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MD forecast 2012 Top 6 customer pains

The key challenge is sharing
Happy New Year to all….and only 6 working days until BETT 2012! Last year we researched what’s important to our customers and made this the key focus on our BETT 2012 Stand (H29). We spent last year in hundreds of schools and saw a huge amount of good practice…the key challenge is sharing this and not reinventing the wheel.

Our customer corner is a ‘sales free zone’ where Ergo customers will be sharing their challenges and how they’ve worked with us to solve them. We call this approach “pains and benefits” (analysing customers pains, solving them, and measuring the benefits). No sales pitch…. and you’ll be able to talk to our customers directly.
So, what are the key pains that we are expecting to keep discussing with our customers? The Top 6 are (in no particular order):
:: Increasing log-in speeds
:: Implementing new technology effectively (including user training)
:: Reducing network downtime
:: Enabling multiple log-ins
:: Effective sharing of information & expertise
:: Increasing system flexibility and manageability
Policy, policy, policy….we all buy in to the DfE’s statement that “ICT plays a pivotal role in school improvement and in preparing young people for higher education and for skilled work.” The NAACE response to the Governments OFSTED ‘ICT in Schools 2008-2011’ Report identifies two types of schools – those that have a clear vision for ICT’s contribution to learning and teaching, and others where technology is marginalised and pupils entitlement to a rounded ICT education is, at best, patchy. The NAACE conclusion is clear….“the pace and quality of development so evident in good and outstanding schools needs to become more widespread.”
So, what are the challenges for 2012? It may be boring, but they are the same as 2011! It’s about sharing good practice; good ICT access in the classroom and at home; good and creative curriculum integration (see previous blogs for some great examples); improving teachers’ professional development (to improve ICT teaching, assessment and ICT leadership); and in particular improved networked knowledge sharing through forums, social networks and face-to-face meetings. Lastly, the need for high quality strategic advice and support must not be overlooked. The Ergo Top 6 all support this – as a starting point schools need to procure well planned, robust, high-availability, future-proof ICT systems that are well supported and maintained.
And the basis for this procurement? Ergo supports three basic steps to ICT planning – (1) analyse (what you have and what you need); (2) choice (based on clear options…and maintaining a flexible approach…don’t ‘innovate’ down a blind alley!); (3) implementation (a realistic and timebound plan…getting things in the right order). We welcome Ofsted’s endorsement of the ICT Self Review Framework, which NAACE currently manages on behalf of the Department for Education. This Framework promotes the development of comprehensive plans and robust, honest self-evaluation. It addresses the key tenets of Ergo’s approach to planning – analyse, choice, action.
So, we welcome 2012 as the year of sharing good practice, building on it, delivering robust ICT infrastructures and, most importantly, not reinventing the wheel. On behalf of Ergo, may I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012.
Tim Harrison, Managing Director


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