By Jesse Drake
Joining a professional organization taps into knowledge from industry leaders, with the potential to expand networks and make your job easier. But often, the thing holding people back is the price tag.
Good news! UIT contracts with several top-tier, IT-related research groups to give members of the University of Utah community complimentary access to privileged research, professional development and other opportunities via campus memberships and/or subscriptions. Resources include publications, webinars (live and on-demand), specialized assessment/audit tools, and networking opportunities.
“These agreements provide opportunities to learn, become engaged and open a dialogue with peers in the industry,” said Scott Sherman, Special Assistant to the CIO, who helped arrange some of the contracts. “They're a great way to gain a broader perspective of how other organizations are operating and setting strategies, and where we fit in.”
Sarah Kraus, CEB associate director of account management, is in the process of setting
up a secure single sign-on (SSO) for University access. Kraus noted five popular ways
that 85 higher-ed institutions leverage CEB for support
(* denotes account login required):
- Transforming to a digital university: Higher-ed organizations turn to CEB’s Digital Trend Spotter for trending information about students’ technology expectations.
- Road-mapping legacy modernization: Universities track the adoption of new technologies and retirement plans with CEB’s *Emerging Technology and Technology Sunset Roadmaps.
- Maturing risk management: CEB’s *IT Security Policies Library helps universities draft and employ cybersecurity risk management policies (account login required).
- Minimizing change impact: CEB's *Principles for High-Speed Change research study explores the tips and traps facing Universities trying to communicate a boon of emerging technologies to end users.
- Staff development: CEB's *IT Talent Management Lifecycle tool condenses best practice research, tools, and templates to illustrate how top organizations attract and retain the best employees.
"Sarah has been great to work with, and she's found and referred me to additional
tools and articles that I have just started looking into," said Doug Kenner, Manager
of the HR/Auxiliary Team Manager in UIT's University Support Services group.
Gartner Account Executive Sheri Watkins said that her organization provides a myriad of resources for members of the U community. MBA students, for example, can learn to make and execute smarter technology decisions, leveraging Gartner research in projects and case studies. Faculty, meanwhile, can use Gartner resources in their curricula.
“A topic such as analytics changes so fast, we can help ensure that what’s being taught in class is current. We have research published daily,” Watkins said. “If the person I’m talking to is the dean of a college or other administrative staff, we also have a wealth of research on trends in education impacting retention and graduation rates. They can gain insight into how to engage academic leadership and faculty in leveraging technology in the classroom, and improving student experiences.”
Mike Ekstrom, director of Network and Communications Infrastructure, stressed the importance of having a fruitful working relationship with UIT's org partners.
“Sherri Watkins of Gartner has been proactively reaching out to me on a regular basis with information she identifies as important for me, knowing what my responsibilities are,” Ekstrom said.
Ekstrom used the example of network lifecycle replacement decisions to illustrate the value these industry partners provide to UIT.
“As an organization, we have a wide spread of equipment age,” Ekstrom said. “There were different opinions internally as to how long we should keep network hardware in production, as short as three to five years. The recent decision that extends network equipment out as far as 10 years in appropriate circumstances were made possible through objective industry-wide data like Gartner provides.”
The bottom line is that no one can possibly be an expert on everything. These partnerships are like having professional consultants standing by when you need help deconstructing complex IT-related issues.
“These are people who influence thousands of businesses, and lend credibility to our work,” Sherman said. “They help us do our jobs better, faster and smarter.”