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Survey: IT and Academics Don't Work Together Much

Campus IT is a disjointed effort at most campuses. For example, in more than four out of five colleges and universities, IT professionals report that they do not regularly develop joint plans with academic departments for IT initiatives. Nearly six out of 10 don't survey academic or research staff on IT needs; and more than six out of 10 lack a catalog of IT services. Perhaps that's why 57 percent of end users view IT as the "fix it" folks and just 22 percent say IT is considered a "trusted ally."

Nearly a fifth of all campus IT investments are actually made outside of centralized IT. If Educause's estimate of $21 billion in annual campus IT spending in the United States  holds true, that represents about $4 billion in "non-managed, non-measured" IT spending on campus each year. Along the same lines, respondents who were willing to provide an estimate said that 18 percent of all campus IT systems are redundant, tallying $3.8 billion annually in potential lost savings.

These are some of the results that came out of a survey of 152 higher ed IT people in June by MeriTalk, a government-focused Web site. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 7.92 at a 95 percent confidence level. The work was sponsored by virtualization company VMware and government solutions provider Carahsoft.

In the area of cloud computing, more than half — 53 percent — said cloud is "vital to their institution's future competitiveness." About 21 percent of the 2015 IT budget is expected to go to cloud initiatives. Among those who have deployed cloud services, the greatest level of satisfaction — 69 percent — is given to their cloud-based learning management systems. Sixty-seven percent said they are satisfied with their blended learning environments.

The biggest barriers to cloud adoption are security (44 percent expressed this as a concern); budgets (40 percent cited this as a concern); and cost and culture (which surfaced among 36 percent and 32 percent, respectively, as a concern). Reliability showed up at the bottom of the list; only 15 percent of respondents said they were worried about that aspect of cloud computing.

"The cloud campus has no boundary and no curfew," said Steve O'Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk. "If we're going to maximize progress, we need to break down the divide between IT and the business functions on campus."

Further results from the study are available with registration here.

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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