IT Trends | Research

While CIOs May Sit at Senior Level, Service Gaps Still Remain

Most higher education chief information officers feel fairly confident about their place among senior management, but they still have areas for improvement in operational excellence. For example, only 39 percent work at schools with a bring-your-own-device policy in place. Likewise, while only one in 10 have experienced a data breach in the last 12 months, slightly more than half say their institutions are not "sufficiently prepared" for a security event.

"One of the most critical areas of focus for any [CIO] is data security, and the fact that most institutions are unprepared for a security breach warrants attention," said Paul Mandell, founder and CEO of Consero Group, the company that hosted a higher ed CIO event in San Diego and ran the survey. "While most schools may not have experienced a breach in security last year, a clear threat exists, and appropriate preparation is essential."

While Consero's survey authors said the results of the survey were based on a "limited" sample, participation was diverse among large and small institutions.

Fifty-four percent of CIOs reported being members of the senior management council, such as a president or chancellor's cabinet; even more CIOs said they believe they have "sufficient access" to board of regents/governors.

Yet gaps still remain in their areas of responsibility. One key area where most respondents don't play a role is in academic assessment. Nearly 90 percent said their IT organizations don't oversee or report on academic outcomes. As might be expected, two-thirds said they don't consider the outcomes measurement criteria for their schools clear or "adequately expressed."

Also, while a slight majority have put shared services programs in place within their organizations, most give very little budget to those initiatives--less than a tenth.

Almost all respondents — 95 percent — said that changing tuition rates and student financial aid policies affect how they make business decisions.

In the area of budgets, 51 percent reported an increase from 2012 to 2013, reflecting increases in the overall institutional budget at six out of 10 schools. During that same period, most respondents saw either no change or a slight increase in the size of their IT staffs.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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