Using Analytics To Make The Right Investment

Using Analytics To Make The Right Investment

By Jack Suess, VP-IT & CIO, UMBC

Jack Suess, VP-IT & CIO, UMBC

Innovative Ways to Foster Growth Within Their Organizations

For CIOs to be effective leaders and stay on top of so many changing technologies they must build strong personal networks by actively engaging in community organizations and collaborating with their professional peers.

What is truly unique about the higher education sector is this - while we may fiercely compete in athletics and for the best students and faculty; in information technology we collaborate and share information. This collaboration has resulted in the creation of a number of community organizations that leverage community experts to provide effective practices, a few of the ones I consistently use are these:

• The Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) and the Indiana REN-ISAC provide critical guidance on best practices in security and risk management;
• Internet2, especially the NET+ program and In Common, are providing support for advanced services through the creation of model contracts, security controls, and integration solutions for cloud services;
• The IMS global organization is developing standards and conformance programs to make certain that new learning technologies seamlessly integrate with our existing systems; and
• EDUCAUSE, especially in the management of IT services and teaching and learning with technology, is surveying the community, identifying and describing effective practices, and providing the professional development necessary to build strong IT organizations.

I believe it is essential for CIO’s to find the time to understand and track what these organizations do and to engage with these organizations and/or get staff in their organizations actively engaging in the committees and work groups. By doing so you can contribute to the common good and get the benefit of some of the best minds in higher education to help anticipate and avoid problems discovered by other institutions.

Technological Trends Impacting the Education Sector

The two technology trends I feel have the greatest opportunity to change higher education and support my institution’s strategic goals are

1) the use of analytics, and
2) supporting the Internet2 NET+ program to advance our use of cloud services.

Broadly speaking, the use of analytics to support deeper analysis of critical issues around student success and institutional performance is fundamental to making the right investments. In addition, through the use of analytics we can measure and assess our progress and take corrections if necessary.

The Internet2 NET+ program, which leverages the In Common identity trust services, is at the very core of our strategy to deliver robust services that can quickly scale up and support the changing demands of students, faculty, and staff. Through the Internet2 NET+ program we are working closely with other higher education institutions to tailor commercial and community cloud services to the needs of higher education.

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