Good morning! I hope we all have clear minds and are ready for some provocative discussion about our profession. We are information technology professionals. We are a part of higher education administration. So are we bi-polar? Today I ask you - What's your profession - information technology, higher education or both? Information technology has been elevated in all aspects of our culture and society. In this 21st century, higher education is considered the linchpin to global competitiveness, economic prosperity and quality of life. You are educated and trained as an IT professional. You work in an institution of higher education. So, what profession are you really in? In my presentation today, I will discuss important elements, competencies and challenges for both professional tracks and illustrate why it's important to keep your feet firmly in both camps.
I always like to start my discussion by covering the assumptions that I make when talking with you about our profession. First I can’t help it. I am a CIO so a lot of what I see and think about this topic comes from the CIO perspective. I also assume that the audience (all of you) aspire to lead. If there is someone here that is not interested in leadership from all levels, you are excused. Third, this is a long term proposition. There are not short term fixes. And finally, I am going to be talking about competencies that are important to both IT and HE.
Let’s walk quickly through the topics I will cover today. General elements of the IT profession Priorities of HE Administration HE Leadership expectations of IT Survival Competencies Teaching and Learning expectation of the IT profession Conclusions and Recommendations
IT jobs are good jobs! They are in high demand. They have the prestige of being a career not just a job. You can still advance with experience as a substitute for education but that is changing. And the pay is good.
Have you ever wondered if the middle and senior managers in other areas of higher education administration were a little bothered that you and your staff make more money than many of them and many of you do not have the same level of academic credentials to show for it? This may explain an underlying relationship tension that I think is unique to higher education.
2000 US Census data contains wage and demographic information about IT positions in America. It is safe to say there are supply and demand issues for IT professionals but our numbers are fairly large. For example. there were over 314,000 IS managers employed in 2000. And the data also shows that a bachelors degree is required in order to be competitive in the job market place. Of the 94,000 with some college, 5800 were African Americans. By 2010, these data will show increases in educational attainment but not much change in the demographic distribution by race and gender.
There are large numbers of other IT position types such as over 600,000 programmers and over 78,000 DBAs. These data also show how these complements break down by race and by gender – which we all know shapes the lens we use to make decisions.
All in all, IT positions pay relatively well, and often better than your HE administrative counterparts who work in other areas of HE administration. These examples come from CUPA, the College and University Personnel Association.
CIO Magazine conducts a survey of CIOs across all industries. Its 2008 findings show:
The CIO Magazine survey also categorizes CIOs by type. Which type are you (or your boss)?
One type is the IT Function Head. Managing IT crises Developing IT talent Improving IT operations Improving system performance Security management Budget management
A second type is the Transformational Leader: Redesigning business processes Aligning IT initiatives and strategy with business goals/strategy Cultivating the IT/business partnership Leading change efforts Implementing new systems and architecture Mapping IT strategy to overall enterprise strategy
And last, the rarest type in HE is the Business Strategist: Developing/refining business strategy Understanding market trends Developing external customer insight Developing business innovations Identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation Reengineering or developing new markets and distribution channels
Alright, let’s switch our focus toward HE priorities for a minute. Whether your institution is two year, four year, research, public or private, your leaders are concerned with these four priorities.
And these priorities translate in to certain general expectations of the IT function in HE.
Mark Prensky, acclaimed speaker and writer on education and learning, first described the terms digital native and digital immigrant. Most of us are immigrants. Most of our children are natives. Gartner frames issues around IT adoption and disruption based upon these traits and information preferences of these two distinct user types. It is important to remember that we in the IT profession in HE, must support and empower both the immigrant and the native. So, let’s go over these attributes because they will shape our solutions for years to come. This brings about an interesting and challenging mix of requirements to manage and to respond.
But from my vantage point we are the lucky ones. We have the opportunity to leverage our competencies to understand and influence relationships, systems and processes and organization capabilities at our institutions. To do this we need to cultivate across our IT organizations the ability to provide: activities, systems and information; and to become: credible, an ally and a strategic architect at our institutions. That’s exciting (and scary)!
Success in this arena is all about action – not talk!
IBM, based upon research from the Harvard Business Review, has created a Center for Creative CIO Leadership. I have translated some of their teaching about Leadership Brand, into HE institution terms. We’ve been discussing components of a successful branding Institutional branding and IT professional branding. But, how does it all tie together? Through Leadership. A institution markets itself; it has an image it promotes; it competes on regional, national and global markets. It needs to articulate more specifically the three things that it wants stakeholders (students and faculty among others) to recognize it for. Once that is articulated, it must be put into action, so that there is alignment between employee action and the expected stakeholder experience. Employee actions determine the stakeholders’ experience (this is true whether or not the employee is in a direct stakeholder facing role). The alignment between employee actions and stakeholder experience is driven (for good or bad) by Leadership. In other words, Institution Brand is made real through aligned leadership behaviors . KEY POINT: Leaders are at all levels. A single leader can’t make an organization work. Leaders at all levels have to behave in an aligned fashion that supports the institution brand.
So how does this work within the culture of digital immigrants and natives, comingled in a single environment? Gartner says it well in their research on HE IT Collaborations.
Gartner encourages today’s CIOs to take an active role in creating positive teaching/learning relationships. They offer advice consistent with the leadership brand theme. Governance – a structure for relationship building; become a credible advocate for innovation and strategy development. Services – Create systems and processes that align IT with change efforts Learning and research – These are core organization capabilities that the CIO can advocate and manage.
We learn from Gartner Environmental or green issues will affect IT decisions related to the purchase of systems, services and the selection of vendors that support the green IT movement Alternative delivery and acquisition models are affecting how IT organizations and users plan for spending, as well as selection of products and services. Consumers are changing the way decisions and technology choices are made by IT – and who the decision makers are.
How is the HE business changing? What are the individual stakeholders in your institution working to accomplish? How will you add value?
Mounting public pressure about tuition and the cost of higher education will continue Issues of immigration, access and diversity will challenge efforts to address retention and graduation rates The race for global competitiveness forces HE to reengineer and redesign strategies for STEM disciplines My message to you: It is not good enough to know IT alone, IT leadership must know HE, where it has been and where it needs to go. Your value comes from bridging the two industries – helping to create a leadership brand for your institution.
Looking a the whole picture, the interplay between the competencies and attributes of the two professions you are in, provides a launching point for your true profession – the information technology higher education administration profession. To get started you should: Create listening forums with students, faculty and administrators Get a first hand gauge of their expectations of IT services and technologies Build student, faculty and staff profiles Take opportunities like Software as a Service (SaaS), the green movement and open source seriously These will likely represent major areas of focus by 2010 Understand where your institution is as it relates to: the cost/value of education retention and graduation success 21 st Century skills preparation Economic development
What profession are you really in? A discussion of elements, competencies and challenges of our chosen profession
Competencies IT professionals must demonstrate Business Technology and data Relationships Systems & Processes Organization Capabilities IT Professionalism Implications for IT professionals Source: Dave Ulrich, author of Leadership Brand Information for decision making Strategy Architect Culture & Change Steward Business Ally Systems stability and execution Credible Activist
Actions IT professionals can take IT professionals IT actions that deliver value coach deliver and do facilitate architect
Stakeholder Experience Employee Actions Institution Brand How it wants to be known by stakeholders Leadership Brand CEOs and IT leaders define and deliver leadership brand Connect expectations with actions Source: Dave Ulrich, author of Leadership Brand
Teaching and Learning expectations of IT “ Given that most faculty and administrators are digital immigrants, there will likely Be misunderstandings and disagreements about how and when to use various Devices and technologies in the academic setting. CIOs should provide the bridge of understanding in their vital change agent role. They need to recognize and facilitate the free flow of information and collaboration that the digital natives expect While channeling this appropriately for security, privacy, protection, support for regulations and efficiency.” Source: Gartner 2007