July 11, 2017

9 minutes read

What We Learned from the TDX 2017 Pulse Study


Andrew Graf

When we launched our first annual Pulse Study in 2016, we set out to evaluate organizational maturity and top challenges in Higher Ed IT. Frankly, we were not sure what to expect. We certainly understood common challenges in the industry, especially those encountered by our clients. But what would the data tell us after surveying more than 100 participants? The 2016 study was revealing in a number of ways, but there was a figure that caught our attention.

On an IT maturity scale ranging from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), 59% of participants self-ranked at Levels 1 or 2. Level 1 equates to an ad-hoc, poorly-defined process. Level 2 indicates there are some processes in place but they are not well-defined, and workflows are often absent. The takeaway – when it comes to managing service requests and projects, more than half of study participants could face a steep uphill battle to keep up with a rapidly growing adoption rate in campus technology.

IT Maturity in 2017

This year’s study tells a different story. 47% of study participants now self-rank at Levels 1 or 2 – a 20% improvement in IT maturity compared to last year’s figure. Much of the increase is focused around the student experience with more institutions taking steps to improve their response times and offer more self-service capabilities.

Top Initiatives

Participants were asked to identify and prioritize top initiatives for the next 18-24 months, which gives an indication of IT maturity and needs. Here are the top three:

  • Project & Service Management – Together: Higher Ed IT departments are struggling with limited resources, and the pressure is mounting with the consistent turnover of new users (students, faculty, and staff). Now more CIOs are looking to optimize existing resources by combining ITSM and PPM on one platform to manage time, projects, and tickets.
  • Enterprise-Wide Service Management: IT, facilities, HR, residential life, and other departments each have unique requirements and challenges. Their needs are best served with an enterprise-wide solution rather than using multiple, disparate tools. Adopting a single platform for all departments frees up resources, streamlines communication, and provides more management efficiencies – factors that help improve the student experience.
  • Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS®): KCS, a crowd-sourced information resource, is significantly improving incident resolution, student satisfaction, and self-service adoption. By harnessing information and offering a clear structure and framework for gaining feedback, information can be gathered more quickly and with greater accuracy. Initially used for IT support, the adoption of KCS is expanding to more service areas on campuses to provide knowledge resources that allow for faster resolution and more up-to-date information.

The theme of optimization is evident throughout the 2017 Pulse Study. Like last year, the biggest challenge cited by participants is a lack of resources. But as we look at the three top initiatives among IT professionals, it is clear that many more are taking action to alleviate resource constraints by boosting maturity and service processes.


(KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™)

Andrew Graf

Related Articles