Lab Management Software vs. Lab Monitoring Software
Computer lab management software allows administrators to make direct changes to the lab environment. Lab management software connects many computers in a lab environment through a single command machine. This allows the central machine to make a change on any of the computers in a lab. For example, an administrator may decide that an application is no longer needed on a computer, so they will use the management software to get rid of that application on one or many computers.
The functions of a computer management system vary depending on the user’s needs. Some lab management software serves only one purpose, such as resetting a machine in a lab to base setting; other types of management software can perform several tasks, such as installing and removing applications, starting and shutting down computers, and controlling user access. There is no one-size-fits-all for management software.
Unlike Computer lab management software, Computer lab monitoring software tracks usage and data. It provides information on the current environment of a lab. It cannot make changes. It needs a human element to work. This means an administrator can customize the software to look for data related to their specific lab environment.
For example, a lab manager may need to know if a lab is using a more expensive application license. Using a monitoring software, the lab manager can track if an application is actively in use. Monitoring software does not care about the lab size or location, making it unbiased. Computer lab monitoring software has several different capabilities:
- Displays availability of computers to a wide audience
- Provides data displaying lab usage and need
- Gives information on application needs
- Shows individual computer usage
- Tracks a lab’s peak hours
- Maps out machine layouts that are optimal for student usage
- Aids in inventory management
Together, monitoring and management software aid universities’ in their lab improvement efforts. There is no overreaching computer lab management software that allows administrators the flexibility to generate data and make changes. Computer lab monitoring software balances this weakness. Monitoring tools provide data that can guide an administrator in their use of a management software. A management system functions better with the data that monitoring software provides. The information that monitoring software provides is necessary but co-dependent on there being a management software to execute decisions based on the monitoring data.
It is key for universities to make sure their resources are put to the best use and to verify if certain resources are necessary to the school’s and students’ success. Universities with limited technology budgets can use management and monitoring software to find areas where they can cut costs and put the saved money towards their real needs. With lab management and lab monitoring software, decisions about university lab needs have data to back them and a means to execute them.
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