Digitally Deferred: Why Higher Education Can't Wait Any Longer to Update On-campus Service Desk Solutions

With graduation season fast upon us, students who've slogged through their finals and come out the other side unscathed - maybe a little scathed - will finally experience life after higher education. For the tenured educators and faculty members seeing another class off this spring, the clock only resets. After a much needed vacation, classes will begin again and the cycle starts anew.

However, next school year, educators at the college, technical school or university level should work toward breaking a different cycle, the revolving door of IT service management issues plaguing their configurations. Let's talk about a few reasons why institutes of higher learning need a little summer schooling when it comes to the benefits of a versatile service desk and the scholastic requirements of modern students.

Students Want More from University Tech
A survey conducted by VitalSource Technologies and Wakefield Research revealed its more than 500 college-aged respondents don't just want more technology in the classroom, but they want that technology to do a lot more for them - digital collaboration with other students (48 percent), multimedia homework assignments (61 percent) and one-on-one communication channels with professors (61 percent) all topped the list of what and how technology could improve learning

Before university IT departments answer this call to action, they should consider their current service desk solutions - or lack thereof. A unified service desk solution like ChangeGear consolidates all ITSM disciplines like incident, problem, change and release management capabilities into a single platform. So, while IT professionals build out things like interactive collaboration portals between students and professors, these technological developments grow around a strong service desk framework.

Increase ITSM Without Increasing Costs
It's no secret public schools are strapped for cash, especially public universities in the U.S. Per student state and local funding for undergraduate institutions fell between 20 to 30 percent on average between 2008 and 2013, according to the Delta Cost Project. Moreover, the research organization also found students enrolled in "public four-year institutions" cover between 50 to 62 percent of school-wide educational costs with their tuition.

So, how can universities do more with what little they get from the government and give students more bang for their buck? A smarter service desk complete with automated features can enhance university IT operations without spending more on a bigger staff. Help desk self-service portals and knowledge bases, as well as automated regression testing and release triggers, expand IT capabilities intelligently while minimizing manual resolution of low-value incident management tickets and repetitive code checking.

Security for Sensitive Student Information
For nearly every college student, higher education is one big lesson in suffering the consequences of bad decisions, like how all-nighters and caffeine binges do not a productive learner make. Rising above these poor choices takes time and patience, but thankfully, universities are a relatively risk-free environment in which to make mistakes.

When students' sensitive information is at stake, however, second chances might not be as readily available. All institutions of higher education dabble in data management, and as these places scale up their configurations to include mobile deployment or other such innovations, they may accidentally leave student financial or medical information vulnerable to visibility and misuse.

What are the consequences? According to a Notre Dame University study on cybersecurity regulations in higher education, a single data breach at Indiana University jeopardized the names, addresses and social security numbers of 146,000 people and cost the school more than $130,000, even though no instances of identity theft were ever reported.

Service desk change management processes with CMDB help prevent human error from compromising student data, ensuring altered configurations won't cause data leakage. Additionally, any vulnerabilities an IT team does detect can be handled quickly and effectively with agile change processes complemented by powerful checks and balances. As the college experience moves off the quad and onto software, academic IT service management must adapt to face the challenges of a new era in learning. Advanced service desk solutions help schools stay ahead of the curve and keep tech-savvy college students engaged in the classroom, computer lab, dorm room or wherever else they hit the books

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