5 Questions to ask when researching School Asset Management Software
What types of assets does your school want to include?
Schools typically have hundreds, even thousands of assets that all play a part in educating children. An asset register can include:
Specialist equipment – for example musical instruments, laboratory kit, sports gear, the school bus
IT equipment – tablets, projectors, digital whiteboards
Software Tools and Apps – software licences
Properties and facilities – don’t forget the school building facilities like boilers, air-conditioning, security etc
Documentation – soft copies of important documentation such as warranties, safety certifications, service agreements etc
You will want a feature set that supports the type of asset you need managing, for example the ability to plan maintenance schedules, upload different types of files and track software licencing. Being able to allocate different categories to different asset types will also be useful, especially if you can tailor specific data fields and workflows.
What are your key requirements?
There are lots of different asset management platforms available, some are very focused on tracking production downtime, some are tailored towards managing a stock inventory or vehicle fleet. Schools tend to have a basic wish list of four requirements:
Build and Maintain Accurate Asset Register You want a central register which gives you full visibility of your assets – who’s using them, when were they bought, physical location and any supporting information.
Asset Tracking Can the software track and record a complete asset history throughout it’s lifetime. A supporting mobile phone asset tagging app can assist this process, making it easier to track changing locations and ownership using a scannable asset tag.
Asset Accounting As well as purchase history, does the software include useful financial features such as automated depreciation and disposal, so asset values can be reflected accurately in budgetary forecasts.
Planned and Preventative Maintenance Can the software handle a pro-active maintenance schedule and also log support issues which can be reviewed by type and resolution.
How are you currently managing your assets?
If you are using a spreadsheet or Microsoft Access, choosing a software platform which accepts csv imports can help transfer existing data to your new system. If you are in a position to start completely afresh, an intuitive user interface, good training and support will be key. An external asset tagging service might also get you off to a flying start.
How many users need to access the software?
Check whether the software payment plan is by user. Asset management should be a very collaborative process because many different people can contribute to keeping asset information up to date. It can therefore, also be useful to set up specific user profiles so the software is widely available but people can only access the parts relevant to them. This is both user friendly and a good way of maintaining data integrity.
Do you want a cloud-based software platform?
Cloud-based means your asset data is hosted off site and the software can be accessed from any web browser. This can have a number of advantages - it needs minimal support from your own internal IT team and in the event of fire or flood, your data is safe. However, it is worth checking that your software provider is using a reputable, secure hosting service such as the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, with supporting security compliance certificates, including ISO 27001 and 27018.
When it comes to choosing your preferred asset management platform it really can be horses for courses. As well as looking at the software specification and feature set, don't forget to work with a provider who has plenty of experience working with schools and understanding their requirements.