At the same time, institutions are struggling to keep up with growing IT requirements. Eighty-two percent of HED IT executives surveyed say their network is more complex today than two years ago, and there is no additional IT budget to support these new requirements. HED IT pros note that the primary factors driving the increased network complexity include increased use of mobile devices and mobility requirements (61 percent), an increase in diversity of IT needs among end users (57 percent), and an increased number of applications (50 percent).
As institutions turn to the cloud, their IT pros give current deployments mixed grades. When asked to rate their satisfaction with services they have deployed using a cloud model, 69 percent were satisfied with their learning management systems, 67 percent with their blended learning environments, 54 percent with their Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and 47 percent with their Open Educational Resources (OERs).
Additionally, HED IT execs report a collaboration chasm between IT and academic departments – 81 percent say it is not standard operating procedure for IT and academic departments to jointly develop plans for future IT-related initiatives. This disconnect is directly reflected in the working relationship between the two tribes – 57 percent believe end users view their department as the “fix it” folks, and just 22 percent say they are viewed as a trusted ally.
As they face these challenges head on in an effort to enable their institutions’ academic missions, HED IT executives recognize the cloud opportunity. Fifty-three percent say cloud is vital to their institution’s future competitiveness. More than one-third say cloud will help improve student retention rates. While they currently face IT roadblocks, cloud is proving to be the key to progress.
“IT can help transform and evolve the student learning experience,” said
HED institutions are taking action, as many are deploying cloud computing. HED IT pros tell us that 54 percent have migrated email, and 30 percent offer conferencing and collaboration. Considering the flavors of cloud, 35 percent have deployed Software-as-a-Service, 20 percent Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and 17 percent Platform-as-a-Service. Despite these steps forward, IT departments continue to face barriers to cloud migration – namely security, cost, and culture.
Additionally, institutions recognize the power of software-defined environments. Though just one in five have deployed software-defined technology, more than twice as many see it as an effective solution for their IT challenges. To address growing IT requirements, the primary enterprise benefits they see to a truly centralized, software-defined campus include increased operational efficiency (54 percent), improved continuity of operations (48 percent), improved security (45 percent), decreased operating expenditures (41 percent), and decreased capital expenditures (40 percent).
Institutions need to take key steps necessary to centralize IT and make the most of cloud, software-defined technology, and “as-a-Service” solutions. Today:
HED IT pros recommend steps to improve IT value, including greater collaboration between IT and academic departments (59 percent), reducing redundant systems (40 percent) and increased investment in key solution areas including virtualization (38 percent), cloud (27 percent), and software-defined data centers and storage (26 percent).
“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.”
The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk.