From internal legacy systems to cloud based solutions University systems have come a long way. The trick has always been how to upgrade effectivly. How do the pieces connect?



I have 10 years of experience with a gambit of University systems. I've been fortunate enough to be part of the digital revolution in the higher education ecosystem.

The wild wild west of EDU web technology...

A lot has changed in the edu ecosystem since I started. Web technology went from being an after thought relegated for functions such as informational portals to mission critical systems for branding, admissions, online education, and day-to-day management of University systems.

When I first got my feet wet at Florida International University we were still using outdated legacy systems, a siloed mentality approach to our web presence, burdened with technology debt, little to no online education tools and an IT security team that was hesitant to change.

Over the years I was fortunte enough to move from department to department giving me the unique opportunity to have a first hand view of a University in transition.

I've worked on everything from custom applications that needed to communicate with legacy systems, online learning management systems, to University management systems (PeopleSoft).
In my career there have been many mentors, agents of change, willing to buck the system for the better.
Universities like any big business are like rocks, strong, stable, and able to stay the course with little effort. If I've learned anything from these mentors it's that the goal of any successful agent of change is to be like water. Water is able to maneuver through the smallest cracks in the rock, wearing down any obstacle.

For better or worse, Universties are very siloed, you have a multitude of departments each with its own needs, its own budget, its own goals.

... So how do you focus efforts to be as effective as possible?
From my experience agents of change require the following four qualities.

  • - The ability to communicate complex problems into simple paradigms.
  • - A deep understanding of current & future systems.
  • - A willingness to breakdown silos.
  • - Experience in the trenches.

This is a very exciting time, Universities are starting to break down silo's and with this freedom of communication and some luck. This movement will mirror the explosive growth of new ideas and tools that is today's internet marketplace.