Integrations and Partnerships: Communicating about IT's Value

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The Enterprise IT Program is focusing this year on integrations and partnerships. You can read about our plan for the year in this blog. As new resources for integrations and partnerships become available, they will be published on the Enterprise IT Program webpage. This quarter’s focus is on communicating about costs and value, specifically, how to communicate across the enterprise in ways that help campus leaders understand IT’s value. Relationship management plays a big role here. If IT leaders have already invested in cross-enterprise partnerships, they may find this easier than if the conversations need to start with outreach and bridge building.

Technology is expensive. Enterprise systems can be extremely so. Technology also pervades pretty much every aspect of higher education, so it’s important to be able to understand and communicate about those costs. But the conversation needs to go beyond just the cost of technology; it needs to include value as well. Across the enterprise, institutional leaders are trying to make the best decisions they can about resources, investments, and progress toward goals. The IT leader needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively about the value that technology brings to the institution. The conversation needs to move beyond “what does it cost” in order to get to “what impact does this technology have on the institution’s goals?” This is not an easy conversation. It’s difficult to determine the full cost of a technology service at an institution, and defining its value is arguably no easier.

It’s important for the IT leader to go into these conversations with a clear understanding of how the technology in question impacts institutional goals and strategies. This kind of conversation requires listening skills, an understanding of the needs and goals of the institution, and an alignment between IT and the overall institutional strategic initiatives.

The Enterprise IT Program has put together resources that can help. A new webpage devoted to the Costs and Value of Enterprise IT provides access to a set of relevant materials, including research studies, working group papers, benchmarking information, and recent articles from community thought leaders. On that page you’ll also find case studies that describe the efforts of three IT leaders to effectively communicate the value of IT. These case studies point to the importance of understanding the needs of the community, communicating in a way that demonstrates that understanding, and focusing on the value of IT as it relates to institutional goals.

We hope you find these new resources helpful. Send us your questions and your suggestions by contacting [email protected].

If you have a story to tell about your own institution’s work in the area of integrations and partnerships, or if you have suggestions or questions about the Enterprise IT Program, please contact Betsy Tippens Reinitz at [email protected].

Betsy Tippens Reinitz is the director of the enterprise IT program for EDUCAUSE.

© 2017 Betsy Tippens Reinitz. This EDUCAUSE Review blog is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0