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Educause Focuses on Laying Foundation for the Future in 2023 Top 10 IT Issues

In the last year, higher education technology leaders have talked a lot about digital transformation — but tangible results have seemed to lag behind. In Campus Technology's 2022 Digital Transformation Survey, 60% of respondents said their institutions were still in the planning stages of Dx: exploring the idea of digital transformation, defining what it means, or setting goals and developing a roadmap. Just 27% reported begin in the implementation stage, rolling out new technologies and making progress toward strategic goals.

Looking toward 2023, however, it's time to shift from planning to action. The Educause 2023 Top 10 IT Issues, announced last week at the association's annual conference in Denver, emphasized the importance of putting a foundation in place for the future.   

"In 2023, thinking is giving way to doing," Educause asserted in its report. "The old foundations — from enrollment to credentials to the campus to decision-making — are showing signs of wear. Existing foundations need to be examined and strengthened. New foundations may need to be developed. Institutional and technology leaders are building solid foundation models for higher education."

The 2023 Top 10 IT Issues describe the many facets of that foundational work — areas that institutional and IT leaders are actively addressing in order to move forward:

1) A Seat at the Table: Ensuring IT leadership is a full partner in institutional strategic planning.

2) Privacy and Cybersecurity 101: Embedding privacy and cybersecurity education and awareness in the curriculum and in the workplace.

3) Evolve, Adapt, or Lose Talent: Creating a workplace that allows for and supports movement up down and sideways to accommodate shifts in personal and professional goals and to foster healthier work/life balance.

4) Smooth Sailing for the Student Experience: Using technology, data, insight, and agility to create a frictionless student experience.

5) Enriching the Leadership Playbook: Leading with humility and candor to engage, empower, and retain the IT workforce.

6) Expanding Enrollments and the Bottom Line: Focusing data and analytics initiatives on identifying academic programs with high potential for recruitment ROI.

7) Moving from Data Insight to Data Action: Converting data analytics into action plans to power institutional performance, enhance operational efficiency, and improve student success.

8) A New Era of IT Support: Updating IT services to support remote/hybrid work.

9) Online, In-Person, or Hybrid? Yes: Developing a learning-first, technology-enabled learning strategy.

10) SaaS, ERP, and CRM: An Alphabet Soup of Opportunity. Managing cost, risk, and value of investments in new ERP solutions.

In summary, Educause said, the 2023 Top 10 IT Issues "focus on acting on the results of what we've learned [from the pandemic] and on the challenges that institutions are facing. The issues describe the foundation models that institutional and technology leaders are developing. We're moving from task-specific and silo-specific work and strategy and infrastructure to institution-wide, flexible, reusable models for running the higher education institution and achieving its missions. We're outsourcing technologies and integrating data to achieve the benefits of scale. We're embracing our humanity and our needs for purpose, connection, and trust. And we're continuing to recognize the ongoing duty to safeguard privacy and cybersecurity."

The full 2023 Top 10 IT Issues report does a deep dive into each issue, including commentary from IT Issues panel members, key challenges, and details on the foundational work needed to drive success. Find it and other resources on the Educause site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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