Simsbury School District Gets Out of “Spreadsheet Hell”
How a busy K-12 IT department graduated from spreadsheets
Simsbury School District teaches over 4,000 students across seven schools in Simsbury, Connecticut. The district encompasses one high school, one middle school, and five elementary schools, while also supporting students with special education needs.
As the district’s technology footprint grew, Simsbury’s small IT team of four on-site technicians had to handle over 13,000 devices—including over 8,000 student and staff Chromebooks, as well as numerous assistive technology devices for their students with special needs. Simsbury recently implemented help ticketing and asset management with Incident IQ. By combining these two critical parts of support infrastructure, Simsbury is able to provide more comprehensive IT support using a platform built exclusively for K-12.
Disconnected help ticketing and asset management systems.
Simsbury School District struggled with disconnected help ticketing and asset management systems. IT requests were handled through a simplistic ticketing system, by email, and some inventories were managed in spreadsheets. Their support team was overworked and mired down in what they described as “spreadsheet hell.” They tried other systems: first using a help desk that lacked inventory management, then an inventory system without any support component.
Maggie Siedel, Simsbury’s K-12 Director of IT, knew there had to be a better way to manage thousands of assets, and be more responsive to support requests. She tasked two team members to research and find an integrated system that would bring district inventory and technology support closer together, in addition to being easy for teachers and staff to use.
“In our search for a new system, we looked for a solution that tied tickets to devices, was easy to import and export information, included a parts inventory, easy submission of tickets using SSO web/app, and allowed us to prioritize tickets for our technicians,” Maggie explains.
Standing up a comprehensive support platform.
Enter Incident IQ. With the help of Incident IQ’s onboarding team, Simsbury brought their help ticketing and asset management together on a single system. Incident IQ’s API-driven Google and Powerschool integrations quickly and securely imported district data, allowing the team to get up and running fast.
“After the significant increase in mobile student and staff devices due to the pandemic, it was essential to have a cutting edge solution that integrates ticketing and inventory management. An integrated system allows us to consistently check on our assets and their locations throughout the district,” Maggie states.
Incident IQ and Simsbury worked together to set up help ticket automations by location and issue type, reducing administrative overhead and routing support requests quickly to the appropriate technician. Simsbury’s IT team applied custom fields to create smoother workflows for teachers requesting assistive learning technology—a process that was in need of an overhaul.
With their new support infrastructure in place, Simsbury was ready to make the transition from reactive to proactive support.
No more clunky spreadsheets.
Within a semester, Simsbury began experiencing the benefits of combining help ticketing and asset management on a single platform. The team’s goals of communication, customer service, and follow-through were accomplished as they worked with Incident IQ’s efficiencies and customization.
Incident IQ’s automations not only got support tickets resolved quicker, but helped the IT team make more proactive scheduling and staffing decisions. Before Incident IQ, technicians would visit campuses on a set day. Now, accurate counts of open tickets organized by location determine if an onsite visit is even necessary.
The tailored workflows that Simsbury established empowered the support team to be more responsive to specialized requests from staff. For assistive learning technology, teachers can now easily specify whether they are submitting an app or hardware request, as well as describe—in detail—what assistive technology in particular they are requesting for their student with the IEP. Whitelisting URLs in the school’s web filter became a much simpler process as well, with a workflow that allows teachers to paste the desired URL in the request—which is then routed to the agent responsible for managing content filters.
On the inventory side, not only are district Chromebooks managed with more confidence, but everyday supplies like printer toner are also managed using Incident IQ’s parts management features.
“With assets tied to the ticketing system, it has made it so much easier to verify and rectify the locations and assignments of technology,” explains Jeremy Marin, Software and Computer Support Technician at Simsbury.
“Before, it was always bouncing back and forth between two different systems, and now it takes just a couple of clicks to change a user or room assignment and it is all in the same system. Also, being able to see what tickets have been opened regarding a specific device has made it immensely helpful in determining the next steps on how to improve user experience.”
The structured data that Incident IQ provides not only helps Simsbury address everyday support requests, it also helps them plan for the future. Analytic data equips Maggie Siedel with hard facts she needs to satisfy staffing requests.
Seidel says, “Before it was like, ‘It would be nice if we hired for this need’, but now we can say ‘This is what we need, and here is the data that shows why.’”
The key to escaping “spreadsheet hell” was bringing greater interoperability to critical support systems. Without a unified platform for help ticketing and asset management, Simsbury School District would still be struggling to manage district assets and support requests—focusing on putting out fires instead of working for the future. Now, Simsbury School District can solve today’s issues while proactively planning for tomorrow.
Is your IT department tired of using complicated spreadsheets to manage and support district assets? Schedule a demo to learn about the support tools we’ve built exclusively for K-12 schools.