Determining the Next Phase of the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program

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In 2020, the Enterprise IT Program will examine the state of enterprise IT in higher education today and consider changes to the program that bring innovation and transformation elements into program resources while continuing to offer value through the enterprise IT themes we've explored over the last several years.

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Credit: kentoh / © 2020

During the past several years, the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program has explored five themes: technology strategy, analytics, business process management, IT governance and relationship management, and the costs and value of information technology. We've published case studies, blog posts, and other resources that examine the importance of those five themes to the higher education enterprise IT function. Each year we've looked at those themes through a different lens:

  • In 2016, we explored the impact of cloud services and migrations on the program themes, focusing on the evolution of the IT role from that of technology provider to service provider with the broadening acceptance of cloud services as a standard part of the institutional IT ecosystem.1
  • In 2017, we turned our attention to issues related to integration and partnerships and considered the growing importance of integrating data and information technology into institutional strategy, as well as the need for cultivating partnerships with service providers and collaborative consortia.2
  • In 2018, we focused on next-generation enterprise IT, the complex ecosystem of applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies that has come to make up the typical enterprise environment. In this evolving landscape, information technology has become more mission-centric and client-focused, positioning the integration of digital technologies into every area of the institution in a way that increases value across all aspects of the higher education mission.3
  • In 2019, we took next-generation enterprise IT a step further and explored the role of enterprise IT in the evolving arena of digital transformation (Dx). This evolution brings 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 the institution, adding value in direct relationship with the Dx goals of the institution.4

Read more about each year's themes and resources by clicking on the links above. You can also access program materials on the Enterprise IT website.

Our exploration of digital transformation during the past year has led us to believe that enterprise IT is evolving in significant and important ways. The recent publication of the EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues also points to a changing higher education landscape for enterprise IT leaders to navigate.

The EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues tell a story of how higher education is beginning its digital transformation journey. Colleges and universities are working to unmake old practices and structures that have become inefficient and are preparing to use technology and data to better understand and support students and to become more student-centric. They are working to fund technology and to sustainably manage and secure data and privacy. Higher education institutions are applying data and technology to innovate student outcomes and experiences. Finally, the role of the CIO is undergoing its own transformation in order to advance institutional priorities through the use of technology. Higher education's drive to digital transformation is beginning.5

As a result of these changes, or sometimes in preparation for them, many institutions are creating new leadership roles, such as chief innovation officer and chief data officer, and increasing positions related to enterprise architecture, business architecture, and technology architecture to adapt to changing times and growing challenges. These same changes are helping higher education institutions to embrace digital resources more deeply and requiring campus leaders to coordinate and consult with one another more often.

Higher education, like every other industry, is venturing into uncharted territory with digital transformation. The CIO can help navigate by providing guidance on how technology can realistically contribute to institutional ambitions and by ensuring that the IT organization can effectively execute its work.6

As the Top 10 IT Issues report points out, the drive to digital transformation requires that IT leaders work to simplify and sustain the technology and processes at their institutions while they also encourage the development of new competencies in innovation and creativity across multiple institutional roles. This need to simplify, sustain, and innovate has practical implications for enterprise IT as institutions attempt to streamline operations, increase coordination and shared goals, and emphasize a sharper focus on institutional outcomes.

In response to this changing landscape, we're going to take time in 2020 to examine the state of enterprise IT in higher education and consider ways to refocus on those areas that are most crucial for your success. We will explore ways to bring elements into the program that help you increase innovation and transformation at your institution while continuing to offer value through the enterprise IT themes we've explored for several years.

To that end, we'll be engaging in one-on-one conversations with a wide variety of EDUCAUSE members—IT leaders, enterprise IT staff, data professionals, enterprise architects—anyone who would like to contribute to our thinking about next steps for this programmatic area. If you would like to be part of this planning, please email Betsy Reinitz at [email protected] and we'll schedule a time to talk.

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 web page.


  1. Betsy Reinitz, "Change Is Afoot: Developing an Institutional Cloud Strategy," Enterprise Connections (blog), EDUCAUSE Review, May 2, 2016.
  2. Betsy Reinitz, "Integrations and Partnerships," Enterprise Connections (blog), EDUCAUSE Review, January 20, 2017.
  3. Betsy Reinitz, "Preparing the Institution for Next Generation Enterprise IT," Enterprise Connections (blog), EDUCAUSE Review, January 29, 2018.
  4. Betsy Reinitz, "2019 Exploring the Role of Enterprise IT in Digital Transformation," Enterprise Connections (blog), EDUCAUSE Review, January 30, 2019.
  5. Susan Grajek and the 2019-2020 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel, Top 10 IT Issues 2020: The Drive to Digital Transformation Begins, EDUCAUSE Review, January 27, 2020.
  6. Ibid.

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

© 2020 Betsy Tippens Reinitz. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.