How to gain insight into your institution's IT performance gaps and maturity levels

Gregory TeichGreg Teich, Consultant
IT Forum

One CIO recently told our team that his campus leadership team was pressuring him to identify peer IT organizations.

The traditional peer sets, such as athletic conference members or regional competitors, didn’t share much in common with his organization, and the usual surveys (e.g., EDUCAUSE Core Data Service, Campus Computing), while useful, didn’t help him identify the maturity of his function relative to comparable IT departments.

Our research colleagues in the Business Affairs Forum were also hearing from their member CBOs that they desired better ways to understand the functions under them, especially HR, Finance, and IT.

Together with the Business Affairs Forum, we’ve launched a joint project on a functional diagnostic to help CIOs better understand their maturity against other institutions’ and help CBOs better understand their institutions’ IT functions.

A valuable tool for the CIO

We worked with CIOs and their teams to identify 29 key competencies of a high-performing IT function in higher education. For each of the competencies, our model identifies a highly mature ambition, a baseline for acceptable performance, and two interim stages. Further, respondents will match each competency against a four-tier urgency level.

Later this year, respondent CIOs will receive a summary report and a customized report benchmarking results from their institutions to other members of the IT Forum and IT teams across North America.

Within the IT team

We’re particularly excited about the diagnostic’s ability to build consensus among IT leaders. Several CIOs we’ve spoken with plan to fill out the diagnostic and have their direct reports complete it as well. Comparing answers within the group will help IT leadership agree on unit performance, identify top priorities for the coming years, and allocate resources to move maturity forward in key areas.

We plan to help our members in this endeavor by providing customized reports showing which capabilities the team is in least (and most) agreement about and can help facilitate these discussions at leadership meetings or retreats.

Across the institution

We heard from our Business Affairs Forum colleagues that their member CBOs would also be interested in taking the IT functional diagnostic. Comparing their assessments to the CIOs’ assessments would help spur discussion about institutional priorities and the role of IT across campus.

With this unique dataset, we can identify gaps between CBOs’ assessments and CIOs’ assessments. What do CBOs consider the state of IT in higher education, and how does this differ from CIOs? Where might institutional leaders typically over- (and under-) assess IT’s maturity compared to IT itself?

We’re excited to offer this new service to our members. We believe that this can be an evergreen service, offering continual value to our members. CIOs can assess their IT functions using this diagnostic each year to see progress made. Further, this tool can be valuable for new CIOs to learn how their unit directors perceive the function’s strengths and weaknesses.

Participate in the Diagnostic

Members of the IT Forum and Business Affairs Forum can participate in the survey to evaluate their institution’s IT maturity development and learn where they can support prioritization efforts on campus.


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