Business functions around campus are demanding more data, more software solutions, and more user-facing applications. But whether they know it or not, they also need more integration to ensure this developing technology works together seamlessly.
As central IT units struggle to meet demand, projects are taking longer than anticipated to complete, others languish in the queue, and opportunities to build out new services are often missed. Playing catch-up to campus requests is simply not sustainable: Units will inevitably lose faith in central IT and create workarounds, but forging ahead independently is not a viable solution.
The CIO's challenge goes beyond keeping people happy in the short term. Integration capabilities will increasingly be a source of competitive differentiation, so integration must be a campus-wide strategic priority, not a last-minute IT line item. Colleges and universities that harness data across silos for institution-level efforts will see greater successes for students, faculty, and administration.
What campus IT can learn from Uber, Lyft, and Google Maps
The IT Forum is currently in the midst of setting our 2017-18 research agenda, zeroing in on the small handful of topics we'll tackle in depth. It's an exciting time of year for us researchers, but it's not without its bittersweet qualities.
One of the sad parts of this process is seeing the interesting, but not-quite-ripe topics get winnowed away. Partly, this is sad because I want to learn about as many things as possible—but also because topics that would benefit certain segments of our membership get cut.
As a forum, we focus our primary research on topics that affect all our members, like data governance or student success. It's what makes our research model cost-effective and affordable. Nonetheless, we appreciate certain challenges are felt acutely by particular sections of our membership. We can't tackle them as full research studies, but we can still support our members in addressing them.
So, how do we do that? Fortunately, our researchers are not the only smart, thoughtful people involved in the IT Forum—our members also fit that definition. In 2017, we resolve to help our members take better advantage of one of the best features of membership: the other members. Facilitated networking has always been one of the services included in membership, but we're going to be more intentional about opportunities to connect members this year.
For Valentine's Day, the IT Forum is playing matchmaker
At this year's IT Forum national meeting, we're focused on two main challenges:
- How the changing demographic and competitive landscape in higher education is redefining the role of the CIO
- What governance structures should look like in the new IT environment
We recently shared our research with a group of 20 members, which led to many lively roundtable discussions. While these discussions covered an array of higher education IT issues, three discussions emerged that seemed particularly timely for IT leaders.
Notes from our first 2016 national meeting