Colleges and educational institutions have started making smart use of technology in higher education as a moving target. College administrators tasked with digital transformation face several challenges, from encouraging faculty to embrace the learning management system to putting student records in the blockchain. Additionally, the rising tuition costs, the joint imperatives of boosting ROI and improving student outcomes, and flagging state funding and the changing makeup of the student body have colleges turning to digital solutions for help.
What cuts to the heart of all of those innovations is one central innovation, which is a focus on a commitment to analytics and data-driven decision-making, having data and using it are often two distinct worlds.
University leadership is helping set the course
Making sure the nature of the digital transformation jives with administrators’ strategic objectives is a part of getting buy-in. “Side conversations” between IT and other university leadership can help identify what kind of information is needed, and the data delivered will help complete the latter’s vision of the institution’s trajectory, even if their role isn’t technology-centric.
There’s an advantage to having a range of stakeholders involved in the decision-making. The answer is having the conversation about technology innovation to be at the top and involve everyone. Institution leaders can have confidence in a deep bench as priorities shift, making them less likely to chase after the next new thing or overreact to an issue. IT and institutional relations (IR) professionals must play meaningful roles in strategic thinking at the department, school and institutional levels.
Broad ownership of digital transformation also improves accountability, for instance, CIOs have the “unique opportunity” to see across an enterprise and connect the dots. Of course, leadership isn’t off the hook. The real danger on campus is for a president or provost to throw [a tech issue] back to IT and say, ‘Oh no, you fix this.’ A real digital transformation is everybody’s business.
Keep watching this space to know more about how educational institutions can raise their college’s data game.