Breaking Down Inside Higher Ed’s 2023 Survey of Higher Education CIOs and CTOs

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In the second annual Survey of Campus Chief Technology/Information Officers, Inside Higher Ed partnered with Hannover Research to understand how higher education CIOs and CTOs viewed some of the more prominent challenges facing higher education. The report sought answers to questions involving everything from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity to higher education IT staffing. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the prominent statistics from the report and explored how institutions can work with a trusted technology provider to respond to some of these challenges.

Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Higher Education

The 2023 Survey: Few CIOs reported that their institution had made meaningful investments in emergent technologies. In terms of prioritizing investments in artificial intelligence, less than one-fifth of CIOs indicated that it was a “high priority” and over two-thirds indicated that it was a low to medium priority at their institution.

Response: It makes sense that centers of intellectual curiosity and learning would be wary about investing in artificial intelligence, but when it comes to simplifying day-to-day operations, artificial intelligence can actually play a key role on college campuses. AI can help systems and users analyze and synthesize data, identifying operations that can be more efficient and providing suggestions for making solutions more cost-effective. Even if institutions aren’t actively investing in AI, many of their campus solutions providers are. If colleges and universities leverage modern technology solutions, they may be using AI or machine learning on some level, which can benefit schools in the long run.

Building Relationships Between College Presidents and CIOs

The 2023 Survey: Like last year, the survey showed discrepancies between CIO and college president priorities. This year’s survey revealed that 73% of CIOs personally believe digital transformation is a “high priority” or “essential” for their institution, but only 51% indicated that digital transformation is a “high priority” or “essential” for leaders at their institution. Similarly, nearly two-thirds of CIOs indicated that their institution has not set specific goals for digital transformation.

Response: College presidents aren’t often day-to-day users of their college tech—so if the tech isn’t broken, why fix it? But given how many departures we’ve seen from presidents who have either neglected digital transformation at great cost to the institution or have overseen failed digital transformation initiatives, it’s surprising that many college presidents still aren’t deeply involved in their campus technology decisions.

In most cases, the most successful digital transformations are those in which the presidents and CIOs/CTOs are collaborating closely. Strong communications between presidents and CIOs ensure that all college leaders understand the benefits of digital transformation. Presidents who recognize the role technology plays in institutional sustainability and student success are those who oversee the most successful technology transformations. It’s no wonder we’ve seen a trend of CIOs and CTOs moving on to become college presidents.

Higher Education's IT Hiring Crisis

The 2023 Survey: Unsurprisingly, hiring woes continue. According to the survey, 77% of CIOs agree that their institution is struggling to hire new IT employees.

Response: Given that the majority of higher education can’t pay as much as the private sector, and that skilled IT employees are in high demand across every business market, it’s not too much of a surprise that institutions are struggling to hire and retain IT staff. Short of expanding the budget, there’s not much institutions can do to lure IT professionals away from corporate America. This means CIOs and CTOs need to consider how they work around staff shortages. One way to combat the staffing crisis is to modernize technology. Modern ERP systems can automate tasks and optimize processes, which means fewer staff can work more efficiently and still accomplish mission-critical goals.

If all possible efficiencies have been put in place and IT teams still need staffing, institutions can look to a trusted services provider to fill in the gaps. Jenzabar offers a host of IT and managed services, including staffing services, that can help institutions with everything from implementing new technologies to short- and long-term IT staffing.

This is just a brief snapshot of the insights the 2023 Survey of Chief Information and Chief Technology Officers offer. If you’re interested in reading the full survey, you can access it here. You can also watch Inside Higher Ed’s webinar which breaks down the survey findings even further.

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