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Episode 52

transformed: Empowering Digital Stakeholders

In this episode, Andrea Ballinger – Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer at Oregon State University – emphasizes the importance of understanding your capabilities and capacity while sustainably empowering digital stakeholders. 

Joe Gottlieb: (00:01)
Welcome to Transformed a Higher Digital podcast focused on the new why’s, the new what’s, and the new how’s in higher ed. In each episode, you will experience hosts and guests pulling for the resurgence of higher ed, while identifying and discussing the best practices needed to accomplish that resurgence. Culture, strategy and tactics, planning and execution, people, process, and technology. It’s all on the menu because that’s what’s required to truly transform. 

Joe Gottlieb: (00:35)
Hello, welcome and thanks for joining us for another episode of Transformed. My name is Joe Gottlieb, President and CTO of Higher Digital, and today I am joined by Andrea Ballinger, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer at Oregon State University. Andrea, welcome to Transformed

Andrea Ballinger: (00:54)
Thanks, Joe. Happy to be here. So what do you wanna talk about? 

Joe Gottlieb: (00:58)
Well, I’m glad you asked, Andrea. I want to talk about the very exciting topic of empowering digital stakeholders. But first, tell me a little bit about your personal journey and how it shaped the passion for the work that you’re doing in higher ed. 

Andrea Ballinger: (01:13)
Didn’t it started that way, Joe? Higher ed was not in my, um, uh, let me say, uh, roadmap, let’s call it that . So, uh, so I’m a first generation American and, uh, started actually studying, uh, to be a, become a doctor, a medical doctor, and, uh, decided that was not for me and went, uh, decided to go, uh, to the University of Illinois, uh, where my father was a faculty member and, uh, got a degree in finance and an M B A and as a good person getting an M B A, I went into mergers and acquisitions, . And that is where I fell in love with technology. And, uh, it wasn’t until y2k, you are too young to remember this, but we had y2k. It wasn’t until Y2K that I was exposed to higher education and I said, oh my gosh, I actually can do something to help and not get bored, because a higher education environment is like a city. There’s so many different businesses. So that’s where I got, uh, into higher ed, Joe. 

Joe Gottlieb: (02:08)
Well, thanks for sharing that. And it’s, uh, I, I, it’s always fun to talk to higher ed leaders that have also been on the business side because they, they get this great mixture of skills to draw upon and experiences to draw upon. And I’d feel remiss if I didn’t correct you and say that I’m quite old enough to remember y2k. I was a technology consultant, and, um, I was part of the, the hype. I literally wrote a book about preparing for y2k. Oh, wow. 

Andrea Ballinger: (02:40)

Joe Gottlieb: (02:40)
Was a long way back. And, uh, it was not widely read. I’ll just say that, , but the, there is some background there. So, alright, let’s set the stage here for, for what’s happening at Oregon State right now. Tell me a bit, a little bit about the very, very, um, exciting plan that you’re executing and how it came about. And I’ve gotta say, having reviewed many of the materials and just gotten a feel for what your organization is doing, uh, it really gave me a charge because you’re not only being very thoughtful about it, but the, the attention to detail and even the production value is something that you are bringing a special character to. And I think that just helps make everything more adoptable, more interesting, more compelling. But apart from that, like, tell, tell me a bit about what’s going on. 

Andrea Ballinger: (03:28)
Thank you, Joey. You made my day. So, uh, I’m excited about this. So I came in about three and a half years ago and to an institution that didn’t have anything broken. What the institution had was a leadership and a group of IT professionals, both, uh, inside of my organization, but distributed that were hungry to take the institution to the next level. So I am a transformative C I O. So it was very aligned with whom I am. So that business background that you just referred to is, uh, what drives me right, is to create an experience and create an organization that delivers on value. But actually, um, I wanna go beyond that. I don’t wanna be the best of a few. I wanna be the best of a best. So I came in, uh, with, uh, the, uh, organization already aligned and ready to take the next steps. 

Andrea Ballinger: (04:11)
Uh, did a lot of assessment as a good M B A would do a hundred day reports, a lot of task forces to figure it out. What re what, what did I not learn? Through the interview process, we created a shared vision for where it needed to go based on where the institution wanted to go. And we are now into closing a third year of this plan going into the next step, which is the massive changes related to the technology stack that we have here at Oregon State University. So, an exciting environment to be in, not for the faint of heart Joe, but a place where you can really make a difference if you’re willing to do things differently than everybody else did. 

Joe Gottlieb: (04:47)
Makes a lot of sense. So I did look at, uh, some of those plans and I, I, what I want to do is, some of this is gonna sound pretty well technical slash detailed mm-hmm. , but, and not technical from a technology standpoint, but I’m literally gonna pull some of the terms that you’ve used in your plans. Cause I think they, they, they indicate particular areas that are worth talking about. So the first example of this is, I know notice that you have an established portfolio management office project listed under, in a very nice hierarchical structure listed under the plotting our course strategy, which itself is under the vantage point theme. So you’ve done a very nice job of characterizing these different layers of vision and plan and action in this hierarchy that stems all the way from the very top. So my question is, will the PMO established by this project work iteratively to optimize around the finite resources that you have, particularly in osu it so that you can balance progress supporting? And this is what I find one of the hardest things in it. A balance of the strategic plan requirements as well as the ongoing operational necessities. You have stuff like classroom network upgrades and maintenance, and just the keeping the lights on, right? So to me, this is where it has the biggest struggle is managing that balance. So how is your PMO gonna help you do that? 

Andrea Ballinger: (06:22)
It is doing it already, but I have to tell you, Joe, that it didn’t, the plan is not materializing the way that I had envisioned. So in the original plan for the PMO was I thought, you know, again, as an MBA that you put a portfolio management office and you’re managing all of the assets. So every project that’s going on, both to keep the lights on and the new projects, and you’re, you know, exactly who are the people, what are their capacity and what’s their capability? Well, I’m at a higher ed institution. That is not how you, you don’t start in thinking that you can boil the ocean, but you know, I’m always somebody that wants to try something new, and again, I wanna do things differently. I started that way. Well, I come to find out we didn’t have all the muscles in place to actually make that work. 

Andrea Ballinger: (07:02)
So I partnered with the division of Finance and accounting who are planners. Those folks actually know what to do, and they know money and they know human resources. So I endorse the creation of a, uh, an enterprise portfolio management that would help us on that front end on really defining what is it that people needed. So, uh, think about it as a, an intake, a business process intake, right? What is it that the, the units, the stakeholders are asking for? Is it valuable? Is it not? What’s the risk of doing? What’s the risk not doing? While inside of my organization, we were doing the other side of it. What is the capacity that we have? What are the capabilities? What are the skills that we have? What are the tools that we have to see if we can actually merge? And at the same time, asking our question, are we best positioned to make the decisions of, uh, what areas should we invest time and money at now to keep the lights on, you gotta do it. 

Andrea Ballinger: (07:51)
That’s part of the CIO’s job. But I’m talking about the new things I just shared with you that we are on a journey. This is the vantage point, is to be able to see above and say, okay, what is all, what’s the, the current landscape and what’s coming up? And are we best positioned to make the decision? And the answer is no. The answer was, we needed governance to be there and create this governance that would help us define out outside of the keeping the lights on, where do we invest the money at, at what sequence do we put money here first or put money there first? And that is panning out beautifully, Joe. Not only because engages the stakeholders into the process. So now faculty, staff, students have a voice into the process, but also challenging us in it because what they say it’s important sometimes, oh, we can’t deliver that unless we do X, Y, and Z and before. And that’s helping us further align what we actually need to have in terms of capacity and capability. 

Joe Gottlieb: (08:42)
Great. You’ve just hit on two really important dimensions that that last statement you made addresses the fact that there may be interdependencies or complexity surrounding certain intake requests, um, versus others. And the other though, and I wanna, I wanna redirect this. I wanna kind of repeat a form of this question. So you, you did distinguish, um, the, the new, the net new requests coming from your business stakeholders as the thing you wanted to establish governance to help drive prioritization of, for example. But did you have a method of representing the portion of your capacity that would need to be consumed by keeping the lights on, which would not just be it keeping the lights on, but might also be sort of general education operations, keeping the lights on? So there was a shared understanding and appreciation for operational necessities that a portion of the capacity needed to be devoted to and together as partners, here’s how we can best use the other resources that we have to make progress in balanced fashion on strategic imperatives for, for example. Does that make sense? 

Andrea Ballinger: (09:54)
Uh, makes total sense that absolutely the answer is yes. And here’s why. In it as leaders, we, we, we think of net new. So what additional resources do we need to put in place to actually deal with those strategies and those new projects? Right? I live in a constrainted environment, I’m a state institution. I don’t have the luxury of saying just keep giving me more and more and more funding, and then I don’t do anything with the keep lights on. So it took a lot of effort on our part of inventorying what we’re doing, what can we say no to, what can we stop doing? And this is part of the, the, the, uh, uh, rationale that I used on saying we might not be the best ones to do that portfolio management office. Maybe D F A is better the, the Department of Finance and and administration. 

Andrea Ballinger: (10:33)
So instead of me investing time and money on that, I’m going to collaborate with somebody else doing that. But if we really actually have to say we’re stopping some things, we are redirecting our funding to do other things on the keep lights on to create that capacity to be able to address that. Now, Joe, we’re not perfect yet. So don’t take, you know what I’m sharing with you as, oh my gosh, everything works beautifully as it it, you know, last year for instance, it was, we’re working a plan and we have a plan. You know, the, the leader of the institution, my boss came to me and said, Hey, you said you were gonna solve this problem three years from now. I need to solve this year. It was not on my plan. All of my resources are tied up both in keep the lights on in future. 

Andrea Ballinger: (11:10)
What do I do now? That’s where the governance, you come in and they say, Hey, now we have the boss saying that we must work on that. And it was a, a very important one, student c r m, right? We’re here to actually create that su student success. So now the governance was helping me. So if this is a brand new project and it’s gonna take this amount of effort, I need to actually reallocate some things that we had there. But it is a balancing act. You use that term. It’s a balancing act, Joe, on an ongoing basis. But if you don’t have visibility into the current capacity and capabilities that you need to put in place, and also a real, uh, honest assessment of what is working and not so that you can stop some things, you, you fail. So this is balancing 

Joe Gottlieb: (11:47)
Yeah, love that last part too. Honest assessment of what’s working and not working, because that helps you make the sometimes difficult choice when people get emotionally attached. You must have seen it in m and a. You get Oh yes, 

Andrea Ballinger: (12:03)
, you get, you get, oh yes, 

Joe Gottlieb: (12:04)
There’s deal momentum, right? And you feel like you just gotta continue because stopping would be a credit loss of credibility, but oh boy, we know how much value has been wasted. Uh, sticking on, on deal inertia, right? It is. So same thing can be true here. All right. So shifting gears a little bit to the reference you made about the skills that you had. So you, you conducted an, um, an inventory of skills. You, you, you developed an IT workforce development plan, which had your inventory of IT skills across the organization and probably started to identify net new skills you maybe needed to add or, or increase. Um, have you been able to leverage this inventory to assign projects to individuals and or teams in a more flexible and adaptive way, like think portfolio, right? Matching, uh, the, the way that you optimize your portfolio of skills against a portfolio of need? Has that proven to be doable? And if so, how has that manifest or what are some of the challenges that you had to overcome? 

Andrea Ballinger: (13:10)
So we’re using that for, um, some of the very risky propositions that we have because we also have, in higher education, we have individuals that work here for a very long time. So we have a risk of somebody getting close to retirement or somebody leaving. And so, um, we have, um, single person failures or, or opportunities, right? If they are not involved in that project, they can fail, the project can fail. So we took advantage of that and yes. And we said, okay, now there’s, this person’s the only one that does know this particular component. We need to bring other people to be watching, right? Or to be, uh, uh, um, uh, documenting and watching what the other folks do so that we can actually have some bench, is what I’m gonna call it. Yeah. To be able to address it next time. But we also identify this, this, I charge a group that actually did the, this assessment for me. 

Andrea Ballinger: (13:55)
And they came back with 10 skills that we don’t have at O ssu. We had one or two people out of close to 500 people identified as IT people here, right? But are the skills that we needed for the future. So then it is engaging in professional development, Joe. So that is where I have invested a lot of time and funds for the past two years, creating an entire 12 month course for managers to learn how to identify this and help people behind them get the skills. Investing on professional development, sending people to conferences or bringing consultants in to teach us new skills. All of that is part of this component to make sure that we can grow in our capacity and capability while at the same time giving people an opportunity to do something different. Because in IT, we get bored at times. And this gives us an opportunity to continue to be inspired because there’s something else coming in. 

Joe Gottlieb: (14:44)
That’s awesome. So it sounds like, and I just wanted to make sure this is also true mm-hmm. that on high-risk projects, sometimes you have to go to your known quantity. Yes. ACEs. Yes. And on other projects, there may be room to shore up extend your skills and let a, a couple people get some new skills and build that into the, both the timeline and the, the the budget of the project. Are you able to do that in place? 

Andrea Ballinger: (15:11)
Yes. Yes. And now it is not across the board everywhere, but yes. And, and what I’m got, the, the added benefit on this exercise, Joe, is that people are starting to self-identify. They never saw themselves as a business analyst. They never saw themselves as project managers or never saw themselves as a, a web designer. And now because they’re seeing that and they’re being exposed to that, they’re saying, Hey, if there’s an opportunity, I wanna learn that we create an entire, an entire curriculum for business analysts that actually received, uh, a green belt certification at the end of it. Because of that, we got a lot of people, technical people saying, Hey, I wanna learn more about how to be a ba. So that, that is creating that. Now again, we have lots of room yet for improvement, but it is panning out. This is the right plan. 

Joe Gottlieb: (15:53)
Yeah, it must be. So, uh, it must be so helpful to the overall culture and morale to have a a, a program like that. Even, even if it can improve the fact that there’s, uh, investment in there’s support for it. Yes. It, it really changes the game for people thinking about how, how they’re connecting to the organization and what’s, what’s quote in it for them. Okay. 

Andrea Ballinger: (16:15)
And so in, in an equitable way, if I can say that, because in the past, depending of who you reported to and if that particular unit had the funds to, they provided you an opportunity for development. What I brought to the institution was, I don’t care where you report to, this is an opportunity. So it’s not a mandated right. From my team, the people that directly report to me then becomes a requirement. But for the distributed, and there are a lot of distributed IT folks is, look, it’s an opportunity for you. You don’t pay for, I’m the one financing that. But jump in and get that skill. It becomes more equitable at in our organization. 

Joe Gottlieb: (16:48)
Excellent. Okay. So another part of your plan is your digitalization initiative. And that initiative is focused on digitalizing administrative processes. And what’s involved with that, of course, is retiring certain applications and streamlining certain processes in favor of more modern and efficient solutions. And I, I’m wondering at the first order, you know, at the first order, has this produced a net reduction in the quantity and or complexity of solutions in your portfolio? 

Andrea Ballinger: (17:20)
Oh, yes. Let me give you one example, and this is gonna surprise people if you’re not in higher education. Uh, when we started this student c r m, we did an inventory. How many tools did we have in a marketplace? You are going to be surprised. Hold onto your chairs. We had 91 versions of c r M on this at this university. We are a 35,000 student. We don’t need 91 CRMs for students, but we did. So now we’re implementing one. So yes, it is panning off. Uh, COVID also helped Joe because in, during covid we couldn’t support people the way that we supported before because you had somebody that you could just knock in their door. Now we needed to use the digital world to do that. So we needed to look at it. Can we automate and use less and less tools? And that helped us, right? 

Andrea Ballinger: (18:04)
So we, we had Zoom, uh, zoom, uh, here. We had teams, we had and we started letting the other tools, WebEx is, and all of the other things go. So we helped out. But yes, this digital transformation path, and we call it the grant expedition, is panning out now, the next big step, and that’s the one that you’re referring to, the, the massive administrative modernization program is the one where we’re gonna tackle the e r p plus 27 other applications that we have Cabo up together. Cuz our e r P is 35 years old. We put all this together to make the university business work. That will be when we are gonna see real dollars coming about. 

Joe Gottlieb: (18:40)
Got it. Okay. So I’m now to a place where I get to ask one of my favorite questions, 

Andrea Ballinger: (18:47)
Uhoh . And that is, 

Joe Gottlieb: (18:49)
I have observed as a uhhuh, as a humble student of the world, um, the massive shift since I’m so old. As we talked about earlier in the podcast, I’ve seen a lot of change in the technology, uh, universe and higher ed in particular has had its way with the ability to customize software to reflect its internal process, i e how it likes to do things. And once it has that done, it doesn’t like to change very much. But the problem is, is that as we work with software over time, we realize what we’ve left behind is a customized thing that our vendors can’t help us as much with. It gets brittle when we make changes, other things break, we can’t take on new versions, blah, blah, blah. Luckily there’s been amazing development in the industry called software as a service that has been selfishly motivated by vendors to make more profit. 

Joe Gottlieb: (19:47)
I e single version software as a service that has, you know, multi-tenants, i e multiple customers running on the same exact software. But what that translates to is a major change in how we adopt software. Mm-hmm. , we are no longer able to customize it to do our bidding, to, to minimize the change for us. We are forced to adopt the software that can be configured to a degree, but otherwise can’t be changed. Um, what that means is we have to choose our vendors carefully. I e hopefully we’ll make strategic choices where we’re betting on their ability to advance the state of the art in automation of a a certain or set of functions. But once we make that choice, we have to live with what they can deliver. And we have to change, we have to build our version of teaching and learning, our version of operating an institution around that automation platform. So is your Get stuff done, i e GSD 11 colon change management initiative, is it focused on helping you grapple with the need to change your processes in order to adopt SaaS that lacks this latitude of customization? 

Andrea Ballinger: (20:59)
So first of all, I love the setup of this question because I, I get, you know, my, my background is in the business and finance and m and a and I am one of those people that really believes that the software that we use today in the legacy, the technical debt that I have in, in, in higher ed has to do with 1950s paper processes that have been put into computers. Okay? So, uh, we think that they are the best processes in the world then if we were to design this process today, somebody would fire us in a five, first five minutes we’re here. So, no. So, uh, the answer is yeah, the not only GST 11, but we have an entire effort on building the muscle for organization change management, where we start with what is the experience that we want the student, the faculty, the staff to have with us. 

Andrea Ballinger: (21:46)
And that is the driver of the process. And then we say, what’s the best practice? If you were designing it with all the automation possible, would you ever design an onboarding process that requires 27 people in 35 days? The answer is no. Or if it is, yes, I have to talk to you mm-hmm. , we have to check on mental health here. Right? Right. No, you would never do that. So you would say, well, by the time it gets to the third person, the do you even know who the person is being hired? The answer is no. Do you have an audit trail? Yes. Can you set all the compliance there? Yes. Done. It will take you 30 minutes to actually get all of that in. Perfect. And there’s another trail. That’s what we need to design. So in our, it is in our environment and, uh, it is part of our process and all of our projects, you start with mapping the business process that exists today. 

Andrea Ballinger: (22:31)
People are shocked to see on paper one of these processes. The onboarding, uh, is a 14 foot, uh, plotter that I have in my office to show I’m not exaggerated. So I, the the data that I’m giving you are real. Okay? Those are the numbers that we started with. Now it’s, we have simplified that, but it, it, that was the original one we plotted and we show people and we say, okay, look at how many hands and a lot of manual work and a lot of, I have to wait on somebody else and I don’t know, it’s a, you know, goes to the, the, the dark web, I don’t know where it is. And then we say, how do we design this better? And then you use the software that are being designed to be fully automated with auto trail and we say, why can’t we not use the best practice? 

Andrea Ballinger: (23:11)
What do we lose with that? And because in our case, we’re using enterprise tools and we are architecting our entire environment, then we can say, well, there might be something related to I nine that is so specific to higher ed that we need to have something else. We can actually use professional technologies, use APIs and connect those processes. You’re still not, uh, changing the software or the intent to the software using best practice, but you’re adding the value that is needed for, uh, that particular institution. This is a dangerous, uh, environment for it because we like to do what I call lift and shift. You lift what people are doing today and you bring a shiny new tool to do exactly what the old tool was doing. What did you add? You didn’t add anything. There was no added value. We didn’t provide a, a, a way to provide, uh, or a better experience for the end user. Let’s not do lift and shift. Let’s make a path. And in my world and in my office, we have a cross that said no lift and shift allowed. So if we’re doing that, we have to stop. It has to be about the experience and the experience requires a very streamlined set of technologies and that’s what the vendor specialist as assess vendors are doing. No need for, uh, um, changing the software configuration. Yes. But now no, no changes or customizations to it. 

Joe Gottlieb: (24:27)
So when you, when you just described your process, and I am, I I, I saw myself in earlier, uh, parts of my career doing as is and two B type work with, you know, process, um, assessment, inventory assessment and and, and re-engineering. Right? So you used the term design. So, so do you find that it is helpful to know enough about how your SaaS vendors can deliver certain capabilities so that you don’t start with completely open-ended design? Yes. You start with a set of known, uh, capabilities and then you lean on the configurability of that platform to help you design your version of this in a configurable fashion. And as you point out, we’re necessary if we have to depart from SaaS, but use SaaS safe methods like APIs and things that we will make, take calculated risks on in terms of getting involved with directly. If we’re gonna build something on our own that is an appendage to a platform we’ve bought, we’ll use smart APIs. We’ll, we’ve got a, we’ve, we’ve isolated the tech deck to that piece that we have to own and maintain, but we’ve least isolated it, right? Versus calcified it in a monolith that we’ve customized in nine dimensions. Is that, is that an accurate way to restate what you said? 

Andrea Ballinger: (25:51)
Yes. And I’m just gonna make one point of clarification here. And that works when you have the maturity of the, your IT group that and, and your stakeholders that they know what the pos the are of possibilities are. If you are however, working an institution similar to mine where you have had the same tools for 35 years, Joe. Yeah. And a lot of the, the tenure of people working here is 20 years. You might not have, unless there’s an externality, uh, s the the group over here thinking about what’s the, the possibility cuz they’ve never seen that happen, right? So in addition to what you mentioned, the additional component that I bring to the equation is then I get the best practice, uh, that another higher ed institution use using the same tools so that I can show, look, there’s a streamline higher ed using that tool. Why can, can we not do that? And start from there. So it’s, you’re not starting from zero, it’s based on the tool and it’s based on the reality, another institution. And then it’s a, a better conversation, it’s a richer conversation with, with our stakeholders. Right, 

Joe Gottlieb: (26:48)
Right. No, I’m glad you mentioned that because that’s a great way to leverage what’s been done before. Yeah, it gets people com more comfortable. It’s very credible. You can still put your fingerprints all over it, and yet it is, it’s leveraging a known, uh, good practice for how to use technology. Uh, very useful. Thank you. All right. So in the interest of time, I want to get onto a bonus question here. And, uh, and that is, I noticed, I think randomly since we became connected on LinkedIn, I noticed that you’re hiring an executive director of business architecture. Yeah. So first of all, I wanna mention that, um, while, uh, while tempted to apply for this job, , what I, what I really wanted to say is 

Andrea Ballinger: (27:31)
I would be happy to have you on that pool . 

Joe Gottlieb: (27:34)
I I love it when people use that term because it’s so powerful to me for people to get out of, um, the normal construct of technology, architecture, or even for that matter, enterprise architecture, but to honor business architecture as a very holistic, um, set of rules that dictate the way that you’re assembling your business, right? Mm-hmm. in terms of processes and systems they rely upon and data models that they exercise and, um, permissions for users. Like, and, and a lot of this can be said without any, without much talk about technology, right? So tell me a bit about, um, uh, how you’re thinking about that role and what it means to inject it into this very holistic approach to change, which I feel like you’re, you’re, you, you’re in the middle of 

Andrea Ballinger: (28:29)
Joe. We have to remember that at the heart of what we’re trying to do is, uh, our human beings, they are the ones that are gonna be impacted with what we put in place. They are the people that are actually conducting the business. They are bringing the students in, or are their students taking their classes? Or is payroll providing a payroll? They, it, it’s people. It’s not actually the technology that’s doing that, right? So if you remember that, then the business architecture is the human side of it. That this is where I, it governance is at, this is where we have the service desk. This is where we have the engagement team, the team that is talking to the stakeholders on an ongoing basis and understand what it feels like to be a faculty member in front of students that knows what a researcher goes through. 

Andrea Ballinger: (29:08)
They’re keeping tabs on that and they’re finding out are they ready for change? Uh, do they want something new? Are they unhappy with us because of X, Y, and Z? That human connection comes back then to it, and we have the proper context, Dan, to both prioritize with the stakeholders there, right? Prioritize what’s more important, what, what’s gonna get us where we need to go faster. And figuring out what do we need to do to help those human beings adapt to this new environment. It’s highly critical to my organization to have that business face, and they’re the ones that actually direct traffic into the backend of, uh, it, 

Joe Gottlieb: (29:44)
It’s just so healthy and progressive, um, to think of it that way. So love seeing it happen there. Okay. Let’s summarize. So what three takeaways would you offer our listeners on this topic of empowering digital stakeholders? 

Andrea Ballinger: (29:58)
Well, we just talk about one, right? Is start with the end in mind. So remember that it is all about empowering and, and providing that rich digital environment for the business side of the house to deal with, uh, or engage with the institution and have a very clear picture. And this is very difficult, Joe, because as it leaders, we are very proud of our teams, but sometimes we don’t do the real assessment of what are the real capacities that we have and what are really the capabilities that we have. Can we get all of this done without any help? Do we know how to do that? That requires a lot of, uh, uh, that having that clear picture. And third, and this is me again, I’m gonna bring my mba, have a plan and work the plan with a lot of agility. I shared with you that the boss came in, in the middle of my plan, Hey, take care of this hot potato. That’s not a small thing. It wasn’t just like, make a change here. This is engaging the entire community, including students to find out how is, how can we best provide the tools to engage them on an ongoing basis so they’re at successful. Agility is the name of the game, but if you know where you’re going, this is where the vantage point come in, you know where you’re going, you know what you have with the cap capacity and capabilities, then you can actually make the right and intelligent decisions about how to proceed. 

Joe Gottlieb: (31:08)
Great summary. Andrea, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank 

Andrea Ballinger: (31:12)
You, Joe. It’s been very fun. 

Joe Gottlieb: (31:14)
And thanks to our guests for joining us as well. Hope you all have a great day and we’ll look forward to hosting you again on the next episode of Transformed.

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About The Host


As president of Higher Digital, Joe supports customers with strategy development, change management, and strategic operations. He is energized by the complex challenges and profound opportunities facing higher education and is motivated to have and share discussions around these topics.

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