Save the Golden Goose
- By Katherine Grayson
In this uncertain environment, those who use technology to create new revenue streams will be the last to go.
Our decision this issue to switch plans midstream and highlight our career column, "Will My Job Survive?" as our cover story speaks volumes about the state of the US economy right now, and the farreaching tentacles of "job reduction."
Frankly, we're all used to assuming that higher-education-sector positions are somewhat better protected from the kinds of job cuts that plague the corporate and service sectors during economic crisis. But when the president of Stanford University (CA) slashes his own salary to prepare campus employees for sacrifices that may come, old assumptions fly right out the window.
In "Will My Job Survive?" you'll find plenty of tips to help keep yourself so valuable you won't be laid off. But here's one approach you may not have taken too seriously: Find new dollars for your college or university coffers.
The fact is, it's pretty hard to fire someone who is determined to find new revenue sources for his IT organization and campus; heck, it's tantamount to killing the goose that lays the golden egg. And if you're at a loss to figure out how to bring money into your organization (rather than finding all sorts of nifty ways to speed its way out), you don't have far to look. Here at CT, in print and online, again and again we've covered the innovative creation of new revenue streams by clever IT folk.
Take our October coverage of Software as a Service (SaaS), and how your IT group can leverage its own application investments to offer other colleges and universities their benefits, in "It's Bandwagon Time". Or, how about our look at Canada's McMaster University, and its clever digitization (and marketing to the public) of its rare book cache? Hopefully, you didn't miss our report on lifelong learning ("Technology Forever"), describing the way higher ed institutions are using technology to deliver education to a generation of adults with the desire to continue learning-- and the disposable income to pay for it. And this issue, be sure to flip to "Cashing In" on page 30, to learn how universities like Cornell (NY) are turning their digital asset management systems into revenue-generating machines.
Finally, why not be the one in your organization to figure out how to free up untold dollars you were spending needlessly on "context" (not core) IT, when you could have been using those funds to deliver dazzling education and attract/retain more students? Our Campus Technology 2008 keynote, Arizona State's Adrian Sannier, has all sorts of irreverent but remarkable ideas for you; catch him here.
Yes, these are indeed scary times, and we're all going to have to work harder and smarter. But never underestimate the almighty power of the dollar. And never fool yourself into thinking that only corporate IT people need to quantify (not just qualify) their value to their employers. There are golden eggs everywhere-- you just need to get out there and find them.
--Katherine Grayson, Editor-In-Chief
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Katherine Grayson is is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering technology,
education, and business issues.