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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Corporate Perspectives on the Top 10 IT Issues | EDUCAUSE Review

Higher education is one of our economy’s most collaborative and open sectors. Higher education leaders share information, best practices, opinions, and solutions generously with one another and partner willingly and often. Although much of that collaboration has occurred among peers, many corporations have become effective partners instead of simply vendors by collaborating with colleges and universities to co-create solutions that optimize value for both sides.

Photo: Susan Grajek
"EDUCAUSE supports such higher order relationships by working with corporate leaders who “get it” — those who love and value higher education and are committed to long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers and with our sector at large." inform Susan Grajek, vice president of Communities and Research, EDUCAUSE. 

Photo: EDUCAUSE Review

The EDUCAUSE Corporate Member Advisory Committee (CMAC) focuses on bringing corporate leaders together to actively explore and develop an improved relationship between higher education IT and its vendor community.

Four members of the CMAC provided their perspectives and advice on the Top 10 IT Issues of 2017, including:
  • Cole Clark, Executive Director, Higher Education Client Relations, Deloitte
  • Renee Patton, US Public Sector Director of Education, Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Jared Stein, VP Research & Education, Instructure
  • Kim Thanos, CEO, Lumen Learning
The Questions and Answers EDUCAUSE posed the following questions to the four contributors, whose answers follow. (See the end of the article for a list of the TOP 10 IT Issues and their definitions.)

How do you react to the Top 10 IT Issues? Are these issues synonymous with what you are experiencing in industry?
“I believe the Top 10 issues reflect the needs of many higher ed institutions,” said Jared Stein of Instructure. He sees a clear urgency and tension between many of these issues: “Not only must higher education become more affordable, it must become a better experience, focusing on student success, outcomes, and completion, for which there is no easy fix.” At the same time, sustainable staffing is critical to support quality teaching and advising, he noted. “We depend on data and analytics, which rely on digital learning technology and must be secure — but that still requires top-notch staff to capture and act on the data.”

According to Renee Patton of Cisco, these issues are synonymous, with an overarching theme of the digitization of education. She explained that Cisco is working with their customers to create a digital overlay on top of their traditional physical campuses while ensuring that the overlay is safe, secure, robust, and reliable. Users should be able to derive meaningful value from the data and analytics being produced in the digital environment. With the risks of security breaches higher than ever, coupled with new Internet of Things (IoT) points-of-entry and the increased mobility of information, all Cisco customers put cybersecurity at the top of their list of concerns, just as the Top 10 survey respondents have.

Deloitte’s Cole Clark agreed that cybersecurity and cyber governance issues face every institution, and he sees many of them struggle to educate key decision makers on risks outside of IT. He also believes that academic enterprise-wide approaches to student success and completion that have technology as a foundational element are now taking hold.

Kim Thanos sees the Top 10 issues as broadly framing Lumen Learning’s work and experience. She observes urgency among institutions to use technology to create new models for teaching and learning that increase success, are more data driven (and validated with data), and much more affordable. “In many ways the focus on the digital transformation of learning is not a single issue,” she noted, “but both a risk and a tremendous opportunity that encompass many of the other issues.”

Recommended Reading: 
Can Higher Education Save the Web? 

Photo: Michael Caulfield

Source: EDUCAUSE Review