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Budgeting Advice from Jonathan Beveridge Print
June 2007

Budgeting Advice from Jonathan Beveridge
(For Principals & ICT Directors)

Jonathan is a well known figure in the education ICT circle being a senior consultant of the eLearning Unit of the Ministry of Education for 5 years until January this year and a financial planning adviser currently.  He gave a speech entitled Sustainable Budgeting at the recent Compucon School ICT Forums to audiences from schools in Northland and Auckland.  He pointed out bluntly what the issues are as observed from 5 years of working with schools and recommended a simple framework to Principals and ICT directors for budget planning or allocation.  Lack of Planning is easily the top problem with schools as far as visioning of where ICT is going is concerned.  Sustainable Financial Management ability is the second issue though this suggestion may offend some financial controllers in schools.  Surprise Expenses are the result of the above two problems and they are the third issue.  Rapid Technology Change comes from the outside and often catches those schools without input from the industry unprepared.  This is the fourth problem.  School managements should seek help towards resolving these 4 issues immediately.  With regard to spending on ICT, Jonathan recommended a priority list with Infrastructure at the top, followed by Servers, Access Devices with Cool Toys at the bottom.  The list makes perfect sense especially with the choice of words like infrastructure to indicate the fundamental importance and cool toys to indicate their gimmicky nature.  Infrastructure refers to the cabling fabric whereas Cool Toys refer to items that are luxury such as electronic whiteboards.  Servers refer to equipment that is central to all activities.  Servers can be classified as infrastructure if you want.  Access Devices refer to PC, laptops and thin clients.  Are you practising the above priority already?