Digital Transformation: Culture Shifts

Various culture shifts signal the presence of and engagement in Dx at an institution. The Dx culture shifts identified below are being adopted at a plurality of responding institutions. It is important to note that nearly all trends and aspects of Dx have a sizable percentage of institutions currently moving forward…with others already lagging behind.

Institutions are emphasizing innovation and coordination, though data-driven transformation has yet to take hold in institutions' deeper administrative, academic, and business structures.

What Are Institutions Doing?

Campus leaders are emphasizing coordination and alignment on institutional goals; leaders are also effectively embedding IT into institutional priorities and promoting a culture of trust supported by data (see figure 1).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My campus leadership emphasizes coordination, collaboration, and shared goals: Disagree 11%, Agree 70%. My campus leadership requires alignment between institutional goals and departmental efforts: Disagree 20%, Agree 62%. My campus leadership embeds information technology and IT leadership into priorities, planning, and procurement: Disagree 28%, Agree 49%. My campus leadership promotes a culture of trust corroborated by accountability and data: Disagree 24%, Agree 45%.
Figure 1. Campus leadership: Coordination, alignment, institutional priorities, and culture of trust




Institutions are demonstrating agility and flexibility in their use of technology and in their institutional directions (see figure 2).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.   My institution exhibits flexibility and agility regarding the use of technology: Disagree 26%, Agree 44%. My institution exhibits flexibility and agility regarding institutional directions: Disagree 30%, Agree 42%.
Figure 2. Institution: Flexibility and agility




Institutions are relying on data and analytics for tracking progress on goals, making institutional course adjustments, and driving business management and decisions (see figure 3).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My institution relies on data and analytics for tracking progress on goals: Disagree 29%, Agree 42%. My institution relies on data and analytics for institutional course adjustments: Disagree 29%, Agree 39%. My institution uses business models that reflect a data-informed approach to management and decisions: Disagree 32%, Agree 37%.
Figure 3. Institution: Reliance on data and analytics

What Areas Are Opportunities for Improvement?

Campus leadership is struggling to rapidly respond to changing circumstances and new opportunities and to enable a seamless student experience (see figure 4).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My campus leadership is able to rapidly make decisions and adjust strategy in response to changing circumstances and new opportunities: Disagree 35%, Agree 36%. My campus leadership enables a seamless student experience with the institution: Disagree 33%, Agree 36%.
Figure 4. Campus leadership: Decision-making and the student experience




Institutions are sluggish when it comes to investing in human resources. Many colleges and universities eschew data-driven business and funding models, continuing instead to deploy traditional business processes that are rigid and unresponsive (see figure 5).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My institution is agile when it comes to investing in technology: Disagree 38%, Agree 36%. My institution differentiates itself through its use of technology and data: Disagree 43%, Agree 30%. My institution is agile when it comes to investing in core institutional functions: Disagree 39%, Agree 27%. My institution has developed a new business and funding model that relies on data-driven decision-making: Disagree 43%, Agree 27%. My institution has a sharp focus on user-centered design: Disagree 41%, Agree 22%. My institution exhibits flexibility and agility regarding business processes: Disagree 49%, Agree 21%. My institution has developed a new business and funding model that relies on technology that is continually changing: Disagree 52%, Agree 18% My institution is agile when it comes to investing in human resources: Disagree 55%, Agree 17%.
Figure 5. Institutions: Human resources, business and funding models, and business processes




Institutions are lagging in their employment of data platforms, specifically in the areas of administrative tasks, student well-being, and student achievement (see figure 6).

Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My institution has established data standards for use by all stakeholders: Disagree 47%, Agree 27%. My institution has common data definitions and broad agreement on the meaning and the quality of the data: Disagree 47%, Agree 26%. My institution has well-defined, agreed-upon, and timely data to support data-driven decision-making: Disagree 46%, Agree 21%. My institution employs rich data platforms to drive automation and pattern recognition for student achievement: Disagree 53%, Agree 18%. My institution employs rich data platforms to drive automation and pattern recognition for student well-being: Disagree 62%, Agree 16%. My institution employs rich data platforms to drive automation and pattern recognition for administrative tasks: Disagree 65%, Agree 16%.
Figure 6. Institutions: Employment of data platforms

Are the Necessary Supports in Place?

Higher education institutions are:

  • Advancing new strategies to effectively meet 21st-century challenges and opportunities,
  • Actively innovating through institution-wide goals and ambitions, and
  • Moving away from risk aversion and toward change and risk management (see figure 7).
Bar graph showing the percentage of respondents who 'Strongly disagree or disagree' (Disagree) and 'Agree or strongly agree' (Agree) for each statement.  My institution is advancing new strategies to effectively meet 21st-century challenges and opportunities: Disagree 19%, Agree 49%. My institution is actively innovating through institution-wide goals and ambitions: Disagree 22%, Agree 48%. My institution is moving away from risk aversion and toward change and risk management: Disagree 25%, Agree 44%. My institution provides incubators for exploring and piloting innovative approaches and new sources of revenue: Disagree 37%, Agree 40%. My institution is defining and actively responding to digital transformation goals: Disagree 33%, Agree 38%. My institution has strategic goals based on user experience: Disagree 32%, Agree 38%.
Figure 7. Institutions: Supports for Dx