A deeper dive into internal and external factors taken into account during strategic plan development.


Ubiquity of technology

IT is omnipresent in our lives. Users’ broad experience with technology leads to high expectations regarding the accessibility, availability, and ease of use of technology. IT enables all aspects of the campus mission.

Impacts on IT:
  • Campus IT must understand these expectations and work to meet them within the resources available.
  • Broad dependence on technology means demand for IT is likely to continue increasing while resources are not likely to increase commensurately.
  • Increased use and availability of technology in society will require the UI to integrate with the technology environment that faculty, staff, and students live in every day.
  • Competition for IT talent is increasing.

Trends in technology

Today technology is everywhere, and the complexity of technology is increasing rapidly. The pace of change in technology is also increasing.

  • Sourcing options, like cloud, are evolving faster than is possible for on-premises services.
  • The Internet of Things will continue to connect more and more devices to campus networks and will generate greater quantities and richness in streaming data sets.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) shows promise for automating many tasks and even increasing accuracy over manual processes in some cases.
  • During the past two decades, most institutional processes have been digitized.
  • Data-driven decision-making is expected.
  • The UI is growing more dependent on external IT vendors and this trend is likely to increase.
Impacts on IT:
  • IT must act nimbly and as an effective broker and partner in this environment to enable individuals to leverage the breadth of the technology landscape to its fullest advantage.
  • The ability to successfully leverage all types of sourcing options is key to keeping up with changes in both technology and our institutional environment.
  • IT must be prepared for the application of AI across all aspects of the institution.
  • The Internet of Things will present unprecedented opportunities to measure and manage the IT environment but will also lead to an increasing vector for cyberattacks.
  • IT will be integral in the ongoing digital transformation.
  • IT must partner with business owners to reimagine processes in a digitally native way with a goal of dramatically increasing efficiency or effectiveness.
  • IT must be able to provide the data, technologies, and decision-support mechanisms needed to foster data-driven decisions.

Compliance and information security

The value of information assets has grown dramatically. Coupled with an increasingly complex technology infrastructure, there is greater opportunity for data theft and infrastructure appropriation than ever before.

Today’s regulatory environment is complex. The U.S. may see easing or consolidation of regulation, but since IT operates within a global context, a reduction in regulatory burden is unlikely.

Impacts on IT:
  • To manage this risk, IT must continue to invest in information security, and work to empower campus with knowledge to effectively identify and manage these risks.
  • IT must be positioned to respond to the complex regulatory environment.

Institutional change

The rapid development of OneIT, initially stimulated by the Board of Regents TIER initiative, is fueling a new vision for working together and minimizing duplication of effort.

Increasing collaboration with healthcare IT will continue this trend, providing an opportunity to improve efficiency of current services, create a more seamless campus IT experience, and address the many new challenges that are evolving for campus IT.

Turnover in institutional leadership positions has increased, and institutional governance has changed. This has led to uncertainty about direction and how decision-making happens.

The potential for significant changes to the institutional budget model is causing uncertainty and depending on how implemented could lead to dramatically different incentive mechanisms.

Campus academic structures are currently under review and may be changed to improve alignment with the future needs of the campus. Should major changes occur this will impact the way OneIT delivers service.

Cluster hires and other interdisciplinary programs and hires are increasingly common.

Impacts on IT:
  • If a greater share of funds is distributed to colleges, service models for OneIT may need modification.
  • IT must be prepared to adapt to changes related to new leadership and campus priorities.
  • IT must be flexible, responsive, and future-focused in periods of uncertainty.
  • To support interdisciplinary efforts, IT will need to span traditional silos and act as a single organization.

Competition and economic outlook

Competition in our core businesses of education, research, and healthcare is increasing and the funding outlook predicts more challenges.

In education, an increasing concern is the perspective that a traditional four-year degree may not represent a good value proposition due to the high costs of tuition, fees, and other expenses. This drives significant pressure to lower costs and reduce student debt. Additionally, new modes of delivery that increase flexibility for lifelong learners are compelling universities to offer new types of degrees and increase online course offerings.

Research funding is increasingly constrained at the federal government level that accounts for the majority of current funding. Federal budgets have been constrained for years, and current political climate indicates that primary research funding agencies are likely to see budget cuts of up to 50 percent in funding programs, further increasing competition. Remaining funding is being increasingly targeted to specific areas that are often focused on grand-challenge problems that require interdisciplinary teams.

Healthcare funding is under pressure at the federal and state levels, with recent changes leading to increased uncertainty and decreased reimbursement rates. Continued cost increases above the rate of inflation are leading to an increase in the number of groups attempting to disrupt the market. Significant competition and lower revenue are leading to a challenging environment in which efficiency is key to continued success.

Impacts on IT:
  • IT must carefully examine the work it is doing and optimize and align services to control costs while meeting the IT needs of the institution.
  • IT must work smoothly across inter- and intra-institutional boundaries and provide services that enable research teams to be competitive with other institutions.
  • New education-delivery formats will require IT to support a different service portfolio. Adaptation may require increased agility from the IT organization.
  • The cost of software and hardware are increasing faster than inflation and sometimes not providing corresponding performance or capacity increases.
  • Enrollment decline may lower revenue and require greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Globalization

In a global economy, the competitive field includes institutions all over the world.

Impacts on IT:
  • Ubiquitous telecommunication technology is fueling expectations that study or work can be performed from anywhere with connectivity.
  • As the UI finds itself in an increasingly competitive environment, IT needs to work with leadership, faculty, and staff to focus on the areas of IT that differentiate the UI and allow it to remain competitive.

Demographics

An aging population will also mean an increase in healthcare needs and impacts to our workforce with many longtime employees retiring.

Declining birthrates are set to significantly impact us in coming years. With a smaller core traditional undergraduate student population, increased competition for these individuals is expected.

Traditionally the United States has been able to significantly offset these trends through immigration. UI has seen dramatic decreases in international students, and the current environment of immigration policy could lead to more challenges recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students of diverse cultures.

Impacts on IT:
  • As competition for traditional students increases, IT needs to be ready to support whatever institutional strategies are adopted.
  • IT needs to prepare its aging workforce with intentional succession planning.
  • This could lead to significant challenges in meeting IT workforce needs as skillset requirements rapidly change.

The changing academy

Traditionally faculty have been viewed as “jacks of all trades”—charged with teaching, research, and service. Increasingly these roles are being broken up, with individuals focusing on one area.

Traditional academic boundaries at the collegiate level are becoming more porous as it becomes more common for individuals to have positions that span multiple colleges and departments.

Traditional lecture-style courses are increasingly being replaced by other teaching methods, such as flipping classrooms, active learning, group projects, or online delivery.

Impacts on IT:
  • There will be less overlap across the areas of teaching, research, and service, and technology demands within a specific area may be greater.
  • An increase in interdisciplinary work will require IT to provide consistent experiences across silos to help collaborators be effective and efficient.
  • New delivery methods require different kinds of technology and pedagogical support to succeed.