As technology becomes more pervasive in higher education, as well as more necessary to business schools’ operations, one might expect to see it become a larger portion of the schools’ overall operating budget. To see if this was indeed the case, I compared the figures for total operating budgets and amounts used for technology purposes for the 114 AACSB members that reported such information in both the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 BSQ Finance Module surveys:
Table 1. Change in Technology Expenditures vs. Operating Budgets, 2013-14 to 2014-15
According to the data from Table 1, the absolute amount of operating funds spent on technology rose for over 56 percent of reporting schools from the 2013-14 year to the 2014-15 year. However, contrary to what might be expected, the proportion of the total operating budget devoted to technology uses either went down or stayed flat in over 57 percent of cases.
What is even more interesting is when we compare the results above with the data the schools reported on who controls IT functions for the school (e.g., the school’s parent university, the school itself, or jointly between the two):
Figure 1. Proportional Movement of Technology Expenditures and Operating Budgets, by Control of Institutional IT Functions
While the vast majority of reporting schools’ overall operating budgets rose year over year no matter who controls IT functions at the school, there appears to be a positive correlation between the level of independent control the business school has over IT functions and the absolute amount of funds expended on technology. Over 64 percent of schools that reported that they themselves control their IT functions also reported an increase in the absolute amount of funds expended on technology over the previous year, whereas a slim majority of the schools reporting that their IT functions are controlled by their parent university did not.
At the same time, there appears to be a negative correlation between the level of independent control the business school has over IT functions and the percentage of operating budget expended on technology. Nearly 53 percent of reporting schools indicating that their IT functions are controlled by their parent university also reported an increase in the proportion of their operating budget spent on technology, whereas only about 36 percent of schools that reported that they themselves control their IT functions indicated the same.
Since we have only a couple of years’ worth of data for the Finances Module, it is impossible to determine if these fluctuations represent any sorts of trends as yet, but we will definitely continue to monitor the data we receive to see if any such patterns emerge.