How Improving the Everyday Stuff Can Help Transform an Institution

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Ensuring better IT service delivery can help to support the organizational changes that are necessary to implement Dx initiatives.

The words Continuous Improvement on circular ribbons in an everlasting pattern
Credit: iQoncept / © 2019

In 2019, the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program's focus is on the relationship between enterprise IT and digital transformation (Dx). You can read about the Enterprise IT Program plan for the year in the blog post "2019 Exploring the Role of Enterprise IT in Digital Transformation."1 As we prepare new resources related to our 2019 focus, we will publish them on the Enterprise IT Program web page.

Our fourth set of resources for 2019 looks at the importance of continuous efforts to improve enterprise IT service delivery. Ensuring better IT service delivery allows improvements to be as effective and efficient as possible as IT departments align with and support the achievement of institutional Dx initiatives.

Dx brings with it shifts in culture, workforce, and technology. Improvement initiatives provide the opportunity to work on any or all three of these shifts:

  • Continually working to perfect services will advance efforts to create an agile culture of continuous improvement.
  • Carefully determining if any new or enhanced competencies are required to implement improved services will help to transform your workforce.
  • Evaluating existing technologies or researching new technologies to facilitate service improvements will enable you to transform the technology used at your institution.

"How things are done around here" is one way of thinking about an institution's culture. As IT leaders kick off improvement efforts and work to ensure that enterprise IT services better meet stakeholder needs and help their institutions achieve their goals, stakeholders will notice. And, doing these things across the complete IT service portfolio will help to make continuous improvement a part of the IT organization's culture and, hopefully, seed these ideas across the institution working to transform its culture.

As IT leaders work to improve their services, they can identify skills and competencies that would facilitate the most effective and efficient delivery of service improvements. Once these skills and competencies are determined, comparing them to the current skills and competencies of staff members may identify gaps and provide information for professional development. As staff members develop and increase their competencies, and the IT workforce transforms for the future, IT services will be better delivered to stakeholders.

Finally, technology improvement efforts provide an opportunity to facilitate Dx. As services for improvement are identified, IT leaders and others should examine both their existing technology and the technology landscape to identify if newer and/or different technology is available to help. Perhaps retiring or replacing an existing system will create an opportunity to improve service delivery. Maybe an on-premise system's services could be improved by moving the system to the cloud. Possibly a peer group has implemented something innovative that could be tried at your institution.

The Enterprise IT Program has developed a fourth set of resources related to the intersection of Dx and enterprise IT. Case studies from the University of Alaska and the University of Texas at San Antonio illustrate how two institutions have used their improvement efforts to better deliver institutional services.

You will find more resources related to this topic in the Enterprise IT Program's Business Process Management Toolkit, including EDUCAUSE Review articles on the following topics:

  • Tips on how to avoid common process improvement mistakes
  • A series of case studies describing how several institutions brought their institutional and business processes into alignment
  • Information about how to develop an institutional process improvement unit

Improving the processes by which an institution functions involves participation from people across the organization—including and beyond the IT department. To facilitate such efforts, the Enterprise IT Program web pages also feature links to other professional associations, such as the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and the Association for Institutional Research (AIR).

We hope you find these new resources and the Enterprise IT Program helpful. Send us your questions, ideas, and suggestions by email.

If you have a story to tell about your institution's work in the area of digital transformation, or if you have suggestions or questions about the Enterprise IT Program, please contact Andy Clark or Betsy Reinitz.

For more on enterprise IT issues and leadership perspectives in higher education, please visit the EDUCAUSE Review Enterprise Connections blog as well as the Enterprise IT Program page.


  1. Betsy Reinitz, "2019 Exploring the Role of Enterprise IT in Digital Transformation," Enterprise Connections (blog), EDUCAUSE Review, January 30, 2019.

Andy Clark is the Enterprise IT Program Manager at EDUCAUSE.

© 2019 Andy Clark. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.