"Systems thinking" is understanding how things affect one another: when computer runs out of RAM, they start to page, slowing down the disk; when the payroll tax rate is changed then the Finance department needs IT systems updated.
The better we can understand the system of higher education, the better we can identify novel solutions to reduce waste and improve effectiveness. To that end I began trying to map the system of higher education: to understand the major players affecting higher education institutions. This chart can help identify possible systemic ramifications--for example, how a federal government shutdown might affect institutions, their students, and their alumni.
Centralized IT is in an ideal position for systems thinkers: it sees the needs of departments across campus and it has an awareness of what's available in the market. The more we can understand the system in which we work, the better value we can create for our institution and for higher education as a whole.
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