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EDUCAUSE 2018 Highlights

At the end of each EDUCAUSE annual conference, I take time to look back on the conversations and meetings that took place to see what jumps out at me. This year, I didn’t have to think twice.

 

What I Heard

For the first time, I met teams of people—including IT, curriculum, and even administrators—who were looking for ways to jointly meet institutional goals. This is in contrast to individual IT professionals seeking ways to improve technology services. Several meetings included stakeholders from both sides, asking questions and, at times, compromising when reaching a solution.

Why It Matters

This type of collaboration isn’t subtle in my mind and almost certainly results in a more strategic and balanced effort toward achieving a university’s business goals and institutional operational excellence (see Higher Education’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies and Trends for 2018). Instead of the conversation focusing on technological capabilities, it shifts to enhancing student and faculty experience or finding ways to better support research.

What a breath of fresh air it was to be invited to a meeting at a nearby hotel to have a discussion with a team of people from a university that included a broad representation from the IT department but also faculty and facilities administrators. The administrator of a university’s SIS even attended, and the CIO who couldn’t be there had been intimately involved in prepping for the day, showing trust and confidence in those who went to Denver to represent the university.

What It Means to You

If institutions of higher education are looking to digitally transform their business—whether that’s changing the relationship between IT and faculty, decreasing a university’s carbon footprint, or successfully overcoming the reality of providing best-in-class IT services in the Digital Era with little to no additional resources—VMware believes we have a role to play in being one of your most strategic partners, and one that helps you actually transform the way you do things to support ever-changing goals and opportunities.  If we are “just” talking tech, our ability to be a strategic partner is greatly diminished and we end up selling you storage. There is certainly nothing wrong with that and we are grateful for the business, but if your mission, focus, and efforts are highly strategic, we can more easily respond with a strategic conversation about how VMware technology can play a role in what you care about most.

Moving Forward

I came away energized and refreshed from EDUCAUSE 2018 and I hope you did, too. If you are in a position to have these types of conversations, we hope you will reach out.  If you aren’t, reach out anyway and maybe we can connect you with schools who have already tackled siloes and institutional politics in the name of excellence, the environment, and lowering costs.