The EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues [video]

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A quick look at this year’s themes and issues.

Illustrations credit: Brian Stauffer

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The EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues tell a story of how higher education is beginning its drive to digital transformation.

The Issues cluster around four themes.


Higher education can no longer operate in growth mode. Today's higher education leaders recognize that they cannot build on existing processes to meet constituents' expectations. They need to unmake in order to remake.

This remaking consists of Issue #4, Digital Integrations, and Issue #9, Administrative Simplification.


Sustainability has become the new prosperity. Sustainability also asks a larger question: How do we make higher education affordable to students? Finally, there's a new component to sustainability: data.

The top 3 issues on the 2020 list can be found under this theme: Issue #1, Information Security Strategy; Issue #2, Privacy; and Issue #3, Sustainable Funding. Also included is Issue #8, Higher Education Affordability.


Innovation is essential as we recognize that yesterday is no template for tomorrow. Institutions are especially focused on changing students' experiences and outcomes and on attracting more learners.

Issue #5, Student-Centric Higher Education, Issue #6, Student Retention and Completion, and Issue #7, Improved Enrollment, are found under this theme.

Drive to Dx

Every journey has a destination, and some navigational help is always handy. This is especially true when traveling to new destinations. 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.

This theme consists of only one issue: #10, The Integrative CIO.

It's Time to Get Moving

The road to digital transformation is not well marked. It is full of potholes and other hazards. It is sure to be uncomfortable and unpredictable. It is most definitely not a straight line. But it's time for those of us in higher education information technology to start the journey.

Additional Resources on the EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues Website:

  • EDUCAUSE Review Special Report

  • An interactive graphic depicting year-to-year trends

  • Recommended readings and EDUCAUSE resources for each of the issues

  • More subject-matter-specific viewpoints on the Top 10 IT issues

  • The Top 10 IT Issues presentation at the EDUCAUSE 2019 Annual Conference