Top Three Takeaways from CISOA 2023

Top Three Takeaways from CISOA 2023

Top Three Takeaways from CISOA 2023

California community colleges (CCC) serve 1.8 million students at 116 colleges, making it the largest higher education system in the United States. Each year, the Chief Information Systems Officer's Association (CISOA) Technology Summit brings together IT leaders from these schools to learn, grow, and look to the future of higher education. With a stacked agenda, notable keynote speakers, and deep dives into technology, attendees leave the conference with the tools they need to better serve their students and staff.

Ellucian’s Digital Transformation team attended the summit and sat in on dozens of conference sessions. Why the digital transformation team? This team is dedicated to empowering institutions to not only achieve their mission and objectives, but accelerate their ability to achieve results. They take a strategic approach to modernization that allows institutions to adapt to each generation of students entering higher education regardless of how our digital future evolves.

With an eye on the future of higher ed, we’ve pulled together our key takeaways from the conference.

IT Leaders Are Focused on Defending Against Cyberattacks and Resolving Ransomware Vulnerabilities

According to a report by Sophos, 64% of institutions experienced a ransomware attack in 2021. Institutions are increasingly grappling with security breaches that hurt operations, reputation, and ultimately, revenue. When systems are down, learning and operations halt. CCCs are establishing the model for colleges and universities across the country to build institutional resiliency.

The flexible data ecosystems in place throughout CCC enable institutions to minimize threats and disruptions. They can focus on strategic goals knowing that your systems are poised to defend against attacks, update without disruption, and eliminate downtime to keep your institution moving. This reallocates valuable IT time to systemwide and campus-specific strategic initiatives.

Migrating to SaaS Is Top-of-mind

Members from 4CIS Consortium, a group of districts in California Community College created to standardize cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, discussed the importance of a common ERP and how multi-institutional capabilities are the key to achieving systemwide strategic objectives. One example was the emphasis on live data at both the college and system level. IT teams, faced with staffing shortages and siloed systems, can often be bogged down by outdated data that ultimately hinders decision-making processes.

Leaders at CISOA reinforced the value of having technology that is open, interoperable and connected, which is built for multiple data sources and vendors. SaaS solutions provide a great user interface, functionality, security enhancements, and more without need for updates, downloads, or patches. With SaaS, institutions can focus on strategic goals knowing that their systems are poised to defend against attacks, update without disruption, and eliminate downtime to keep your institution moving.

Learn more about how colleges across California and the country are taking flight with SaaS-based solutions.

Student Equity Was a Common Thread Across Sessions

Leaders across the CCC emphasized the importance of prioritizing access and equity across the full student experience. More than 69 percent of California Community College students are people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Katherine Jeffery, generational strategist, was the opening day keynote speaker at CISOA 2023. She discussed how to build and lead multi-generational teams to better serve staff and students in California. Her framework paired with the second-day keynote speaker, Associate Professor of Raza Studies and Education at San Francisco State University Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade. He shared a powerful perspective on student equity and established the importance of IT leader’s role in accelerating student success.

For every dollar students spend on their community college education, they gain five dollars in higher earnings in the future. Technology plays a critical role in driving access and equity to historically excluded students. CCC’s success in supporting students to graduation is a prime example of a better-together approach with technology as the backbone. Standardized systemwide technology make a student’s unique journey the priority, make it easy to jump between institutions, track credentials, and grow at their own pace. Deeper insights improve student experience and equity by allowing systems to identify, inform, and respond to system trends that impact persistence and academic program completion.

Providing Quality Education for All Students

The CISOA Technology Summit highlighted how California Community Colleges are leading the way in higher education by leveraging technology to improve student experience and increase equity. By utilizing open, interoperable, and connected systems such as SaaS solutions, CCCs are able to reduce security threats while ensuring that they have access to timely data insights. With the focus on student equity, CCCs are ensuring that students from all backgrounds have access to an education and the resources they need to be successful.

Learn more about Ellucian.

Meet the authors
Raymond Mendenilla, Senior Director, Business Transformation, Ellucian
Raymond Mendenilla
Senior Business Transformation Director, Ellucian

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