Universities must change their view of IT departments if they are to effectively deal with huge funding changes, according to Ovum.
Higher education (HE) bodies need to see IT departments as a strategic partner as they will play a critical role in enabling institutions to manage the turbulent times ahead, it said.
The message comes as universities see public funding cut 40%.
"This means HE bodies must view their IT department as a key player in their ability to manage change, which will require a shift in attitudes. IT departments should also step up and voice their expertise to propose ideas and innovative solutions that can help address the challenges institutions are facing," said the research firm.
Institutions should use online learning as a platform to enhance existing courses and develop a more centralised view of students by using CRM systems.
"This may require some upfront investment, but institutions need to take plunge. The deciding factor should be how to improve the student experience. There needs to be a stronger focus on measurement and analytics that has to be the top priority."