Digital Transformation and Enterprise IT: The Role of IT Governance

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In 2019, the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program is examining the relationship between the digital transformation of higher education and enterprise IT. This blog introduces the first theme for the year—the role that IT governance plays in institutional digital transformation initiatives.

image of server array
Credit: kubias / © 2019

The 2019 focus for the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program is the relationship between enterprise IT and digital transformation (Dx). You can read about our plan for the year here. As we prepare new resources for this topic, we will publish them within each Enterprise IT challenge, outlined on the program web page.

In our first set of resources for the year, we look at the role that IT governance plays in institutional Dx initiatives. Digital transformation is bringing a shift in how enterprise IT systems and services are managed and delivered. Enterprise IT leaders are in a position to play an important role in their institution's Dx work, and it starts with the development of a clear connection between the institution's Dx goals and the work of the IT department. An effective IT governance process can help institutional leaders draw the connections between the two, as well as engage stakeholders in the Dx efforts.

This evolution in enterprise IT thinking can be seen as an opportunity for the IT organization to act as a strategic partner in the institution, going beyond the delivery of technologies and services to the integration of technology throughout all aspects of the institution's mission, adding value in a direct relationship with the institution's goals. A focus on the value that technology brings to institutional strategy and goals results in a symbiotic relationship in which technology not only serves but also shapes strategic ambitions. In this evolving environment, information technology becomes mission-centric and client-focused, positioning the college or university to integrate digital technology into every area of the institution in a way that increases value across all aspects of the higher education mission.

Reaching that state of integration, however, requires that stakeholders from all across the institution, not just within IT, are involved and engaged. Nowhere is this engagement more important than with Dx initiatives. Digital transformation involves a major shift in culture and workforce, not just technology. In fact, bringing in shiny new technology is not in itself a transformation. The shift happens when the institution transforms its processes and practices in a way that directly impacts mission and strategy. IT leaders are uniquely positioned to serve as trusted partners and advisors in this work because of the central role of the digital world, allowing them to envision possible digital futures while also working to create the kind of technology environment that enables institutional Dx strategies.

In the Enterprise IT Program's first set of 2019 content, we'll take a look at how effective IT governance can bring those pieces together. A case study from North Carolina State University describes its effort to use IT governance in support of institutional Dx goals.

You can find more resources related to this topic on the Enterprise IT Program's Governance and Relationship Management page, including:

  • Actionable tools, such as the Higher Education IT Governance Checklist and the IT Governance Toolkit
  • Relevant working group materials, EDUCAUSE research, and recent articles from leaders within the EDUCAUSE community

Because the work of IT governance goes far beyond the IT department, the Enterprise IT Program web pages also feature links to resources from other professional associations such as NACUBO (the National Association of College and University Business Officers) and AIR (the Association for Institutional Research). We hope you find these new resources helpful. Send us your questions and suggestions by email.

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

Betsy Tippens Reinitz is Director of the Enterprise IT Program for EDUCAUSE.

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