EDUCAUSE, higher education’s largest technology association, released its annual list of Top 10 IT Issues for 2017 this week.
EDUCAUSE will also publish two related reports later this year: the annual Top 10 Strategic Technologies report, which identifies relatively new technologies that institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning, and tracking in 2017 and Trends Watch 2017, which identifies IT and other trends exerting the most influence over IT strategy.
“The Top 10 IT Issues List may not change dramatically from year to year, because it takes many years to tackle the most significant issues,” says Susan Grajek, vice president of data, research, and analytics at EDUCAUSE. “But in discussions among the panel members who developed the final list, the primary priority for addressing today’s digital challenges was student success.”
Along with—and contributing to—student success, panelists also prioritized institutional success. These foci are illustrated throughout the IT issues, which can be categorized into the following four related themes: IT foundations, data foundations, effective leadership, and successful students:
“EDUCAUSE members understand their challenge, which is to use information technology to address their institutions’ most pressing priorities,” said Grajek. “Student success emerges for 2017 as the most foundations, ensure effective leadership and enable successful students.”
EDUCAUSE 2017 research–including The Top 10 IT Issues report, The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report, and the Trends Watch report–is important to higher education leaders and decision makers because it helps them anticipate and articulate challenges and inform their actions and strategic plans.
The list of top IT issues is developed by a panel of experts comprised of higher education IT and non-IT leaders, Chief Information Officers (CIO), and faculty members–and then voted on by the EDUCAUSE community. The annual Top 10 Strategic Technologies and Top Trends were identified during that same voting process.
The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report identifies relatively new technologies that institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning, and tracking in 2017. The Top 10 Strategic Technologies were selected from a vetted set of 85 technologies.
The Top Trends report describes the trends EDUCAUSE members predict will exert the most influence over their IT strategy in 2017. The Top Trends were those that fell into the top 2 tiers of influence; they are 12 of a full set of 36 trends that also included Internet of Things, sustainability, and changing faculty roles.
The technologies and trends findings reinforce student success as a central theme for higher education information technology in 2017—more than half of the EDUCAUSE Top 10 Emergent Technologies for 2017 pertain to student success. Two of the three most influential 2017 trends are pertinent to student success: student success focus/imperatives and data-driven decision making.
“The distinction between the priorities of the IT organization and those of the institution is blurring, and panelists were very conscious of that,” said Grajek. “Collaboration across campus is more important now than ever before as we truly understand the impact it can have on institutional and student success.“
The Top 10 IT Issues report and accompanying resources are available at www.educause.edu/itissues. The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report will be published end of January at www.educause.edu/top10tech2017.
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