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EDUCAUSE’s Top 10 IT Issues of 2015 Define the ‘New Normal’ for Higher Ed

Technologies and policies to support mobile devices on campuses dominated this year’s list.

The “new normal” for higher education IT involves juggling the challenges of security, cost and productivity while providing user support for rapidly expanding technologies on campus.

That’s the takeaway from the 2015 Top 10 IT Issues list, released Wednesday by EDUCAUSE, higher education’s largest technology association. The list helps faculty members put the multitude of technology issues facing higher education into perspective and focus on those issues that could have the most impact.

EDUCAUSE’s Top 10 IT Issues of 2015

  1. Hiring and retaining qualified staff, and updating the knowledge and skills of existing technology staff
  2. Optimizing the use of technology in teaching and learning in collaboration with academic leadership, including understanding the appropriate level of technology to use
  3. Developing IT funding models that sustain core service, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  4. Improving student outcomes through an institutional approach that strategically leverages technology
  5. Demonstrating the business value of information technology and how technology and the IT organization can help the institution achieve its goals
  6. Increasing the IT organization’s capacity for managing change, despite differing community needs, priorities, and abilities
  7. Providing user support in the new normal — mobile, online education, cloud, and BYOD environments
  8. Developing mobile, cloud, and digital security policies that work for most of the institutional community
  9. Developing an enterprise IT architecture that can respond to changing conditions and new opportunities
  10. Balancing agility, openness, and security

A research panel including CIOs and other IT leaders helped determine which issues made it onto this year’s list. The entire membership of EDUCAUSE was then surveyed to rank the issues. 

Improving student outcomes by strategically leveraging technology was the No. 1 issue of 2014. That issue dropped to fourth on this year’s list and was replaced by the need to hire and retain qualified staff while updating the knowledge and skills of existing technology staff.

Higher education IT has reached an inflection point, says Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE’s vice president for data, research and analytics. In particular, she says mobile needs have risen on this year’s list. The need to provide security and policies to govern the explosion of mobile technology use on higher education campuses dominated IT concerns for the future.

“If you aren't already actively making sure you can support mobile devices for enterprise applications and have security in place for them, then you have to start now, because it's time to stop talking and start doing,” Grajek says.

The list, along with a detailed breakdown of each item, can be viewed on EDUCAUSE’s website.

Jan 14 2015