Survey finds institutional CIOs are prioritizing student experiences and looking to integrated AI to solve key challenges.

Higher-ed CIOs struggle to create digital experiences

Survey finds institutional CIOs are prioritizing student experiences and looking to integrated AI to solve key challenges

Key points:

Most higher-ed CIOs agree that a seamless digital experience for students plays a large part in enrollment and retention, yet many say their institution struggles to create that experience, according to a new survey from Ocelot, a company focusing on AI-driven student lifecycle engagement.

The 2024 Higher Ed CIO Trends Report is based on insights from over 100 CIOs across private and public institutions and sheds light on the evolving role of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the higher education sector.

Eighty percent of surveyed CIOs said creating a seamless digital experience for their students remains a challenge. And while CIOs knows improving student experiences leads to positive results–77 percent of CIOs reported that past investments in advancing the student experience improved retention–respondents underscored the barriers they are facing to deliver on it.

Barriers to improving student experiences include:

Siloed communications: Sixty-six percent of higher-ed CIOs say systems and communications are siloed at their institutions, causing challenges in delivering a single brand experience to students. Only 16 percent of those surveyed say students are getting the right personalized message at the right time across communication channels.

Tech creep: Sixty-five percent of higher-ed CIOs reported tech creep in the past 4-5 years, with most saying it has led to an inability to support and use applications effectively, stretched budgets, and redundant systems, which together make supporting students’ needs far more challenging.

Compliance and data security: The majority of higher-ed CIOs noted securing student data across campus was a top priority, while 93 percent said AI-enabled technology is presenting unprecedented compliance challenges.

Integration needs: Most higher-ed CIOs are either currently consolidating or plan to consolidate their stack. AI is central to this effort, with 63 percent of those surveyed indicating they are investing in AI to improve the student experience and more than half agreeing that a connected student concept focused on integration would solve institutional pain points.

“The role of CIO has really transformed in the last five years as cloud and self-service applications proliferate across campuses,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Ocelot. “This report underscores the unique challenges higher ed as a sector is experiencing and validates our vision of leveraging integrated AI to help institutions support and engage individuals throughout the student lifecycle. By connecting those siloed campus systems with our singular, purpose-built platform, we aim to help solve some of these challenges and empower cohesive, personalized experiences that lead to student and organizational success.”

CIOs’ top priorities for 2024 include:

  • Securing students’ personal data
  • Facilitating a seamless digital student experience
  • Creating a cohesive communications strategy
  • Ensuring compliance with changing federal and state policies

This press release originally appeared online.

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Laura Ascione