One of the most asked questions I have on a daily basis is, how can we as a school go cloud based? The thought and understanding around taking a school to be fully cloud based on a solution like Microsoft365 is a huge talking point currently with more and more schools hungry to take the leap to achieve this new level of working.

One of the main issues that I see for many schools is not having a dedicated member of IT staff onsite due to cost limitations or having an external IT Support company that hasn’t yet upskilled their staff/service to support their schools.

One of the great things about going cloud based is that you are able to start right now, with very little knowledge. The core starting point for any project and more importantly a project to this scale can be completed by any member of staff from school leadership to admin staff. Reviewing your current state as a school by list all processes that you currently use paper for, how you share information/documents with staff and governors, how often IT equipment is used during lessons. By mapping out your schools core educational and operational processes will allow you to clearly see all of the core features that your new cloud system is required to have.

Once you have completed the initial review stage, the next step in the process would be to map out what your core requirements are. Thinking about your core paper based functions, create a clear list which outlines what you would like to be converted into a e-form to help streamline your internal operations. This is one of the most exciting points in the process as this is the point when you are able to write your “Cloud Wish List”, everything you could possibly wish for from simple processes, working WiFi, reduction on paper and much more.

One of the main learning points that I have learnt over the past 3 years throughout our journey to become fully cloud based and paperless is to take things step by step and not jump into something too quickly. For most schools this will normally be going paperless with some of our core processes like staff orders, leave request, absence and much more. Taking these steps slowly allows you and your staff to slowly learn and become more comfortable with the journey and new processes that they are working with.

Another factor that you will need to take into account is having someone with enough time to help you on this journey. There are a number of IT Support teams out that who are full able to support you along with this journey but make sure that throughout those discussions that you are in the driving seat to ensure that the system you end up with is right for you.

Below is a recording from a Microsoft Training session that I led back in September which takes you through the journey of going paperless with Microsoft365.

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