Do you remember what driving was like before GPS navigation? Traveling to a new place, even in your home city, could be quite the undertaking if you didn’t plan appropriately, consult a map and budget extra time to navigate.
What if you were travelling to another state? What if you got lost? What steps would you take to get back on track and find your way? Still, for most of human history we navigated from place to place without GPS, but rather with maps and the occasional help of a friendly local. Fast forward to today: would you hand the car keys over to a freshly-licensed 16-year-old without a GPS and expect them to arrive at a distant destination?
A new driver today would use the GPS on their phone and navigate safely wherever they desire. GPS devices are even advanced enough to redirect you to the proper route if you take a wrong turn or get off-track somehow.
Computer lab monitoring software—software such as LabStats—is like a GPS for what’s happening in your campus IT environment.
Remember our example of a newly-licensed 16 year old? Now imagine a new university IT staff member tasked with making decisions about software licensing, hardware availability and student usage of computers without a lab monitoring tool. Would you expect them to understand what’s happening in their IT environment and trust them to make appropriate software licensing and budgeting decisions? What about decisions regarding campus computer lab hours, or if the campus needs more wheelchair accessible machines, or if a new piece of software included on a campus-wide image is seeing enough use to justify the cost?
Better yet, imagine a university CIO whose teams don’t have a computer lab monitoring tool. How can such a CIO be expected to avoid costly mistakes? It’s difficult to optimize a budget, manage stakeholder expectations and push forward large IT initiatives without data to justify your decisions. Campus IT leaders may be able to get by with manual observations and guesswork for a while. But how much would that cost in labor and incorrect data in the long run?
Great computer monitoring software provides reliable, accurate data an IT department needs to stay on track or course correct if need be.
|IT Department Need||Benefit / Application|
|Data that provides a clear picture about software use||Optimize software budget around actual student use|
|Data that provides a clear picture about hardware use||Optimize budget, staff hours and hardware refresh schedule|
|Data that is meaningful, easy to understand, read and digest||Arrive at data-informed decisions quickly, support robust data analysis|
|Tools to right-size software and hardware utilization||Load-balance campus resources, particularly hardware resources or resources for specific groups (accessibility devices, etc.)|
|Tools to conduct experiments and organize data||Support deep-dive analysis into specific questions (Do we need more OCR readers? How are ESL, Architectural Studies or Spanish speaking students using technology? on campus?)|
|Data collection tools that are compliant||Mitigate risks from student data privacy laws, including GDPR|
|Tools to visualize or display data||Conclusions from data analysis become easy to share with executives or decision makers outside of IT discipline; knowledge becomes easily transferable|
Navigating today’s IT decisions without monitoring software is like driving across the country without a GPS. And just as the original Garmin GPS (which sold for $550 in 1998) is now resting in a museum, it’s time to retire the old ways of lab management and embrace a reliable and affordable solution.
LabStats computer lab monitoring software is the market-leading tool for colleges and universities worldwide. To learn more about LabStats, schedule a walkthrough.