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Technology at Your Fingertips
Chapter 1: Knowing What to Do

Chapter 2: Knowing What You Need

Chapter 3: Knowing What You Have

Chapter 4: Knowing What to Get

Chapter 5: Knowing How to Implement Your Solution

Chapter 6: Knowing How to Train Users

Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution

What Provisions Should Be Made for Ongoing Oversight?

How Do You Plan for Providing Ongoing User Support?

How Should You Monitor Regular Usage of Your System?

What Kind of Ongoing Technology Maintenance Will Be Needed?

How Do You Monitor Your System's Users' Needs?

What Do You Need to Do About Upgrades to Software?

What Do You Do About Replacement and Redeployment of Equipment?

Should You Accept Donations?

When Should You Use Volunteers?

How Do You Find Qualified Help When You Need It?

Is That All There Is To It?
Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution

Should you accept donations?
When companies replace their computer systems, they often offer the equipment and/or software to education organizations. While this may seem like a boon to your organization initially, it may end up that this equipment is more trouble than it's worth. If your organization is confronted with this situation you will need to weigh both the potential benefits and consequences. Obviously, you can benefit best from donated equipment when it fits with your long term plan for purchasing and replacing equipment.

Thus, when your organization is offered donations, you should be able to refer to an established protocol that dictates whether or not they should be accepted.

  • First of all, all of the standards established in the organization's system architecture should be followed. For that reason, donors should have access to the organization's published system architecture and any other standards established for technology projects.
  • Staff should screen potential donations to ensure compliance with adopted standards. Donations can be useful to supplement available funds and equipment. However, to avoid invalidating warranties and creating increased future expenses for maintenance and support, all donations should comply with the same standards that would have been followed if these goods and services had been purchased by the institution.
  • Just as with purchases, donations come with associated costs for installation, training, maintenance, power supplies, facilities, associated hardware or software, human resources, etc. (For example, most donations come without an operating system, which leads to the question of who will purchase the Windows or Mac OS?) In cases where donations are not in compliance with established standards, the donor might even be asked to underwrite the additional maintenance and support that the donation will require.
We all know that it's tempting to say "yes" to anyone who is offering something for "free." On the other hand, a rule one might want to live by is: "Don't accept a gift you have to feed."

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