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Interdisciplinary expertise means smart solutions

Thematic overlaps between IT and other disciplines are becoming ever larger thanks to the rapid advance of digitalisation. SWITCH is addressing new customer needs and developing comprehensive offers using its widely supported interdisciplinary expertise. Cross-disciplinary collaboration with experts in higher education is vital for achieving these goals.

Text: Christine Lanner, published on 09.10.2017

The SWITCH slogan 'Working for a better digital world' requires the ability to solve complex tasks in interdisciplinary teams – an exercise which itself necessitates not only technical knowledge, but also sound expertise in topics such as data protection, procurement law, information security and licence management. As a provider of intelligent complete solutions, SWITCH also possesses, among other assets, a powerful marketing, communications and PR team, as well as finance, procurement and business development experts. This allows us to respond to the multilayered needs of our community in a demand-oriented manner.

The questions and desires with which our customers approach us are many-faceted. Some examples:

  • Teachers want to know about the latest trends in the elearning sector.
  • Security representatives want concrete action points for tackling cyber risks.
  • Heads of IT are looking for solutions that allow students and university members to collaborate more effectively.
  • Procurement representatives want to know which software solutions best correspond to their needs and how these can be procured in the most cost-effective manner.
  • Licence managers are looking for solutions that give them an overview of their licences.
  • Lawyers have questions about the correct way to handle the revised data protection regulations.
  • An administrative director wants to get an idea of where the IT sector is going.

These situations require teams of experts to think and act in an interdisciplinary manner as they collaborate. At SWITCH, specialists and generalists work hand in hand on such issues.

Interdisciplinary expertise thanks to communities of experts

One of SWITCH’s undisputed strengths is its ability to offer customers orientation and support in managing complex challenges thanks to communities of experts. Customers play a significant role in creating value at various levels of the foundation. They make up the Foundation Council as well as various committees and meeting platforms under SWITCH’s leadership. Around 240,000 students and 60,000 university staff have potential access to these expert groups. Big-picture thinking is part of the foundation’s DNA. Interdisciplinary exchange means that SWITCH always has its finger on the pulse of events and is in a position to offer services optimally tailored to customer needs.

In an increasingly dynamic environment, the high-level collaboration on interdisciplinary themes enabled and promoted by SWITCH responds to a major community need. It creates positive experiences and efficient solutions that bring about lasting value. The following contributions clearly illustrate this principle.

The world is becoming more complex. As a facilitator, SWITCH offers orientation within it.

About the author
Christine   Lanner

Christine Lanner

Dr. Christine Lanner is the deputy managing director and head of division management services of SWITCH. She manages the competence centre for business and interdisciplinary questions and is responsible, among others, for business development, marketing and PR, organisational development and human resources as well as finance and controlling.

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