University IT needs are changing. From the increase in the perceived cost of university attendance, to a demand for blended and online classes, to increased need for improved ERP systems, to increased competition for research dollars, there is pressure for IT to find ways to innovate and be a strategic partner in finding new ways to continue to increase the value proposition in this ever changing landscape. IT is more than a service or commodity, it can be a strategic partner for the University and Colleges in this value preposition.
I had the pleasure of being part of the 2016 MOR Leaders Conference – Reimagining IT as University Needs and Technology Evolve where this area was much of the conversation. When IT leadership from 26 schools get together to talk about this important topic, great ideas come up.
University of Iowa CIO Steve Fleagle presented, talking about some of the financial and security pressures that shaped some of the ways they re-imagined IT. I was particularly motivated by the quote “It’s hard for people to let go of the past if you can’t grab onto the future”. Additionally, I got the chance to see Washington University in St. Louis CIO John Gohsman speak again about the ways they reimagined IT. There were also some great discussions at Nebraska, such as UNL ITS Client Services Director Neil Wineman talking about how leveraging distributed IT has the potential for significant positive impact. UNL CIO Mark Askren’s positive comments about the future and the solicitation for ideas and feedback was inspirational.
I was particularly excited about the discussions in Nebraska we were having about what trends we were seeing in the University of Nebraska system. When I had the opportunity to synthesize and present our analysis of these trends to the 1,600 people attending the conference, I felt a great sense of comradery. We are not facing these challenges alone. As MOR says: “The answer is in the room”.