EDUCAUSE Identifies Student Success as Prevalent Focus Among Top IT Issues for 2017

EDUCAUSE releases annual report identifying top IT concerns for colleges and universities

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jan 18, 2017) -   Today EDUCAUSE, higher education's largest technology association, released its annual list of Top 10 IT Issues for 2017 highlighting student success as a priority for institutions. EDUCAUSE will also publish two related reports later this year: (1) the annual Top 10 Strategic Technologies report, which identifies relatively new technologies that institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning, and tracking in 2017 and (2) Trends Watch 2017, which identifies IT and other trends exerting the most influence over IT strategy.

 "The Top 10 IT Issues List may not change dramatically from year to year, because it takes many years to tackle the most significant issues," said Susan Grajek, vice president of data, research, and analytics at EDUCAUSE. "But in discussions among the panel members who developed the final list, the primary priority for addressing today's digital challenges was student success."

Along with -- and contributing to -- student success, panelists also prioritized institutional success. These foci are illustrated throughout the IT issues, which can be categorized into the following four related themes: IT foundations, data foundations, effective leadership, and successful students:

"EDUCAUSE members understand their challenge, which is to use information technology to address their institutions' most pressing priorities," said Grajek. "Student success emerges for 2017 as the most universally important of those priorities. The themes that emerged throughout the IT issues illustrate the need to develop IT and data foundations, ensure effective leadership and enable successful students."

2017 Top IT Issues

1. Information security
2. Student success and completion
3. Data-informed decision making
4. Strategic leadership
5. Sustainable funding
6. Data management and governance
7. Higher education affordability
8. Sustainable staffing
9. Next-generation enterprise IT
10. Digital transformation of learning

EDUCAUSE 2017 research -- including The Top 10 IT Issues report, The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report, and the Trends Watch report -- is important to higher education leaders and decision makers because it helps them anticipate and articulate challenges and inform their actions and strategic plans.

The list of top IT issues is developed by a panel of experts comprised of higher education IT and non-IT leaders, Chief Information Officers (CIO), and faculty members -- and then voted on by the EDUCAUSE community. The annual Top 10 Strategic Technologies and Top Trends were identified during that same voting process.

The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report identifies relatively new technologies that institutions will be spending the most time implementing, planning, and tracking in 2017. The Top 10 Strategic Technologies were selected from a vetted set of 85 technologies.

2017 Top Technologies

1. Active learning classrooms (e.g., student-centered, technology rich learning environments)
2. Technologies for improving analysis of student data
3. Uses of APIs
4. Incorporation of mobile devices in teaching and learning
5. Mobile apps for enterprise applications
6. Blended data center (on-prem and cloud-based)
7. Technologies for planning and mapping students' educational plans
8. Database encryption
9. Technologies for triggering interventions based on student behavior or faculty input
10. Mobile device management (tie)
11. Technologies for offering self-service resources that reduce advisor workloads (tie)

The Top Trends report describes the trends EDUCAUSE members predict will exert the most influence over their IT strategy in 2017. The Top Trends were those that fell into the top 2 tiers of influence; they are 12 of a full set of 36 trends that also included Internet of Things, sustainability, and changing faculty roles.

2017 Top Trends

Most influential (major influence on IT strategy in 61-80% of institutions)

  • Continued complexity of security threats
  • Student success focus/imperatives
  • Data-driven decision making

Taking hold (major influence on IT strategy in 41-60% of institutions)

  • Increasing complexity of technology, architecture, data
  • IT as an agent of institutional transformation and innovation
  • Compliance environment
  • Institution-wide data management and integrations
  • Campus safety
  • Business process redesign
  • Diversity and inclusivity
  • Changing enterprise system architectures, integrations, and workflows
  • Incorporating risk-management approaches into IT strategy and service delivery

The technologies and trends findings reinforce student success as a central theme for higher education information technology in 2017 -- more than half of the EDUCAUSE Top 10 Emergent Technologies for 2017 pertain to student success. Two of the three most influential 2017 trends are pertinent to student success: student success focus/imperatives and data-driven decision making.

"The distinction between the priorities of the IT organization and those of the institution is blurring, and panelists were very conscious of that," said Grajek. "Collaboration across campus is more important now than ever before as we truly understand the impact it can have on institutional and student success."

The Top 10 IT Issues report and accompanying resources are available at The Top 10 Strategic Technologies report will be published end of January at For more information about EDUCAUSE, visit

EDUCAUSE is a higher education technology association with a membership of more than 2,100 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including over 300 corporations. The organization has an estimated 68,000 active members in over 40 countries. The EDUCAUSE annual conference is considered one of the best technology conferences in higher education. EDUCAUSE holds over 20 face-to-face events each year that reach approximately 11,500 individuals, with thousands more involved in online events. The association produces various publications for its members including the award-winning EDUCAUSE Review, with a bimonthly print circulation of 22,000 and online unique monthly views of 100,000.

Contact Information:

Media Contacts:
Marc Stith
Director of Marketing, EDUCAUSE
720.406.6776 (direct)

Rosa Vivanco
Communications Strategy Group
815.954.7867 (mobile)

2017 Top 10 IT Issues Themes: Foundations for Student Success