Research

Higher Ed IT Improvements Flummoxed by Data, System Complexities

Although the use of data to improve operations is a dandy idea in theory, practice leaves something to be desired. While two-thirds (64 percent) of higher education IT decision makers agreed that the data generated from their IT operations is "extremely" or "very" important to their missions, most of them (59 percent) lack visibility across their IT systems. For nearly half (48 percent), data in different formats and types is the problem when trying to use data to diagnose IT issues; similarly, data ingestion and normalization challenges 41 percent.

Those results come out of an online survey done by Clarus Research Group on behalf of Splunk, a company that produces software for managing and using data. While the full survey focused on feedback from people in the public sector, a subset of 234 respondents specifically worked in colleges and universities.

Half of institutional IT people reported that new IT paradigms such as cloud services, the call for automation of delivery of IT services and virtualization add to their organizations' complexity. Most, according to the survey results, expect to invest heavily in three areas over the next year or two:

  • Cloud computing, 81 percent;
  • Regulatory and compliance management, 75 percent; and
  • Real-time monitoring and dashboards, 74 percent.

In the area of cloud services, half of higher ed IT survey participants said they anticipated an expansion of public cloud solutions over that same period; 14 percent expect to start using them. And 44 percent anticipate an increase in the use of private cloud solutions, while 22 percent think they'll start using them.

One interesting finding was that 71 percent of people expressed a belief that at least some of the data being used for security could also be used for IT operations as well. But right now the majority of schools (69 percent) have to rely on manual troubleshooting to gather data from their systems when they experience an interruption or loss of service. A similarly high number (59 percent) consider their troubleshooting "manual and ad hoc."

"These survey results show a tremendous opportunity for public sector leaders, however it's also abundantly clear that most of public sector is dealing with increasingly complex IT systems that are hurting organizations' ability to respond quickly to issues and limiting their visibility across agencies and programs," said Kevin Davis, Splunk vice president of public sector. "As public sector starts determining budgets for the new fiscal year, it will be critically important for these organizations to invest in technologies that give them a holistic view and insights into their IT operations environments."

The full public sector results are available on the Splunk site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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