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Is 2013 the Year of Infrastructure Investment?

Survey asks 16 CIOs to rank their IT spending priorities for the rest of the year.

U.S. colleges and universities are known for being ahead of the game when it comes to technology integration — and with good reason. 

The nation’s campuses have served as test beds and launching pads for some of history’s most compelling and useful innovations. Think Google and Reddit.  

But increased financial pressures have forced many IT administrators to rethink their school technology budgets. Beyond supporting the culture of education and innovation upon which so many colleges have staked their reputations, board members and other decision-makers are under increasing pressure to apply a more business-centric approach, investing in technologies that promise to improve the bottom line.

Writing for the Huffington Post, Enterasys CMO and Chief Customer Officer Vala Afshar shares the results of an international survey detailing 2013 spending priorities at 15 U.S. and international higher education institutions. Almost across the board, U.S. higher education CIOs listed infrastructure as the No. 1 priority at their institution in 2013. 

“Higher education CIOs have seen the onslaught of both digital content and mobile devices and need to insure their infrastructure is ready,” writes Afshar.

Security also continues to be a major area of investment. The survey asked participants to rank their top 10 IT spending priorities, with one being the most urgent and 10 being of least importance; 10 of 15 respondents gave security a score of five or lower.

Virtualization also continues to be a priority for U.S and international colleges and universities. Nine of 15 respondents gave virtualization a mark of five or lower in terms of spending priorities. Five institutions ranked virtualization as the second most important IT spending priority on campus.

Not a priority?

So what aren’t college and university CIOs spending money on this year? According to the survey, outsourcing is a low-priority item for most colleges. Ten of 15 colleges gave outsourcing a score of six or higher, with five colleges ranking it as the lowest or second-lowest IT-spending priority on campus. Among those institutions that indicated outsourcing was a higher priority item, none was in the United States.

Here’s a bit of a surprise: Despite all the talk about Big Data on campus, Afshar’s survey indicates colleges and universities seem content to take a wait-and-see approach to the technology. Ten of 15 respondents ranked Big Data as a lower-priority item, giving it a score of six or higher. Overall, Big Data ranked as the second-lowest priority item behind outsourcing. The combination of cloud and software as a service investments was the third lowest-priority investment on the list.

For the full results, see Afshar’s original post.

What technology investments are the top priorities at your college? Tell us in the Comments.

May 08 2013