Major Higher-Education District Identifies and Prioritizes Technology Investments
Facing growing budgetary and technological challenges, a large community college district wanted to make strategic technology investments across its nine diverse Colleges and district headquarters. District IT and administrative leadership enlisted Burwood Group to conduct a comprehensive assessment to help identify and prioritize technological opportunities to improve the delivery of education to roughly 135,000 students.
The Challenge: 10 Sites, 10 Different IT Infrastructures
Burwood had recently conducted a full-scale technology assessment for one of the district’s colleges. The firm was subsequently retained to work with the entire district. A major challenge was that each site had its own IT infrastructure and strategy tailored for its distinct focus and base of end-users. Adding to the complexity were the 12 workstreams—including virtualization, wireless, disaster recovery, backup, virtual desktop interface (VDI), security, physical campus security, and instructional audiovisual services—to be assessed at each site. To deliver a comprehensive assessment for the entire district, Burwood would need to collaborate with stakeholders at nine colleges, plus the district headquarters, dispersed across one of the largest metropolitan cities in the United States.
The Solution: Close Coordination Across All Campuses
First, the Burwood team worked closely with IT teams and College Vice Presidents at each location, coordinating with engineers and other stakeholders, to schedule both onsite and remote visits to conduct interviews, system scans, and gathering technical data. The result? More than 3,500 pages of data.
After performing an intensive analysis of the collected data, the Burwood project team met individually with each College administration and faculty to gather insights into daily challenges and functionality that could improve the student experience, safety, and overall delivery of education. Once completed, Burwood and the college teams reviewed the assessment data and created an executive summary of the data, along with recommendations, to present to the district’s IT task force and Board of Trustees.
The Outcome: Optimal Technology Investment for Delivery of Education
As a result of the complex, six-month assessment, the district gained actionable recommendations and a technology roadmap to bring all colleges up to the same standard in the technology areas assessed. Colleges can ensure they are making the right technology investments to best serve students, faculty, and administration, by allocating funds to the most critical areas. For example, expanding the wireless network capacity became a priority in response to the growing proliferation of mobile devices on campus. Proactive physical security was another priority, and the district quickly hired a full-time District Safety and Emergency Services Manager. Also important, the entire district decided to invest in more robust disaster recovery. All colleges have now improved their use of technology with configuration changes and the updated networks and licenses.
Following the assessment, college administration, faculty, and information technology teams have come together, building consensus to consolidate on technologies district-wide when it makes sense to do so. Today, district leadership can see opportunities to achieve better and more cost-effective outcomes when all sites collaborate on a solution.
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