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Editor's Note

Shut the Door On Your Way Out

University Business, Dec 2004

I for one can't wait to close out this year and move on to '05. War, elections, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, coupled with far too much Janet, Martha, Kobe, The Donald, and way too much of Dan, Peter and Tom reporting election spin and the latest poll results.

I thought the only event missing from this crazy year was a plague of locusts, then at deadline, I came across a news item from Egypt that reported a plague of billions of locusts swarmed into Cairo for the first time in 50 years. And to top it all off, the Boston Red Sox finally captured a World Series after 86 frustrating seasons. Bizarre.

Good riddance '04...shut the door on your way out.

Rather than dwell on the past, I thought this is a good time to take a peek into what we have to look forward to next year on the technological front. So I sifted through a year's worth of UB back issues and perused a bundle of hefty surveys and reports from Eduventures, EDUCAUSE, and Market Data Retrieval (MDR), in an attempt to draw a bead on what impact technology will have on campuses next year.

Far too much Janet, Martha,

Kobe, The Donald...and

a plague of locusts.

Implementing wireless networks and improving security are still priorities for IHEs--no surprise there. Funding IT projects will remain an issue. IHEs will continue to wrestle with tight budgets due to the slowpoke economy and bare-bones state budgets coupled with lackluster fundraising results. However, IHEs will still spend in excess of $5.3 billion on technology-related products and services, up about 3 percent compared with 2003, according to the annual MDR report. MDR points out that "outsourcing" will continue to grow, as tech administrators seek to save money in an effort to invest in their priority list.

According to the results of the fifth annual EDUCAUSE survey, respondents ranked the following issues as top priorities for IT departments: administrative/ERP/information systems, funding IT, infrastructure management, security and identity management, strategic planning, service and support.

Eduventures' annual "Higher Education Survey on Leadership, Innovation, and Technology" produced some interesting findings. The mission of the survey was to see how non-CIO/CTO senior administrators are influencing technology on campus. The survey found that the top five overall strategic objectives of presidents, CAOs and CFOs to utilize technology are:

Attract a higher-caliber student body.

Support faculty research.

Involve more students in research.

Improve business process.

Enhance productivity of faculty and administrators.

The survey found that senior administrators "continue to look to technology for administrative functions, including improving business processes, enhancing staff productivity, and improving institutional communication." In addition, respondents said they associate technology with "enhancing teaching and learning and increasing innovation--where outcomes are most difficult to measure."

Regarding wireless, the MDR report said one of the most striking results of its survey was the "dramatic increase" in wireless networks. The data found double-digit growth in wireless implementations during the last three years, with some 70 percent of the nation's campuses either using or having access to a wireless network.

In addition, the EDUCAUSE survey reports that a few new issues cracked their Top 10 list of IT concerns: Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and Governance, Organization and IT Leadership. These issues reflect a "growing realization of the strategic importance of IT and the close relationship of leadership and governance for this critical resource," the report said.

All in all, I'm looking forward to next year and we intend to cover the issues mentioned above. Feel free to drop me an e-mail if we missed the boat on a topic or technology so we can plug it in into our editorial calendar. By the way, I just remembered that after 17 dormant years, the Cicadas emerged from the earth this past summer. See you next year...

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