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Return to the core for uni tech

Mobility and the BYO device craze have ceased to be the top priority for Australia's university technology chiefs.

University CIOs are returning to the core objectives of supporting and enabling research, learning and education along with a move to better use analytics.

The annual Council of Australian Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) Top 10 list of university priorities is an indicator of where their combined $1.6 billion IT spending is likely to head.

In 2010 and 2011 the list was headed by mobility, and in 2012 included BYOD and cloud computing.

However, this year priorities focus less on the technology and more on what can be achieved with it.

''This year we're seeing the support of research and support of teaching and learning as the top items in 2013,'' said CAUDIT chief executive Richard Northam. ''This reflects a shift by the IT community towards a focus on the core mission of the institution, particularly as commoditised offerings become more mature.


''Mobility and BYOD don't appear as separate issues in 2013 but feature as strong undercurrents in many of the other issues for 2013.''

In the past couple of years there have been several advances in the availability of IT infrastructure for Australia's researchers with shared initiatives like the cloud computing service NeCTAR and the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI). This has led to a need to provide stronger support to manage the environment and hence the revised priorities in 2013.

IT staffing, funding, business continuity and cloud computing remain key items of interest.

Although there has been considerable hype around massive open online courses (MOOCs) in Australia and around the world, they have not been singled out as a priority.

Northam attributes the refocus to a new crop of IT leaders and ongoing funding pressures. 

"We've seen quite a bit of change in the list over the last two or so years," Northam said.

"We believe this is partly reflective of the new cohort of IT directors and CIOs that are working in the sector who are thinking about IT in a different way.:

He said the sector experienced a 70 per cent turnover in IT director and CIOs roles in the last few years.

The full CAUDIT Top 10 for 2013 also includes positioning IT as a catalyst; leveraging cloud services; managing security and privacy effectively in a hybrid environment of multiple sourcing models; preparing IT staff for a very different (near) future.

University CIOs also plan to develop ''digital strategies'' for the future and make university services available anywhere, anytime.


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