5 Lessons learned from Education Technology Leasing in 2020

December 29, 2020

Education, Financing


5 Lessons learned from Education Technology Leasing in 2020

And Looking Ahead to the New Year!


To say that Education was impacted by the pandemic this year is an understatement of epic proportions. Administrators, educators, staff and families across the country continue to find themselves with unimagined challenges and circumstances. Each individual and group involved in the Education landscape has had its own unique obstacles and learnings.
Having spent years working with school districts across the country to deliver leasing programs for their education technology needs, IFS was fortunate to be in a position to assist our clients with some of their challenges during this difficult time. Since March most schools have at some point transitioned to full or partial home-based learning which created a surge in demand for portable equipment like Chromebooks.


To help districts with limited resources and budget manage the situation, IFS’ leasing solutions are designed to deliver predictable pricing, flexible schedules, and a sustainable refresh strategy. Our team works with education IT leaders to create sustainable and affordable plans that allow them to give their teams the technology and equipment they need in order to continue the important work of teaching their students.

“The work that we have done this year has been extremely rewarding in that we have affected the ability for schools to respond to this unprecedented situation,” explained Colleen O’Donnell, Senior Vice President, Director of SLED, IFS. “As always, we are committed to going the extra mile for every district we have the honor of working with.”

As the year nears its end, and IFS reflects on what the team has learned, a few important lessons stand out.

Top Lessons from Financing and Leasing EdTech

1. Preparation pays off

2020 reminded us time and time again of the complexities of EdTech. At the start of the pandemic, it seemed that every district was in the same boat, all schools needing more devices for students and teachers during remote learning. While true, it wasn’t that simple. Each school has unique needs, and each district falls under specific guidelines determined by its state and county. Add to that unique budget constraints and other factors, and it quickly became clear that there was no standard solution.

The fact that IFS had already invested many years learning the determining factors and unique drivers of this market allowed us to get to know our individual customers more deeply from the outset. Putting in the time early on meant that we could more quickly develop custom lifecycle management programs that successfully addressed the unique needs of each district. We understand that technology budgets are constrained, so being prepared with flexible classroom and school district technology leasing solutions that provide a refresh plan for the future can offer a path to acquiring and maintaining the right equipment over the long term.

2. Flexibility is key

This year students had to adapt to learning from their kitchen tables, teachers had to educate from their living rooms and parents had to work from home while overseeing the online learning process. Everyone had to break routines, become flexible, and find the best way to accomplish teaching, learning and working in a new environment that was not designed for these purposes.

At IFS we also learned to be more flexible in helping school districts solve these new challenges. EdTech leasing and financing programs had to be configured to include the right equipment, delivered at the right times, and distributed to the right places. Fortunately, our understanding of what IT leaders at schools were going through aligned with our lifecycle management and leasing programs which meant that there have been lots of ways we have been able to help this year.

3.There’s no going back

The landscape has changed. People are no longer tied to their classrooms, school desks or auditoriums. School district staff, students and equipment are in thousands of places instead of one building. All districts need a strategy to make sure people have the tools they need, that allow them to teach, work, and learn anywhere. Because while students will eventually return to the classroom, there is no going back on the 1-1 freedom and flexibility of mobile, portable devices.

However, along with the new structure comes new challenges. As districts create plans to connect the distributed environment, they will also need to address issues such as security, compliance and connectivity. IFS has programs that can help make these expenses predictable on an annual basis.

4. Timing is everything 

It was truly impressive how districts across the country were able to shift millions of students off of school campuses and into their homes overnight. IFS knew that schools urgently needed enough quality laptops and devices to keep the curriculum going. Given district calendars and budgeting cycles, it is important to consider the entire technology lifecycle, not just the acquisition of classroom equipment.

Specific IFS terms and conditions allow IT leaders to be in control of what happens at the end of term. Thinking through the timing of the entire lifecycle, beginning to end, will set districts up for success the first not only immediately but well into the future.

5. Transparency and efficiency matter

It’s been a confusing time. Some standard practices and processes no longer apply. Keeping track of student and teacher laptops, tablets, devices and equipment is more important than ever. So, this year our customers further highlighted the need for asset management.

Our best-in-class Asset Management Online System (AMOS) helps converge leased classroom devices into one system for efficient and accurate ongoing management. The AMOS Executive Dashboard gives full access, visibility, and control of all leased assets across multiple locations. We are committed to its value and strength for the benefit of our customers as it helps to gain full control over the environment.


With the acceleration of 1-1, equipment is now in the hands of those who need it. And we believe it will stay there. What comes next for many districts is to make a plan and build a platform to sustainably, predictably build and maintain their 1-1 programs with equity in mind. When talking about large scale numbers of devices, it is not just about the initial acquisition, but rather the entire lifecycle of the assets in the environment.

At IFS, we are committed to being nimble and flexible in supporting schools and districts over the long term. No one could predict the pandemic, but we feel fortunate to be able to be a resource and partner to so many resilient schools across the country. We look forward to continuing to help organizations understand that by implementing a strategic leasing plan they are setting themselves up to be ready for anything that might come their way.

Contact us today to learn how IFS can help you finance all your technology equipment while also taking control of all your assets.

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