Enterprise CIOs have an increasing remit to use digital to sell across channels and grow their customer base.\nStuart Haselden, director, information technology services at Victoria University of Wellington, is familiar with such a remit. For Haselden, the goal is to use digital to grow the university.\nLast year, Victoria welcomed a new vice-chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford, who was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Auckland.\n\u201cOur new vice-chancellor is really IT focused. A key thing he has said to me is \u2018Grow our student base and he knows that digital is one of the tools we can use to do this\u2019,\u201d Haselden told attendees at the ANZ CIO Forum.\n\u201cVictoria\u2019s strategic plan outlines an unreservedly ambitious 20-year path that looks to double the number of students.\n\u201cI am an IT guy, you would think increasing student numbers is marketing\u2019s job, surely, but the digital world is now so much more interlinked with marketing,\u201d said Haselden.\nHe and his co-presenter, Nick Smith, senior manager, professional services at VMware, talked about transforming infrastructure to support multiple users.\nThe ICT team is focusing on programs using digital tools for learning rather than the new data centre.Stuart Haselden, Victoria University of Wellington\nIn the last year, Haselden has spent a lot more time with the marketing team than ever before.\n\u201cWe are spending a lot of time thinking about how to reach more students around the world,\u201d said Haselden.\nThe \u2018next generation users\u2019 at the university range from digital natives, to staff and researchers, and academics.\nHaselden highlighted the importance of the tertiary sector in the economies of both New Zealand and Australia. There are 43 universities, both public and private in Australia, while New Zealand has eight publicly funded universities.\n\u201cWe have more than 51 universities just in this relatively small geographic area, [which is] quite a lot,\u201d he said.\nEducation brings in $15 billion a year to Australia where it is the third biggest export. In New Zealand, the sector brings in $3 billion annually (Victoria University has a turnover of around $400 million, with 22,000 students).\nVictoria has a 120-member IT team, who work on over 100 projects or activities throughout the year.\nSmith noted how education is one of the most disrupted sectors and that Haselden\u2019s team has one of the toughest customers, the digital natives.\nSmith said the goal for Victoria\u2019s ICT function is to make IT as invisible as possible so the IT team can focus their time on improving the user experience for their customers.\nIn other words, to \u201ctry to take away that friction and complexity that can exist and enable them to focus on value areas,\u201d Smith said.\nHaselden agreed saying university users are not interested in whether the backups work or that the Internet is running \u2013 until it shuts down.\n\u201cWe are very much focused on a service that we can just run, and how can we give better experiences to students and staff.\u201d\nA CIO in attendance asked him if the university is tapping into the knowledge of the digital native students in the goal to transform the learning experience through digital technology.\nHaselden said this is already happening in different areas of the university.\n\u201cThe focus, at the same time, is supporting staff and students in a digital journey,\u201d he said.\n\u201cAll of our lecturers are used to standing up in front of the class, but many have now developed or are developing different ways of engaging with students through the digital platform.\u201d\nHe compared his experiences while attending two lectures with different teachers but in the same room. The first class had 320 students. He observed that 98 per cent of the students had laptops, and were engaged with the lecturer.\nIn the next lecture, there were around 300 students, of which 60 per cent of students had their laptops. He estimated only around 10 per cent of the students were engaged, and the rest were on social media sites or on TradeMe.\n\u201cSame lecture hall, but with completely different engagement levels,\u201d said Haselden.\nThe difference was the first lecturer had \u201ca whole lot of neat things going on as part of his lecture\u201d. He was telling students, \u201cIf you have your devices, here is a link, and do a survey on how I am doing, the results will appear immediately.\u201d\nHe also split the class into groups of four and asked them to solve a puzzle online.\n\u201cWe are seeing the form changing for lecturers from simply facing the class to using digital technology in teaching and to accommodate and encourage different ways of learning.\u201d\nHe says this is important as students entering university are digital natives who may see a \u201creal disconnect\u201d to what they are used to doing with technology once they are in the classroom.\n\u201cThe ICT team is focusing on programs using digital tools for learning rather than the new data centre,\u201d said Haselden.\nHe said with the rise of online learning institutions, there were predictions half of the world\u2019s universities will not exist in five years.\nBut he believes universities still have an edge.\nThe university can be running MOOCs (Massive Online Open Online Courses) but people also learn from each other.\n\u201cReally, the interactions students have while they are at university is still a huge advantage, that engagement is part of the university experience.\u201d\nHe compares this to the driverless car, \u201cThis type of car appeals to me some of the time but there are definitely times I may want to drive.\u201d\nHe says it is the same with books, where digital can further enhance the learning experience through digital books.\n\u201cSome will still want that form of interaction,\u201d he said.\n\u201cThe challenge is how do we match those experiences and still get that engagement through digital technology?\u201d\nSend news tips and comments to email@example.com\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.