Over the past few decades, the digital technology landscape has undergone a paradigm shift in terms of communication and collaboration capabilities. This shift, in turn, has sparked a remarkable evolution of higher education ecosystems around the world. From blackboards to interactive displays and smart classrooms, universities around the globe have leveraged digital transformation to reshape the way educational content is delivered to their students.
Innovations in instructional technology, such as massive open online courses, VR labs, remote learning tools, augmented reality, IoT, and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, have created a more effective learning environment, both on-campus and off.
This technology-enabled ecosystem has fostered a more conducive learning atmosphere for students, a productive workplace for faculty, and ease of operations for administrators.
At the vanguard of this multidimensional transformation are the internal IT teams within universities that must juggle multiple tasks such as managing IT assets, provisioning services to students and faculty, troubleshooting incidents, and implementing changes.
On the flip side, IT departments also face mounting challenges in managing the ever-transforming technological infrastructure in institutions of higher education. Some of these pain points are:
More IT assets in universities:
With the proliferation of digital devices such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, IT departments must manage numerous IT assets often scattered across different schools and campuses. This results in ITAM blind spots and suboptimal asset utilization.
Businesses across various verticals are adopting BYOD policies to reap the benefits of decreased IT maintenance costs and increased productivity, and the higher education sector is no exception to this trend. Universities and institutions are leveraging BYOD policies to deliver smart learning and a quality education to students without any impedance from geographical barriers or IT maintenance costs. The onus is on the IT department to smoothly roll out a suitable BYOD policy and communicate it to students, as well as ensure information security and mitigate risks through effective endpoint management.
Multiple schools, multiple help desks
In most institutions of higher education, multiple campuses administer different help desks that are not integrated with each other or with the central IT department. For example, these campuses may use different communication tools, access provisioning procedures, etc. This arrangement gives rise to inconsistency in process frameworks and fragments data across different departments.
A large and diverse higher education audience
The National Centre for Education Statistics says that approximately 3.9 million students graduate from institutions of higher education across the US every year. Coupled with faculty, parents, and alumni, the ticket volume to be handled by help desks increases proportionately.
The additional challenge that comes with a diverse audience is that different groups of end users have varied requirements. From visitors who only need access to Wi-Fi, to students who require long-term access to services and IT support, help desks need to segment their audience and cater to their unique requirements efficiently.
Rising service expectations from students
Today’s generation of end users expect quick turnaround times and personalized IT support. For simpler requirements, students and alumni are more comfortable with self-service and prefer using it to engage with their education providers without being confined by office hours.
A drastic transition to remote learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed all facets of society, including higher education. Universities have repurposed technologies such as video conferencing, project management, and messaging apps, once utilized solely for business collaboration and remote work, to deliver educational content. This has increased the strain on IT teams, as they are now tasked with ensuring uninterrupted learning by way of swiftly resolving incidents, provisioning access to VPNs, and managing IT infrastructure remotely.
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