What Every College CIO should know about Digital Signage Part #1

When deciding on Digital Signage for your school, there are a few key points every CIO should know before making decisions. Whether you have an existing Digital Signage network or not, these points will ensure you’re fully informed and help avoid any pitfalls that previous CIO’s have shared with us.

Ironically, CIO’s and related IT staff are often involved in procurement decisions and evaluation for Digital Signage, but should never be considered as part of the day to day end user group. We have met with, interviewed and work with dozens of CIO’s whose teams oversee applications and here is their feedback on managing Digital Signage with success:


Look for a clean UI and easy to learn operational layout. As time goes by, so do the Digital Signage users in your school. Security officers change, Student Council officers graduate and Communications team members shuffle. IT does not want to be constantly re-training and handling tech questions which come from your non-technical people that are overwhelmed as new users. The solution to this issue is to make sure that the overall look and feel are complimentary to non-tech, day to day users so internal training can happen easily between existing users and their replacements. Our average School has 10-20 regular users including students, staff, graphic designers and internal departments. Make sure your provider has online access or support that can deal directly with your users as well, not burdening IT with basic app questions.

The easiest way to evaluate the UI is based on the learning curve. For starters, go with your gut instinct on first impressions. After 10 minutes, if a demo or trial is making you think too hard, imagine the impact on basic or first time non-IT users. Second, evaluate your visual impression of the GUI. Was, or is it “easy on the eyes”? Were you able to grasp the fundamentals and orient yourself in a quick period of time? Surprisingly this was one of the top criteria that helped reinforce decision making.

When the CIO liked what they saw, it was often the direction they went. And lastly, a really great feature to look for is the ability to segregate or “simplify” the UI. Some Digital Signage software lets you restrict permissions (Tip #3), but in doing so can actually remove sections of the UI so non-accessed users don’t need to be overwhelmed or confused.

Stay Tuned for Tip #2 – What Every College CIO needs to know– Emergency Messaging – coming January 9th!


Brent Nacu

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