Annual report from higher education’s largest IT association discusses the top IT concerns and technologies for institutions this year.
Higher ed IT is in the midst of divesting, reinvesting and differentiating its technologies and strategies for 2016, according to the annual EDUCAUSE report on the “Top 10 IT Issues and Top 10 Technologies for 2016.”
With the aim of providing a roadmap for colleges and universities navigating the opportunities and challenges IT presents, and based on data about members’ (higher ed IT leaders, CIOs and faculty members) actual plans, information security is the highest rated issue for 2016.
“In the digital age, threats come from all angles,” said Susan Grajek, vice president of data, research, and analytics at EDUCAUSE. “Because of this, information security is the highest-rated issue this year, as institutions seek to protect technology and data.
According to the report, college and universities still have a lot of work to do to secure networks, systems and applications; develop security policies; educate campus IT users; and reduce institutional exposure to information security threats.
Because the report describes the technology investments institutions are making in 2016 and not simply the technologies IT professionals are reading or talking about, the association hopes that institutions can use the report as a guide to consider which technologies they might focus on, where they might be lagging, and where they might be leading.
The report also notes that the focus is on “strategic” technologies versus “operational” technologies; or, rather, focuses on relatively new technologies institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning for, and tracking in 2016 than mature, more commonly deployed technologies (such as financial information systems or networks) that may be among the mission-critical technologies.
This year, the 10 issues reflect 3 overarching themes: divest, reinvest and differentiate.
IT organizations are divesting themselves of technologies that can be sourced elsewhere and of practices that have become inefficient. They are reinvesting in information security and mobile; and they are differentiating by using analytics and other educational technologies to set themselves apart in student success, affordability, and teaching and research excellence, describes the report.
“In many ways, colleges and universities are mistakenly expecting the existing ecosystem—their people, processes and culture—to be able to support, without change, today’s new and very different technologies,” said Grajek. “The Top 10 Issues identify [these] three major takeaways for how higher education leaders can shift their approach to facilitate this need for transformation.”
(Next page: EDUCAUSE report’s key takeaways)