computelec offers pupils advice on how to look after their PCs, connect to the school network, and set them up ergonomically. According to the solution provider, 85 per cent of all repairs are done during the school day and 95 per cent within 24 hours.
Pupils can’t afford to be without their computers – and those who come back with the same mishaps again and again are taken aside for additional training.