Draft Minutes: ITANA call of 16-Jan-2014


Rich Stevenson, University of Maryland University College (host)
Mojgan Amini, UC San Diego
Glenn Donaldson, Ohio State
Paul Erickson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Scott Fullerton, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Ashish Pandit, UC San Diego
Brian Savage, Boston College

ITANA Website: http://itana.org/
ITANA Wiki: https://spaces.at.internet2.edu/display/itana/Home


Mojgan reported on the EA survey (sent to the ITANA mailing list on December 19) and the findings that were used at the January CSG meeting. Most areas reported low maturity but there are programs in place at many institutions.

You still have the opportunity to complete the survey and are encouraged to do so!


Gartner Top 10

The group continued its discussion of the Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. Gartner's model proposes a "Nexus of Forces" in which four forces converge: social, mobile, information, and cloud.

  • Mobile Device Diversity and Management
  • Mobile Apps and Applications
  • The Internet of Everything
  • Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker
  • Cloud/Client Architecture
  • The Era of Personal Cloud
  • Software Defined Anything
  • Web-Scale IT
  • Smart Machines
  • 3-D Printing

Questions for the group included: are these trends representative for higher education? How are institutions applying these trends to planning processes?

Comments from the group included:

Regarding Cloud/Client Architecture, Scott commented on the interplay of cloud data and locally managed data in an enterprise data framework. There remains an unsolved problem of how to meaningfully capture data from various cloud-based services and tie it in to locally managed data.

Rich mentioned an Educause presentation on semantic services and how those might be consumed by smart machines. At an institution, in the future students might use a smart digital assistant and expect an institution's services to interact with them, for example for course scheduling.

As an example, Scott discussed electronic lab notebooks, which have possible cloud providers. One can imagine large data sets from researchers going into these cloud services to validate research and establish ownership of intellectual property. The institution would like to have this information replicated, but not in its proprietary format; it needs to be in a neutral format for long-term retention.

Regarding 3D printing, Paul mentioned that at UN-L printers are being acquired in some areas such as engineering. Through listening sessions, UN-L has learned that beyond printers, users also need 3D scanners and access to substantial expertise to model objects for printing. These represent serious resources for the campus to invest in to support students. This also relates to the idea of IT as a service broker – ultimately, 3D printing enables self service, but IT can help organizations get there.

Rich highlighted the concept of Web-Scale IT and re-evaluating the whole IT value chain. In Gartner's assessment, web-scale IT is a basis for responding to change through things like having a risk-embracing culture, industrial design, web-oriented architecture, API-based management, Agile methodologies, and collaborative organizations.

The group discussed Gartner's statement that ITIL is "out", in the sense that the pace of change exceeds careful processes like ITIL. That may mean doing ITIL faster, or looking for another paradigm. At many institutions the expectation is to do more, faster, but still at high quality. ITIL's accountability and quality come at the cost of speed. Scott commented that as "brokers" in the future, IT organizations may not be the nexus of support and operations any more, moving the complexity elsewhere. Rich commented that as IT organizations move to a product-centric (customer satisfaction based) view, ITIL may not provide the right information for evaluating success.

The group discussed the impact of mobile apps on web development – is the trend toward apps and away from web interfaces, or vice versa? According to some research, although the average user has many apps installed, few of them are used regularly. Until this becomes more clear, a service-oriented architecture is a good way to provide the same services to mobile apps as well as web apps. Rich mentioned that for his institution, with most of its students online, the proliferation of apps starts to detract from the user experience. Mojgan mentioned past Educause work on mobile frameworks; the study showed that return on investment in mobile apps depends on having clear objectives for them. At UCSD, the focus is on web services so that many platforms can be served, and services provided by different parts of the institution can be presented as a consistent user experience.

Educause Top 10

Next, the group discussed the Educause Top 10 IT Issues. Some issues specific to higher ed from this list:

  • The use of analytics to support student and institutional outcomes, and area where higher education tends to be behind industry
  • Online learning in various forms from MOOCs to traditional LMS

Corporate Executive Board

Rich shared some information from CEB's Emerging Technology Roadmap, which reports on the adoption of various technologies and their potential risks and value. He asked the group whether and how they use these types of tools in planning and forecasting.

Comments from the group included:

Scott commented that these kinds of roadmaps tend to be done locally around campus. At UW-Madison, there is a lot of activity particularly in advising and academic technologies.

Rich suggested that ITANA could gather case studies on how institutions are using similar tools in strategic planning.

ITANA Governance

In our next call, we will discuss some proposed ITANA governance structure intended to provide continuity for ITANA. We'll be presenting changes to the ITANA charter, a steering committee, and some proposed officers.

Next call: January 30, 2014.

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