I didn’t consciously plan to be in a technology field when I graduated from college, but what initially attracted me and has kept me working in technology, and in a university setting in particular, is the amazing variety and opportunity for discovery, innovation and change in higher education. But with change comes challenge and nothing is more challenging than managing a university network that literally touches every human who steps foot on campus. Without a robust wired and wireless network that reaches every building, every classroom, and even outdoor spaces, students, staff and faculty simply can’t work, study, discover, grow or communicate.
University network managers have one of the most important, yet thankless jobs on campus. They perform so many vital functions that are only marginally discernable to the casual observer – like providing reliability, security and optimizing network performance. Yet, data networks are truly integral to the success of the institution, inseparable from innovations in research, scholarship, teaching and learning, and supporting both student success and the student experience. Campus networks are also the lifeline for the business functions and applications of the university, whether hosted locally or in the cloud.
Although business and campuses alike face similar IT challenges, a number of emerging trends will soon transform the future of our campus networks – whether we like it or not. But at the same time, these same trends will add strategic value to the mission of the university.