• November 8, 2018

Observations from the 2018 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

Observations from the 2018 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

Observations from the 2018 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 1024 748 Vantage Technology Consulting Group

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference was held last week in Denver and according to the onsite staff, it was one of the largest conferences ever with attendance estimated at over 8,000 attendees and exhibitors. The venue in Denver even featured a bit of snow and was perfect with lots of collaboration and meeting spaces.

Image from Joseph Kmiech (@jkmiech) Twitter Feed

The opening session, Eavesdropping on America’s Conversation on Race with Michele Norris, was both thought-provoking and insightful. Congratulations to EDUCAUSE on setting a tone for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with the CIO Commitment on DEI Initiatives, the opening session as well as numerous sessions on diversity and women in IT.

If you missed any of the sessions or were not able to attend the 2018 Annual Conference, many of the sessions are being offered as On-Demand Content for participants who sign up for the online event registration. Recordings will be added as they become available.

Vantage Presence at EDUCAUSE

The Vantage team took part in several events during conference.

Communications Infrastructure and Applications Pre-conference Workshop and ACUTA Reception

In one of the pre-conference sessions, Principal Phil Crompton discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare translates into the higher education space including how the a “smart building functions as a connected asset”. In another session, Associate Vice President Jon Young and Principal Geoff Tritsch looked at the current and future directions for unified communications (UC), collaboration and video platform providers. The discussion included the gap between what is being sold and what buyers want to buy, and how competition is changing.

Vantage was also one of the sponsors for the well-attended Post-ACUTA reception held after the pre-conference workshop. This was the second annual reception since the dissolution of the old ACUTA organization and offered former ACUTA members a chance to meet and greet old friends as well as interact with members of the EDUCAUSE Communications Infrastructure and Applications Community Group. The reception was jointly sponsored by eight vendors, all long-time ACUTA supporters.

EDUCAUSE 2018 Geoff Tritsch at Preconference Post-ACUTA

Geoff Tritsch and Vantage were sponsors of the Post-ACUTA Reception

IT Governance Poster Session

Senior Consultant Cathy Bates participated in the IT Governance Poster session and shared “Practical Stories of Building Engaged IT Governance” in two separate sessions. There was a lot of foot traffic around and some of the key discussion topics included effective governance support processes, keeping enthusiasm and participation high, and persistence of governance models during leadership changes.  There were more conversations around Data Governance this year as institutions tackle the tension between data security and ensuring access to data for data-driven decision making. Participants were eager to gather poster information as well as reading resources offered during the poster session.

EDUCAUSE - Cathy Bates - Matt Morton and Debbie Carraway at IT Governance Poster Session

Cathy Bates, Matt Morton and Debbie Carraway at IT Governance Poster Session

Managing Compliance Panel Discussion

Senior Consultant Joanna Grama joined a panel discussion on how to successfully manage information security and privacy compliance issues in higher education. Most of the conversation centered on the central question of whether meeting compliance requirements should be considered the goal of an information security program (i.e., a ceiling) or whether those requirements are merely a baseline threshold for good information security and privacy practices (i.e., a floor). The other key discussion point was how to effectively train students, faculty and staff with respect to institutional compliance initiatives.

Network Managers and Wireless Community Group

Associate Vice President Jon Young led the network managers and wireless community group meeting that included discussions around:

  • When and how to upgrade wireless generations
  • Where and how to put metrics around AP upgrades
  • How to validate research computing-related network requests
  • Why and should we extend EAP-TLS to wired
  • How to improve the face-to-face EDUCAUSE conference experience in the future

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues for 2019

The EDUCAUSE annual list of the top 10 IT issues were introduced by Susan Grajek, vice president for communities and research at EDUCAUSE on the last day of the conference. There were three overarching themes: data-enabled institutions, funding, and how IT can serve as both a leader and change agent.

For the fourth year in a row, Information Security was identified as the #1 IT issue for higher education.  Discussion on the conference floor centered around what we are doing right and wrong with information security since information security continues to be the top issue. Privacy debuted on the list at #3, likely due to the GDPR compliance concerns earlier in 2018.

EDUCAUSE - 2019 Top 10 IT Issues

From the Top 10 IT Issues announcement on the @EDUCAUSE Twitter Account

You can get the complete story on the EDUCAUSE announcement and highlights of the related panel discussion from EdTech Magazine. Additional resources on the Top 10 IT Issues will be released in January 2019.

2019 EDUCAUSE Conference

The Vantage team had a great time networking with new and old colleagues at the conference this year and can’t wait until the 2019 edition which will be held October 14 to 17 in Chicago, Illinois. Mark the date in your calendar now and visit the conference website next year for more information. See you in Chicago!