Leading Digital Transformation in Higher Education: A Toolkit for Technology Leaders

Leading Digital Transformation in Higher Education: A Toolkit for Technology Leaders

Christine Elizabeth Miller
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7769-0.ch001
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The pace of innovation continues to accelerate. Students expect campuses to keep pace with the technology they use in their daily lives, and the technology they will likely need to use when they enter the workforce as graduates. Students and their families now pay more of the costs associated with earning a degree, and they want to have a voice in campus planning and decision making. Higher education technology leaders will need to help their campuses shift from incremental adoption of disparate technologies to digital transformation. Digital transformation includes adopting innovative technologies to transform mission critical activities and optimizing related processes and data with the objective of increasing customer satisfaction and providing an excellent end user experience. To guide digital transformation, technology leaders in higher education need a toolkit to build buy-in and facilitate cultural transformation on their campuses.
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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and scholars affiliated with research universities such as MIT and UCLA collaborated to develop the network of networks that we call the Internet (Leiner et al., 1997). The technology leadership role once played by higher education lapsed in the dot com and post-dot com eras as the Internet evolved from a predominantly public-sector resource to a predominantly commercial resource. Some universities have innovative research centers such as the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Typically, universities adopt technology innovations at an unhurried pace. When the pace of innovation was slower, universities could exert more control over the pace of adoption. A couple of decades ago, email accounts and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) were for power users, and universities were deciding if they wanted to have websites. These things were still optional in the mid-1990s. They are not optional now, and these technologies, or their successors, are ubiquitous at all universities. Although digital transformation may seem optional now, it will likely become commonplace in the future much like email, FTP, websites, etc. Universities that are effective early adopters of digital transformation will differentiate themselves from their peers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

RACI: This acronym stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. This model provides a useful matrix for clarifying roles and expectations in the context of governance, projects, etc. Responsible generally refers to those who will do the work; accountable refers to the executive sponsor.

Culture: The shared identity of an organization that is both fluid and enduring. Identity is influenced by both the internal and external environment as well as outliers, norms, values, and structures.

Agile: The quality of being quick to respond to change, and the ability to plan for emerging change. Agile project management principles include sprints to produce deliverables quickly, gather feedback to regroup or proceed to the next deliverable.

Transformational Leadership: A type of pragmatic, selfless leadership that focuses on identifying strategies to achieve goals and outcomes rather than recognition.

Technical Debt: The result of taking short cuts for short term gains; the short cuts decrease efficiency and increase costs.

Silos: Semi-autonomous sub-units in an organization. Sub-units can be a barrier to transformation if they own campus-wide processes or data, and they resist collaboration.

Vision: The achievable aspirations of your organization. Ideally, the aspirations are clear and reiterated frequently.

Change Management: The planning and processes associated with identifying all stakeholders, determining their needs, and addressing them to the extent possible.

Business Process Analysis: The act of mapping a business process in a comprehensive manner. The process provides documentation and helps identify improvement opportunities.

IT Governance: The way that a campus defines roles and accountabilities for information technology; this process typically encompasses policies and standards for the multiple technology domains such as security, project management, IT procurement, data, enterprise resources planning, etc.

ADKAR: A change management model created by Jeff Hiatt that includes the following steps: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. The model can be used for both planning and benchmarking.

EDUCAUSE: The leading professional organization for technology leaders and professionals in higher education.

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