In the modern world it is rare that someone ever refers to Higher Education as being near the pinnacle of innovation and disruption. Those words are used to describe Tesla, Amazon, Netflix, or startups or scale ups who are disrupting entire sectors in all areas of the global economy. Too often Higher Ed is viewed as a slow-moving, bureaucratic machine that is living with the same ways and approaches as it was a century ago.
A recent Market Watch reports out on a new study by TD Ameritrade in an article titled, “Half of young Americans say college is too expensive and no longer necessary”. This title alone should resonate as deafening in the hallowed halls of the ivory tower. The continued closure of colleges and universities further validates that Higher Education and antiquated models of delivery are not immune to being disrupted.“Innovate or Die” is not just a bumper sticker they pass out at tech conferences.
"Agile, DevOps, continuous delivery and continuous integration has created a new paradigm where IT delivers exceptional value combined with a speed of delivery uncommon in Higher Ed"
Badges, micro-credentials, short-term certificates, and apprenticeships are all being viewed as a different, quicker, and more affordable way to get an education, to get high demand skills, and enter the workforce or change careers. Lifelong learning means a constant evolution of the needed skills of the modern economy. Community colleges across the country are a perfect place to get those skills.
As part of its extensive digital transformation Ivy Tech Community College is taking pages straight out of the playbooks of the likes of tech companies like Salesforce, SpaceX, AirBnB,and others to rapidly increase the velocity and cadence for the delivery of IT services and solutions. The modern economy demands it of Higher Education and in turn those colleges and universities should expect it from their IT departments.
The Ivy Tech IT team brought the Agile methodology to the college to better serve our constituents and customers. Business units, faculty, staff, and students should not have to wait months (or even years!) while IT gets around to delivering what the college needs. All IT staff members and key business unit stakeholders were provided formal Agile training. Several IT team members pursued and became certified Scrum Masters further proving their commitment to Agile.
One look at Agile organizations like Netflix, Air BnB, and Spotify demonstrates the amazing ability for an increased velocity and cadence of delivery of content, services, products, etc. In turn that same speed of delivery of innovative IT offerings is critical to the current and future success of the college. What took years can now take weeks.
The IT team in Higher Ed must be at the forefront of the rapid delivery of technology solutions and services. The college stakeholders from Finance, HR, Academics, and other business units at Ivy Tech are part of the Agile teams and see results weekly. The days of client-server technology with multi-year implementations of expensive on-premise, hardware-dependent behemoth projects are gone or soon to be gone. “The cloud” is not a new idea and is rapidly reducing the lifespan of the cost-prohibitive data center.
Combining the Agile approach with DevOps and the subsequent continuous delivery and continuous integration, IT is able to deliver working software and solutions in a few weeks instead of months or years. By adopting the Agile methodology and DevOps. Ivy Tech was able to deliver the college’s first Mobile App in half the time of the vendor’s usual deployment times. This removed months of time and enabled the app to be delivered weeks before the start of the Fall semester. From signed contract to “go-live” was a little over three months.
The delivery of information technology solutions and services must be gauged in minutes and hours, not months and years. Agile, DevOps, continuous delivery and continuous integration has created a new paradigm where IT delivers exceptional value combined with a speed of delivery uncommon in HigherEd. Ivy Tech’s Office of Information Technology is actively adapting and evolving with this paradigm to deliver at a pace and cadence never before seen in HigherEd and reflective of private industry, startups, and scale ups.