Mobile app creation “is now faster and cheaper than it’s ever been,” said AT&T’s Kevin Carmen.

A mobile app that AT&T helped Indiana University create, called IU Mobile, lets students access their class pages through IU’s learning management system (LMS); post and respond to classified ads; view campus maps, sports scores and schedules, and IU-related news; reserve time in campus computing labs; and much more.

Slow movement to the cloud?

Despite all the hype about cloud computing and its potential cost savings for schools, the 2011 survey suggests that colleges and universities have been slow to move mission-critical operations to the cloud.

Just 4.4 percent of survey participants said their campus has moved or is in the process of moving to cloud computing for ERP services, and only 6.5 percent have moved to cloud computing for storage, archiving, or business continuity services. Although cloud computing can help researchers quickly scale up the resources they need for high-performance computing activities, just 2.4 percent of public universities and 6.6 percent of private universities report migrating these activities to cloud computing.

Other cloud services post slightly higher numbers. For example, more than one-fourth (28 percent) of respondents said they’ve moved or are moving their LMS application to cloud computing, and 11 percent said their institution is using cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services.

“The major ERP providers have been slow to offer cloud services to their campus clients,” said Green. Although the potential cost savings might seem compelling, “trust really is the coin of the realm: Many campus IT officers are not ready to migrate mission-critical data, resources, and services to the cloud services offered by their IT providers.”

Mixed data on budget cuts

According to the survey, more than a third (36 percent) of colleges and universities experienced a budget cut in central IT services for the current academic year, down from 42 percent last year and 50 percent in fall 2009.

The percentage of public institutions reporting budget cuts fell slightly in fall 2011, although the number that experienced budget cuts still remains significant. For example, just over half (55 percent) of public universities reported budget cuts for central IT services this year. Private, nonprofit institutions generally fared better than their public counterparts: one-fourth (25 percent) of private universities reported IT budget cuts this year, about the same as a year ago (24 percent) but still well below the 57 percent posted in 2009.