State of IT – Notes from September IT Forum

3 10 2012

Last week, CIO and Vice President for Planning Jerry DeSanto presented on the “State of IT” at the semester’s first IT Forum. His talk provided some really interesting insight into how CIOs strategically plan for the future – see his slides (in pptx) for more detail.

Some of the trends that Jerry discussed:

  • Consumerization – consumers bring their interest in technology to the workplace, and increasingly they’re also bringing their own devices (BYOD) to the workplace as well. For CIOs, this means a shift to supporting a wider variety of devices, with less depth of support for any one device/platform.
  • Cloud services – as we use more cloud computing services, we rely less on the computing power of our desktop computers. Thin clients let users access software from the cloud, so you don’t have to be at a specific workstation to use certain software.
  • Security – cloud computing raises a lot of issues in terms of security and data management – e.g., who owns the data? Is it secure? Is it exportable? Terms of service become very important. IR is working on some additional security initiatives, like two-factor authentication (for high risk data users), forced password changes, and guidelines for remote access (under development) – that is, how to safely work with restricted/confidential data from a non-University device.
  • Teaching and Learning – lots of new developments here – MOOCs, learning analytics, software licensing…
  • Network – The redundancy and reliability of the University network have become increasingly important. At the same time, there are increasing demands on the network (video streaming, gaming…). Our network just underwent a huge upgrade – our bandwidth is now 500 Mb, as compared to 50 Mb back in 2008.
  • Big data – corporations are increasingly leveraging data about their consumers to make decisions and to get a competitive edge. We might start seeing some of these techniques used in higher ed.
  • Business continuity – disaster recovery is really important. We have a good on-site data center, but we need an off-site backup as well.
  • Workforce and services – soft skills are becoming as important in IT as technical skills. As more software-as-a-service tools become available, there’s less need for home-grown solutions.

So there are lots of challenges ahead for Jerry and the IR division. Jerry has given TAG some questions he has about campus technology needs – we’ll be talking at our meeting today about how we can get input from the rest of the faculty. (More notes to come.)



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