Have IT Questions? Welcome to UniversITy

EdTech’s brand-new blog aims to help higher ed IT leaders navigate the increasingly complex technology landscape.

When I was in college in the late 1980s, the Dewey Decimal System was still relevant. I went to the computer lab to type any and all papers, and I visited the library to conduct research using actual books. I had to go see my professors during office hours whenever I had a question outside of normal classroom hours. No Wi-Fi, no Internet, no email and certainly no cloud.

Back then, higher education decision-makers and technology leaders could focus on clearly defined, best-in-class technology and student outcomes. Their decisions were limited to such quandaries as whether to deploy PCs or Macs, dot matrix or laser printers. Their needs didn’t include today’s quandaries, such as ensuring constant connectivity, online learning and BYOD.

Cut Through the Noise

Today’s IT leaders work with multiple vendors and partners to provide many different types of technologies on campus. Not only must they work to incorporate or support more tech-enabled classrooms and instructional methods, they also must maintain an ever-expanding network of back-end infrastructure to support it all, with fewer staff and shrinking budgets.

It’s tempting in such a challenging environment to choose the fastest and simplest solution, or bandage issues until an alternative presents itself. But there is a better way. Ultimately, technology purchase decisions should focus on the best outcomes for the institution, with critical consideration given to future implications and delivering the best outcomes for faculty and students.

Our new blog, UniversITy, is designed to help IT leaders cut through the noise and find the information and tools they need to make better, more informed decisions. Our team of experts understands the higher education technology landscape, as well as the many services, products, tools and technologies available today to solve any number of problems. We aim to provide information and data to help you evaluate and compare solutions, and prioritize planning and purchases in ways that make the most sense for your enterprise. We understand the importance of efficient procurement with things such as standardized configs, contract pricing and electronic procurement platforms.

It’s clear the role of the IT decision-maker is becoming increasingly complex. As technology specialists in the higher education space, we’ll share what we have learned and what we are seeing to help you make faster and more informed decisions.

Where to Start?

Just as you and your team might be wondering how to begin your next big deployment, my team and I have been wondering just how to start our blog! I thought it might be helpful to share some of CDW•G’s recent research on the impact of cloud technology in higher education. We found that:

  1. 39 percent of higher education IT services today are delivered totally or partially in the cloud.
  2. Of that number, 53 percent migrated from traditional delivery and 47 percent started in the cloud.
  3. Institutions are planning for approximately 40 percent of new IT services to be deployed partially or totally in the cloud.
  4. Accurate financial models continue to be a struggle, with less than 20 percent indicating financial accuracy within 10 percent of estimates.

We want you to know that you are not alone as you strive to deliver the best outcomes for your institution. In the coming months, we’ll explore the impact of the cloud in higher education and best practices to address cloud migrations and other priorities, such as those outlined in the 2014 Campus Computing Survey.

We have our work cut out for us in 2015!

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s new UniversITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #UniversITy hashtag.

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Jan 27 2015