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How the Social Campus Enables Tomorrow's Workers Today

Allen Bernard | Jan. 31, 2013
Collaboration is the key to getting anything done. Social technologies are all about enabling that collaboration. Combine social with mobile and sprinkle in technologies like VPNs and SSO, and the idea of 'social' moves to a whole new level, as two higher education CIOs attest.

With 18,500 students, a law school and extension campuses in 10 counties, there was no way everyone was going to get an iPad. "In my experience, all businesses suffer from some degree [of] thinking that technology itself can solve a particular problem," she says.

One of the ways Young is able to make UNH more social is by opening up the school's single SharePoint implementation to partners in state agencies, other colleges and select business partners. "You're not dependent on just knowing someone's email address or things flying around in that space," she says. Meanwhile, UNH uses Blackboard for student-faculty collaboration so everyone can share IP securely and know where their data is.

Young is also embracing mobile apps more and more. When she arrived, there weren't any. Now, UNH uses about a dozen. "All of this stuff used to happen in these silos with one-off technology solutions, and it was very difficult to know what was going on, what was working and what didn't," she says. "Now, we're moving to a place where it's more open and there's more analysis available."

Since Young comes from the business world and came into UNH to help it run in a more business-like fashion, she understands the challenges that most companies face as they try to transition from old-world legacy systems stove-piped into silos to the flatter, more open world of today, where people just expect things to work the way they want them to.

"That's something I would frankly love to be able to do -a giant rip and replace...something very greenfield and very cool like [Komarny] did-but I'm also a very pragmatic person," Young says. "Social for us at UNH, for a lot of reasons, is not going to be that leap frog jump that [Komarny] was able to do. We have a lot of legacy systems that are tied to a lot business systems. And, for us, our leaps forward are really going to be in these new product areas where we can say, 'Okay we are going to put a new platform in place.'"

Allen Bernard is a Boston native now living in Columbus, Ohio. He has covered IT management and the integration of technology into the enterprise since 2000. 


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