Gartner K-12 Survey Shows CIOs Hot On Devices and Networks; Should Identify As "Partners", Rather Than "Central IT"

November 22, 2017 Bob Nilsson

2018 CIO Agenda: K-12 Education Industry Insights

The strong trends in K-12 to move more technology access into the classroom (particularly as the cost of devices continues to fall) is evidence of a digitalization movement, or a potential change in classroom practice and approach.

When Gartner looked deeper into their 2018 CIO Agenda survey of 3,160 CIOs to see how K-12 leaders responded differently from the CIOs of other industries, a number of surprises popped out. Networking came up as the far most important area for new spending in K-12, whereas in other industries, BI and analytics ranked at the top. To quote the report, “K-12 education CIOs see using technology to improve education and student success as their highest priority.”

Wi-Fi/wireless solutions is the top technology identified to differentiate and win, followed by networking and mobility, in contrast to the overall global CIO responses whose top technology to differentiate and win is BI/analytics followed by digital marketing.

The Main Difference Is At The Top

The unique mission of education explains why 77% of respondents said that education improvement/enhance student success is the top organizational objective for the next two years.  This stand in contrast to the cross-industry survey base that gave top priority to growth in market share.

“Using technology to improve education and student success is the overwhelming No. 1 priority, with digital business/digital transformation in more distant second place, reflecting an increased awareness of, and focus on, the organizational mission for responding CIOs.” -- 2018 CIO Agenda: K-12 Education Industry Insights, Gartner.

When asked which areas will experience a decrease in spending, all industry CIOs, including those in K-12 education called out the budget for data center and legacy systems. This is likely offset by increased spending on Cloud-based resources. It should be noted that 26% of K-12 CIOs report they don't intend to cut spending in any tech areas.

Be More Than Just A Service Provider

Education CIOs who participated in the survey recommend becoming more than a service provider, but rather be viewed as a strategic partner who understands how you contribute to better learning and educational outcomes. Understand what instructional technologies are coming and be sure the IT infrastructure will handle it. Hold the planning discussions early – prod the faculty to use the emerging technologies to improve their teaching and student engagement.

This topic of IT staff positioning came up at Educause 2017. Be sure to refer to your IT group as “enterprise IT” or “local IT”, rather than “central IT”. The idea is to show a more collaborative, local spirit, rather than a remote, burdensome overhead function.

Gartners 2018 CIO Agenda: K-12 Education Industry Insights is part of the Gartner CIO Survey that gathered data from CIO in 98 countries and across major industries, representing $13.0 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending. This K-12 report specifically focused on the answers from 35 education CIO respondents and compared them with the total sample. The purpose of the 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda is to help CIOs and other IT leaders set and validate their management agendas for the coming year. The key findings from the total dataset are published in their entirety as"The 2018 CIO Agenda: Mastering the New Job of the CIO."

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About the Author

Bob Nilsson

As the Director of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Extreme Networks, Bob Nilsson leads the Extreme Networks strategy and programs for vertical markets including Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education, Federal/State/Local Government, Retail, Hospitality, and Transportation and Logistics. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing IT systems to Global 1000 companies worldwide. Before joining Extreme Networks Bob was VP Marketing at Clear Methods. Prior to that Bob held senior marketing positions at Digital Equipment and HP. Bob holds an SB degree in EE from MIT and MBA from Columbia Business School.

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