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Thanks, Ethan, Patrick and others, for an enlightening discussion.

We've talked about the merits of different open source licenses, and the bigger picture of "open" (thanks, Patrick).  We've shared our concerns about a shrinking vendor market.  We've noticed that Blackboard is moving in new directions for profitability as their LMS market shifts.  I think we are seeing the same thing in the new Ellucian (Sungard + Datatel) blend; the ERP market is shifting, and Ellucian is seeking new directions for profitability.
.
Patrick noted:
"...understanding of openness itself (the issues previously listed and what enables those) and thus have no means to assess it, e.g. what metrics/criteria do campuses apply to identify and measure transparency or community?"

In another venue, I connected with our colleague Melissa Woo, who shared this post:
" ...the Standish Group released a report stating that 50% of all technology Initiatives are a waste of money."

Why were these projects a waste of money? What was the definition and evaluation criteria for waste?

We may be in an era of shifting values, with new values being defined or existing values being refined.

Do we value community, as Patrick suggests?  Is the expressed distaste for Blackboard's move into Moodlerooms a reflection of a perception of loss of community?  Or is it just fear of cost increases or poorer service or something like that?

If Blackboard can no longer be profitable just by selling Blackboard LMS, and SunGard / Datatel cannot be profitable by selling new ERP solutions in a saturated ERP market, these vendors need to venture into new markets.

At the same time, we need to manage our initiatives so that 50% of all technology initiatives are not a waste of money.  To me, we really need to think about our measures of success.

How will these two directions bump into each other?    What do we want out of these initiatives?
I'm thinking it is successful change that yields desired results, including sustainability in a resource-constrained environment. 

That means community, openness and transparency are important, because these values help with sustainability in our environments.  The question for me is whether Blackboard or Ellucian or any of the other players can create the community needed for success, in the same way that the open source community has contributed to success.  The open source community only had to show profitability to the extent to keep the mission alive, right?  Corporations need to show profitability in a different way to stockholders, so openness and transparency may not work to that goal.  Will they be able to meet their profitability goals?

But is seems they really are trying to address the community piece.  How do we measure the value of joining those communities? How will they enable us to achieve that "successful change?"

Sorry, this is my stream of consciousness thinking on this - I haven't formulated any positions yet!  Look forward to any comments.

Best wishes,
Theresa




Comments

Theresa,

Good afternoon.  Thanks for broadening the discussion beyond Blackboard and Moodlerooms. Certainly Ellucian is another good example. I agree that we need to be very concerned about the future  direction of the vendor systems and open source solutions upon which we've chosen to build our institutions' information architecture. 

The future directions of these key "platform" systems matter, not only in terms of cost and effectiveness, but also how our technology organizations are able to support our institutions strategic initiatives. I guess that the Standish Group's 50% statistic is also a guess. While I expect that many of us do develop business cases before undertaking projects, how many of us actually do follow-up assessments on whether our projects actually achieve their business case projections? If it's 50% I'll be shocked. Don't our project teams mostly "finish" a project and then move on to the next challenge?

I found a youtube over the weekend that is very relevant to the discussion of assessing value. It features Jeanne Ross of the Center for Information Systems Research at MIT.


She speaks for 70 minutes or so, and she starts about 8 minutes in. I'd be very interesting in hearing what others on this list think about the video and the larger topic of information architecture and assessing value.

Thanks again,

Fred


From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 16:02:22 -0400
To: <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: [CIO] Assessing value (was Blackboard acquisition of Moodlerooms)

Thanks, Ethan, Patrick and others, for an enlightening discussion.

We've talked about the merits of different open source licenses, and the bigger picture of "open" (thanks, Patrick).  We've shared our concerns about a shrinking vendor market.  We've noticed that Blackboard is moving in new directions for profitability as their LMS market shifts.  I think we are seeing the same thing in the new Ellucian (Sungard + Datatel) blend; the ERP market is shifting, and Ellucian is seeking new directions for profitability.
.
Patrick noted:
"...understanding of openness itself (the issues previously listed and what enables those) and thus have no means to assess it, e.g. what metrics/criteria do campuses apply to identify and measure transparency or community?"

In another venue, I connected with our colleague Melissa Woo, who shared this post:
" ...the Standish Group released a report stating that 50% of all technology Initiatives are a waste of money."

Why were these projects a waste of money? What was the definition and evaluation criteria for waste?

We may be in an era of shifting values, with new values being defined or existing values being refined.

Do we value community, as Patrick suggests?  Is the expressed distaste for Blackboard's move into Moodlerooms a reflection of a perception of loss of community?  Or is it just fear of cost increases or poorer service or something like that?

If Blackboard can no longer be profitable just by selling Blackboard LMS, and SunGard / Datatel cannot be profitable by selling new ERP solutions in a saturated ERP market, these vendors need to venture into new markets.

At the same time, we need to manage our initiatives so that 50% of all technology initiatives are not a waste of money.  To me, we really need to think about our measures of success.

How will these two directions bump into each other?    What do we want out of these initiatives?
I'm thinking it is successful change that yields desired results, including sustainability in a resource-constrained environment. 

That means community, openness and transparency are important, because these values help with sustainability in our environments.  The question for me is whether Blackboard or Ellucian or any of the other players can create the community needed for success, in the same way that the open source community has contributed to success.  The open source community only had to show profitability to the extent to keep the mission alive, right?  Corporations need to show profitability in a different way to stockholders, so openness and transparency may not work to that goal.  Will they be able to meet their profitability goals?

But is seems they really are trying to address the community piece.  How do we measure the value of joining those communities? How will they enable us to achieve that "successful change?"

Sorry, this is my stream of consciousness thinking on this - I haven't formulated any positions yet!  Look forward to any comments.

Best wishes,
Theresa




Always good reading Theresa Rowe’s posts…. What struck me when reading it was her questions about metrics, about measuring success….and that 50% projects are a waste of money…. Two comments:

1.    I might agree that some portion of the money spent on projects might be avoided but is spent because of reluctance of the functional areas to adapt to and adopt new procedures and processes. Most all the technologies work just fine. Do what they were designed to do. Many smaller organizations (like the ones I’ve been involved with) try to drive these new products into production without socializing the community or doing business redesign first. So we waste time and money trying to change the product. But, should we avoid attempting ½ of the projects we undertake…an interesting question that leads to the second observation.

2.    We can really only measure our organizations success based upon how the functional users (faculty, students and staff) accomplish their goals with the tools we provide. It is about them, not us. Do our students graduate, find jobs, do our faculty do research, publish, do we get paid? All of these things have been happening for a long time….it is elegant when the technology all works. We can argue that spending a million on a vendor system is better or worse that twenty-five thousand on an open source version of a system that does similar things…but in the BIG picture does it matter? Are the two institutions still graduating students? Maybe this will matter when student stop coming because the costs are too high, but with IT budgets running around 6% of the total, I’m not sure we are the problems…

 

Just some morning thoughts before another all day strategic planning meeting!!!

 

Best,

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY 11571

516-678-5000 ex 6443

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4:02 PM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: [CIO] Assessing value (was Blackboard acquisition of Moodlerooms)

 

Thanks, Ethan, Patrick and others, for an enlightening discussion.

We've talked about the merits of different open source licenses, and the bigger picture of "open" (thanks, Patrick).  We've shared our concerns about a shrinking vendor market.  We've noticed that Blackboard is moving in new directions for profitability as their LMS market shifts.  I think we are seeing the same thing in the new Ellucian (Sungard + Datatel) blend; the ERP market is shifting, and Ellucian is seeking new directions for profitability.
.
Patrick noted:
"...understanding of openness itself (the issues previously listed and what enables those) and thus have no means to assess it, e.g. what metrics/criteria do campuses apply to identify and measure transparency or community?"

In another venue, I connected with our colleague Melissa Woo, who shared this post:
" ...the Standish Group released a report stating that 50% of all technology Initiatives are a waste of money."

Why were these projects a waste of money? What was the definition and evaluation criteria for waste?

We may be in an era of shifting values, with new values being defined or existing values being refined.

Do we value community, as Patrick suggests?  Is the expressed distaste for Blackboard's move into Moodlerooms a reflection of a perception of loss of community?  Or is it just fear of cost increases or poorer service or something like that?

If Blackboard can no longer be profitable just by selling Blackboard LMS, and SunGard / Datatel cannot be profitable by selling new ERP solutions in a saturated ERP market, these vendors need to venture into new markets.

At the same time, we need to manage our initiatives so that 50% of all technology initiatives are not a waste of money.  To me, we really need to think about our measures of success.

How will these two directions bump into each other?    What do we want out of these initiatives?
I'm thinking it is successful change that yields desired results, including sustainability in a resource-constrained environment. 

That means community, openness and transparency are important, because these values help with sustainability in our environments.  The question for me is whether Blackboard or Ellucian or any of the other players can create the community needed for success, in the same way that the open source community has contributed to success.  The open source community only had to show profitability to the extent to keep the mission alive, right?  Corporations need to show profitability in a different way to stockholders, so openness and transparency may not work to that goal.  Will they be able to meet their profitability goals?

But is seems they really are trying to address the community piece.  How do we measure the value of joining those communities? How will they enable us to achieve that "successful change?"

Sorry, this is my stream of consciousness thinking on this - I haven't formulated any positions yet!  Look forward to any comments.

Best wishes,
Theresa



Rob and Theresa make excellent points. I am struck by Rob’s assessment of the functional areas inability to assess first what they want to accomplish and second how they want to accomplish it within the bounds of the products selected to assist in those functions. I have witnessed all too often the selection of a solution based on the demonstrations (the bells and whistle feature exhibit) and listened to the questions raised by functional areas as result. It strikes me that many just want technology to conform to what they know of their processes and are not interested in evaluating processes in light of new technology solutions capabilities. Rob is right that many areas (even IT) have a tendency to select a product only to attempt implementation as if nothing has changed (using a document imaging solutions as if paper never went away) and then get frustrated that the system “will not do what is needed” without taking the time to truly understand the complete capabilities of the system prior to purchase.

 

I seem to have arguments (too strong) with clients about products “gone wrong” too quickly after adoption that always end with “IT recommended” and now it isn’t working for us because IT isn’t doing what we ask. We cannot understand all that happens in each functional area, particularly given the small or shrinking support staff’s we are dealing with. But we do need to play a major role in helping the functional areas understand what products can do and then help them understand how their processes might be reevaluated to fit within the capabilities of a certain product. Perhaps one day we can avoid the revolving product solution and budget busting issues we face if we work together upfront to determine what it is we need to accomplish, how we are doing that today and what technologies might enhance what is being accomplished so we can spend more face-time in working with those we serve, the students.

 

Sorry, but I have just dealt with a major implementation gone wrong for many of the reasons expressed in this string.

 

Tom

 

Thomas H. Carnwath
Vice President
Technology and Information Services
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Tel: 215-717-6440

 

 

 

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From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Robert Paterson
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:41 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Assessing value (was Blackboard acquisition of Moodlerooms)

 

Always good reading Theresa Rowe’s posts…. What struck me when reading it was her questions about metrics, about measuring success….and that 50% projects are a waste of money…. Two comments:

1.    I might agree that some portion of the money spent on projects might be avoided but is spent because of reluctance of the functional areas to adapt to and adopt new procedures and processes. Most all the technologies work just fine. Do what they were designed to do. Many smaller organizations (like the ones I’ve been involved with) try to drive these new products into production without socializing the community or doing business redesign first. So we waste time and money trying to change the product. But, should we avoid attempting ½ of the projects we undertake…an interesting question that leads to the second observation.

2.    We can really only measure our organizations success based upon how the functional users (faculty, students and staff) accomplish their goals with the tools we provide. It is about them, not us. Do our students graduate, find jobs, do our faculty do research, publish, do we get paid? All of these things have been happening for a long time….it is elegant when the technology all works. We can argue that spending a million on a vendor system is better or worse that twenty-five thousand on an open source version of a system that does similar things…but in the BIG picture does it matter? Are the two institutions still graduating students? Maybe this will matter when student stop coming because the costs are too high, but with IT budgets running around 6% of the total, I’m not sure we are the problems…

 

Just some morning thoughts before another all day strategic planning meeting!!!

 

Best,

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY 11571

516-678-5000 ex 6443

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4:02 PM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: [CIO] Assessing value (was Blackboard acquisition of Moodlerooms)

 

Thanks, Ethan, Patrick and others, for an enlightening discussion.

We've talked about the merits of different open source licenses, and the bigger picture of "open" (thanks, Patrick).  We've shared our concerns about a shrinking vendor market.  We've noticed that Blackboard is moving in new directions for profitability as their LMS market shifts.  I think we are seeing the same thing in the new Ellucian (Sungard + Datatel) blend; the ERP market is shifting, and Ellucian is seeking new directions for profitability.
.
Patrick noted:
"...understanding of openness itself (the issues previously listed and what enables those) and thus have no means to assess it, e.g. what metrics/criteria do campuses apply to identify and measure transparency or community?"

In another venue, I connected with our colleague Melissa Woo, who shared this post:
" ...the Standish Group released a report stating that 50% of all technology Initiatives are a waste of money."

Why were these projects a waste of money? What was the definition and evaluation criteria for waste?

We may be in an era of shifting values, with new values being defined or existing values being refined.

Do we value community, as Patrick suggests?  Is the expressed distaste for Blackboard's move into Moodlerooms a reflection of a perception of loss of community?  Or is it just fear of cost increases or poorer service or something like that?

If Blackboard can no longer be profitable just by selling Blackboard LMS, and SunGard / Datatel cannot be profitable by selling new ERP solutions in a saturated ERP market, these vendors need to venture into new markets.

At the same time, we need to manage our initiatives so that 50% of all technology initiatives are not a waste of money.  To me, we really need to think about our measures of success.

How will these two directions bump into each other?    What do we want out of these initiatives?
I'm thinking it is successful change that yields desired results, including sustainability in a resource-constrained environment. 

That means community, openness and transparency are important, because these values help with sustainability in our environments.  The question for me is whether Blackboard or Ellucian or any of the other players can create the community needed for success, in the same way that the open source community has contributed to success.  The open source community only had to show profitability to the extent to keep the mission alive, right?  Corporations need to show profitability in a different way to stockholders, so openness and transparency may not work to that goal.  Will they be able to meet their profitability goals?

But is seems they really are trying to address the community piece.  How do we measure the value of joining those communities? How will they enable us to achieve that "successful change?"

Sorry, this is my stream of consciousness thinking on this - I haven't formulated any positions yet!  Look forward to any comments.

Best wishes,
Theresa


Message from cheneghan@gmail.com

Good afternoon.

I have subscribed to and participated in this list serv for more than a decade.
Many, many messages have been written, read and discussed in this period of time.
Out of all of these thousands, or tens of thousands of messages, those of the past few days have been truly memorable.
Some of the thinking, observations and points of view that have been expressed on this topic have been both bold and inspiring.

I am extremely encouraged by the direction in which this conversation is heading.

I would just like to add one additional item to consider and discuss.
How often, is it the (business) process that actually needs to be improved or replaced, NOT the system that is used to support the job functions?

As those of you who have led large ERP projects know all too well, Cu$tomizing an ERP system so that it matches your Current processes, (the way "you do things here") is not only time consuming and expen$ive it also leads to diminished results.
You wind up with a system that costs as much as a Lamborghini, but produces only as much as a Yugo.

How often have we purchased new or different LMSes, (and other systems) because we and our stakeholders 'think' that a new bell, whistle or feature will be the magic bullet, which will miraculously make our existing processes more effective?

How many of us have actually changed the following:

How we develop our courses. (Are we still determining What goes into our courses and How we build our courses the same ways that we did five years ago? How are we incorporating what we now know about Learning Design and Cognitive Science that we did not know in 2000, or 2005?)

How we measure our courses' effectiveness (Are we still using simple feedback and satisfaction surveys? Do we know if the students have mastered the courses key concepts? Are our faculty actually required to change how they deliver each iteration of a course based on the student feedback that we gather? Or do we just gather this data and file it away?)

How we measure our students' success (Do we know, conclusively, if our students can Apply the skills and concepts that they learned from us? If so, what role DO these skills play both in their future learning and in their lives, after they leave our campuses?)

I won't belabor this point any longer.

I would just like to ask you all to think a bit about what Processes need to be changed on your campuses to achieve the goals and results that your organization needs.

Come up with these answers first.

Then you can begin to compare whether the needed processes and improvements Can be supported by your existing system(s) or whether you do, in fact, need some new technology.

Good luck and please keep this conversation going.

Sincerely,
Christian 

Per Christian's request, "...please keep this conversation going," and specifically to his comments regarding the LMS, its selection (as well as other applications) and our campuses' processes affected by that (oh, and a bit of shameless promotion), I'd like to share with you an upcoming WCET (http://wcet.wiche.edu/) Webcast I will be doing with Phil Hill (http://mfeldstein.com/author/phil-hill/). The presentation will focus on how institutions could adapt their technology decision-making processes (just one perspective) based on various market changes, to, as Christian says, "achieve the goals and results that your organization needs." Phil and I will offer a framework for assessing learning platform options (not just the LMS but other web services/cloud-based applications as well). We will consider how market changes could or will change an institution's processes for evaluating, selecting and implementing various learning platforms and applications. The session is Tuesday, May 22 at Noon MT and is free. See http://wcet.wiche.edu/connect/no-lms-rfp for more information and registration. Thanks, Patrick || |||| ||| || | | || ||| || ||| || | | ||| || ||| || Patrick Masson Chief Technology Officer, UMassOnline The University of Massachusetts, Office of the President 333 South St., Suite 400, Shrewsbury, MA 01545 (774) 455-7615: Office (774) 455-7620: Fax (970) 4MASSON: GoogleVoice UMOLPatMasson: AIM massonpj: Skype Web Site: http://www.umassonline.net Blog: http://www.umassonlineblog.com ________________________________________ From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Christian Heneghan [cheneghan@GMAIL.COM] Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:34 PM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [CIO] Assessing value (was Blackboard acquisition of Moodlerooms) Good afternoon. I have subscribed to and participated in this list serv for more than a decade. Many, many messages have been written, read and discussed in this period of time. Out of all of these thousands, or tens of thousands of messages, those of the past few days have been truly memorable. Some of the thinking, observations and points of view that have been expressed on this topic have been both bold and inspiring. I am extremely encouraged by the direction in which this conversation is heading. I would just like to add one additional item to consider and discuss. How often, is it the (business) process that actually needs to be improved or replaced, NOT the system that is used to support the job functions? As those of you who have led large ERP projects know all too well, Cu$tomizing an ERP system so that it matches your Current processes, (the way "you do things here") is not only time consuming and expen$ive it also leads to diminished results. You wind up with a system that costs as much as a Lamborghini, but produces only as much as a Yugo. How often have we purchased new or different LMSes, (and other systems) because we and our stakeholders 'think' that a new bell, whistle or feature will be the magic bullet, which will miraculously make our existing processes more effective? How many of us have actually changed the following: How we develop our courses. (Are we still determining What goes into our courses and How we build our courses the same ways that we did five years ago? How are we incorporating what we now know about Learning Design and Cognitive Science that we did not know in 2000, or 2005?) How we measure our courses' effectiveness (Are we still using simple feedback and satisfaction surveys? Do we know if the students have mastered the courses key concepts? Are our faculty actually required to change how they deliver each iteration of a course based on the student feedback that we gather? Or do we just gather this data and file it away?) How we measure our students' success (Do we know, conclusively, if our students can Apply the skills and concepts that they learned from us? If so, what role DO these skills play both in their future learning and in their lives, after they leave our campuses?) I won't belabor this point any longer. I would just like to ask you all to think a bit about what Processes need to be changed on your campuses to achieve the goals and results that your organization needs. Come up with these answers first. Then you can begin to compare whether the needed processes and improvements Can be supported by your existing system(s) or whether you do, in fact, need some new technology. Good luck and please keep this conversation going. Sincerely, Christian
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