A recent post on Forbes suggests that a college education is worth $830,000 more than a high school diploma (read SF Fed Economic Research). Based on those economic estimates, the value of having a college degree is clear. Those numbers continue to drive demand for seats at colleges and universities all over the country. One challenge is the expense.  Last year, Bloomberg noted that college costs have surged 500% since 1985.  Clearly, universities and colleges are looking for ways to keep costs in check.

To compound the issue, Higher education institutions are facing additional challenges:

  • Declining funding from the federal and state governments
  • Need for effective student & staff learning
  • Need for better understanding of student demographics
  • Increasing demand to reduce cost of education per student
  • Increasing operational costs therefore need for better management of resources and more.

To deal with some of the challenges, higher education is steering its discourse on how to use new IT technologies such as Big Data, Analytics, Cloud and Mobility to help transform their business, to make it sustainable and ready for greater effectiveness in this digital age.

According to  the survey report by EDUCAUSE CENTER FOR APPLIED RESEARCH, 2012 on priority of Analytics in higher education, one can conclude that new IT technologies are in minds of the leaders in higher education institutions.

Analytics Priority.PNG

IT technologies such Big Data, Analytics & Mobility can be a helpful tool for higher education (read free IDC White Paper) as they have wide applications such as

  • Better understanding student demographics
  • Optimizing utilization of resources to reduce administrative costs etc. 
  • Improving student and faculty performance & productivity through better connectivity and data

IT technologies such as In-memory database & Big Data can take huge amount of data, organize it, analyze it and make visualization of data in simple formats that anyone within the organization can use to make informed & timely decisions. With cloud and mobile technologies – rendering and access of information has been simplified with information available anytime, anywhere.

Based on the above discussion , new age IT technologies such as – Big Data, Analytics & mobility have lot to offer. These are correctly referred as the next wave of human productivity. However, there are some genuine challenges higher education institutions face. Higher education are marred by higher cost of operations and declining external funding – impact being rise in cost of education. In such a situation, how can one justify the cost of deploying new IT solutions? Even if an institution  decides to take the plunge in investing, questions arise on whether do they have the right skills in place to gain maximum return from such investments? One of the major concerns however for higher education institutions is affordability as per report by Educause Center For Applied Research, 2012 report.

Higher education institutions should look beyond the challenges, and embrace new IT & mobile technologies as means to meet their long term strategic goals.

A prescription for colleges and universities begins with:

  • A deep analysis of their current infrastructure (If you have SAP ERP, simple request can furnish you a detailed report on recommendations on your advanced IT needs)
  • Survey the landscape, understand what their peers are up to
  • Stay up to date on advances in IT Technologies
  • Evaluate who can be their best partner in bringing this transformational change.

Following these steps will help prepare for change. My suggestion is not to bury your head in the sand – new IT technologies –  Big Data , Analytics, Cloud & Mobility are here to stay and much needed for betterment of the students and the staff which form the core of the education system.

Learn more about IT: In-memory DB, Analytics, Big Data, Applications & Mobility @ IT&ME

Learn More about Research & Analysis of IT in Higher education: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research

Read IDC White Paper: How university of Kentucky utilized SAP HANA for over 500% ROI

Register for Forrester Report: Cost Analysis of SAP HANA platform

Watch Video: Projected Cost Analysis of SAP HANA platform by Forrester

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