Back to campus: Top technology trends for the year ahead

The technology and service trends IT and admin should focus on for 2015-16.

back-campus-trendsIt’s back to school time, and IT teams at college campuses nationwide are preparing to handle the onslaught of technology needs of faculty and students alike—but what should IT and admin prioritize?

Many technology departments will have spent the slower summer months upgrading existing infrastructure and rolling out new technology solutions. After all, with a growing debate focused on the role of advanced education and its value to our nation’s workforce, colleges and universities are under pressure to show their significance and return on investment to today’s college students.

As innovative services continue to play a sizeable role in allowing institutions to harness the power of rapidly evolving technologies to benefit students and institutions alike, here are four trends that will be major ground shifters in the upcoming school year:


1. Big Data Changes Everything

Data analytics dominates the discussions around research, smarter governing and the Internet of Things. One emerging big data and analytics opportunity for colleges and universities is to help address, and be ultra-competitive in response to, recent Administration priorities.

Last December, the White House announced that by the start of this school year, the Federal government will rate colleges on access, affordability and student outcomes. This new approach will assess student achievement at institutions currently receiving Federal student aid and will use this information to determine future Federal investments.

However, data analytics plays other roles beyond funding allocations. Data collected on former students—including career paths, salary history, geographic distribution, and success measures for current students will come into play for recruitment and retention efforts. Student retention is top of mind at all colleges and universities, and at some universities an increase as small as 1 percent in freshman retention rate equates to $1 million in revenue recognized. The impact of data analytics across the higher education spectrum will be a major focus for this school year, and IT teams need to be prepared to stay ahead of the data tsunami.

(Next page: Trends 2-4)