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Return to the core for uni tech

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Trevor Clarke

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University CIOs have issued their priority list for 2013 - less emphasis on tech itself, more on outcomes.

University CIOs have issued their priority list for 2013 - less emphasis on tech itself, more on outcomes. Photo: Glenn Hunt

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.

2 comments

  • Just having started an I.T. course, I am absolutely amazed at just how badly set up the websites and online courses are.

    The I.T. departments are totally uninterested in feedback as well. No matter how detailed and specific. Being used to appalling design and U.I., as well as slow and buggy performance, it all seems quite natural to them, despite references to countless examples of how to make it all work in the 21st century.

    Commenter
    Tim Balmer
    Date and time
    April 23, 2013, 4:49PM
    • I must say, as a UWS student, it's interesting to interact with the new students this year who have ipads. I've found on one or two occasions for them to be quite handy (nobody sure of the answer? Good thing Ipad guy has the digital textbook!)

      However, for the rest of us non-newbie students, the flooding of ipads onto the already abysmal servers is an absolute headache. Not only that but the I.T staff are complete baboons. For 6 months none could figure out why my wi-fi wouldn't connect to the uni system. I eventually ran a software update (AND ENTERED THE WIFI PROXY SETTINGS) and it worked, and this is coming from a girl who's IT problem knowledge extends to "Did you try turning it off and on?"

      One class of mine also has online only lectures. Meaning, some weeks, you only have the option to watch online and not attend in person. Great in theory, but for somebody without ready access to techology it is a bit bias.

      Oh well, I guess they'll all go back to playing games and spamming facebook with their ipads now.

      Commenter
      Ellie
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 9:12AM
      Comments are now closed
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