2010 Lev Gonick Predictions – The Year Ahead for IT in Higher Education

In one of the most insightful reviews of the year to come, Lev Gonick shares his top trends for higher education for 2010. Combined with Gilfus Education Group predictions from EDUCAUSE we CHALK 2010 up as a year of continued Education Innovation.”
– Stephen Gilfus, Gilfus Education Group

January 06, 2010
Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

2010: The Year Ahead for IT in Higher Education

  1. Public Cloud Services Go Private.
  2. The President’s Climate Commitment Meets the Campus Data Center.
  3. Big Science meets Next Generation CyberInfrastructure.
  4. Time to Declare the PC Dead and Embrace the Mobile Platform.
  5. The E-Book Reader Grows up and Goes to Campus.
  6. Social Networking Finds its Niche at College.
  7. Course Management Platform Alternatives Make Major Inroads.
  8. Serious Gaming Gets Serious.
  9. Mobile Security Hits the College Campus.
  10. Open Content meets the Open University and the Vision of the Metaversity.

What a difference a year makes. Most CIOs in higher education are turning their 2009 holiday stockings inside out looking for any extra crumbs that Kris Kringle might have left behind. For many technology leaders, the general fiscal crunch facing higher education – and the double digit percentage cuts to IT budgets it has compelled — may have made playing the holiday Scrooge a piece of cake compared to the negative consequences to core IT services and offerings likely in the year ahead.

To those living with the hopeful yet delusional strategy of an early return to the status quo ante, my suggestion is to get use to the so-called “new normal”. The reality of our 2010 technology services portfolio on the campus is likely to make CIO leadership seem more like ‘high siding’, the art of leading a white water river raft down a Class 6 set of rapids, than the image of the captain of the enterprise ocean liner that many associate with the slow moving, reliable, robust, legacy organization on campus. High siding is the deliberate act of leaning the weight of the entire raft and its riders towards the obstacles ahead, rather than approaching the obstacles sideways following the current.

The new normal carries the contradictions of both a fragile macro-economic recovery and a countervailing trend of only modest increases in enrollment and new federal research investments predicted for the fall of 2010 (with the important exception of the community college environment). The new normal is less financial leverage and smaller investments in core infrastructure, including IT on campus, even though the price of borrowing money has never been lower. The new normal is more and faster disruption to the consumer technology eco-system at the same time that levels of investment in our aging IT enterprise infrastructure decline in both real and relative terms.

Finally, the new normal is reflected in the contrarian wisdom of the need to be more, not less, innovative, more creative, not more conventional. During a downturn, at the very moment when the real fiscal pressures leads to squeezing out almost all of our abilities to provide strategic capacity, this is the very time our universities need it most.

The portfolio of managing requirements for operational excellence, customer service, and even more selective innovation (r&d) activity has never been more challenging. Taken together, the prospects of multiple years of negative budget growth in IT on campus, end-user expectations for near real time, free, and fully integrated services to their consumer world (choose your favorite mobile platform as an example), and a series of real Tylenol 3 headaches around security and personal information breaches — both in the enterprise domain and across the distributed parts of the campus — portend for a wild river ride ahead in 2010.

With dueling banjos strumming in the background, if you’re old enough to remember the movie “Deliverance,” here are my top 10 trends for higher education for the year ahead, 2010.

Read the Full Article at Lev’s Blog