Posted by: bluesyemre | March 12, 2018

Know what’s important and where to focus: #StrategicTrends and #Technologies


Since 2014, EDUCAUSE has examined higher education’s top strategic technology priorities and the trends that influence institutional and IT strategy. The 2018 Higher Education’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies and Trends research provides a snapshot of the relatively new technological investments colleges and universities will be spending the most time implementing, planning, and tracking, as well as the trends that influence IT directions in higher education. Together with the EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues list (now in its 18th year), these resources help IT leaders know what’s important and where to focus in their IT planning and management activities.

2018 Trends

Trends are the pervasive external factors that influence institutional and IT strategy and often shape institutional adoption of technologies. We studied 39 trends in 2018, ranging from adaptive learning to vendor relationships that bypass IT, ranking them from the most influential to those with limited influence (see figure 1). These five trends are exerting the most influence on higher education’s IT strategy:

  • Complexity of security threats
  • Student success focus/imperatives
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Contributions of IT to institutional operational excellence
  • Increasing complexity of technology, architecture, and data

Each of these trends is influential at 61% or more of colleges and universities. Ten trends, including the Internet of Things and the applications and implications of artificial intelligence to higher education, have limited influence on institutional and IT strategy.

2018 Strategic Technologies

We studied 73 strategic technologies in 2018. Our definition of strategic technologies is specific — they are the relatively new technologies that institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning for, and tracking in 2018. Tracking, planning, and implementing are strategic and forward-facing functions, not necessarily operational ones. None of the strategic technologies analyzed in this research is currently in place in more than 30% of institutions (our threshold for moving a new technology from a strategic to an operational mindset). This year’s top 10 strategic technologies are characterized by technologies that will facilitate student success, teaching and learning, and moving to the cloud:

  1. Uses of APIs
  2. Active learning classrooms
  3. Incorporation of mobile devices in teaching and learning
  4. Mobile apps for enterprise applications
  5. Technologies for improving analysis of student data
  6. Technologies for planning and mapping student educational plans
  7. Blended data center (on premises and cloud based)
  8. Predictive analytics for student success (institutional level)
  9. Database encryption
  10. (tie) IT asset management tools (e.g., CMDB)
  11. (tie) Student success planning systems

Our 2018 technologies and trends research includes a number of different reports and resources (note that individual resources are available to EDUCAUSE members only).

Issues, Technologies, and Trends — Oh My!

Collectively, the 2018 top trends and strategic technologies support the four major themes of the Top 10 IT Issues: institutional adaptiveness, improved student outcomes, improved decision-making, and IT adaptiveness. Table 1 maps the Top 10 IT Issues theme, individual IT issues, and the top trends and technologies to help leaders jump-start these conversations.

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