May 23, 2022

Report: “Driving Digital Transformation in Higher Education”


Driving Digital Transformation in Higher EducationThe EDUCAUSE Digital Transformation (Dx) research project is our first attempt to gather data on how the Dx phenomenon is playing out in higher education. The goal of this project is to enrich the collective understanding of Dx in higher education and explore the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead on the Dx journey. The first report is a broad view of Dx. The second report looks at the culture, workforce, and technology shifts that signal change is taking place.

Key Findings

  • We cannot ignore digital transformation (Dx). The importance of Dx has been growing in recent years and is expected to continue to grow.
  • Few say their institution is currently engaged in digital transformation, but many are preparing to do so. Slightly more than half of respondents said they think their institution is either not yet engaged with Dx but is exploring it or is not engaged in Dx at all. However, almost one-third report that their institution is developing a Dx strategy.
  • Optimism about achieving Dx in the near future is high. Respondents think their institution can make significant strides toward digital transformation in the next five years. Those who have yet to start thinking about Dx are expected to be significantly behind those already planning and implementing Dx approaches.
  • Perceptions about who is aware of, understands, and supports Dx vary widely by campus role. Groups that are closer to technology and digital innovations (e.g., CIOs, librarians, directors of institutional research, and student success leaders) are believed to both understand and support Dx efforts more than those in other groups. Executives and administrators are thought to have a long way to go to develop awareness and understanding of Dx.
  • Dx is a student-centered endeavor. The major benefits and drivers for engaging in digital transformation are related to the student experience and student success efforts. Dx is also seen as potentially beneficial to improving the institution’s reputation, competing with institutional peers, and improving the financial health of the institution.
  • The impact of Dx across institutional functions varies widely so far. The digital transformation of institutional functions is an uneven process, with some functions (e.g., central IT, libraries) being significantly more advanced along the path to Dx than others (e.g., community partnerships, faculty promotion and tenure).
  • The greatest barriers to Dx are the usual suspects: culture change and cost. Not having information digitized and processes digitalized are also seen as barriers to Dx. Privacy is considered to be the lowest barrier to carrying out Dx initiatives.
Report Resources

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.