Xerox And N.C. State Collaborate On Business Tech Curriculum - InformationWeek

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Xerox And N.C. State Collaborate On Business Tech Curriculum

The organizations are among the universities and tech vendors teaming up to provide students knowledge of complex technology, business, and organizational issues.

With concerns that the U.S. could face a shortage of professionals equipped with complex skill sets needed to effectively integrate people, processes, and technology, universities are ramping up partnerships with tech vendors to help prepare students to fill that workforce need.

Xerox and North Carolina State University are among the latest collaborators developing professional services management and innovation management courses that provide business and engineering students with skills blending an understanding of technology, business, and organizational issues.

Business tech professionals possessing such skills become attractive candidates for services jobs that require "systems-level thinking," says Santokh Badesha, Xerox fellow and manager of Xerox Research open innovation. That means being able to see the "big picture" of how people, processes, and technology innovation fit together, he says.

Among the courses being co-developed through the funding that Xerox will provide to the university over three years is a new Services Innovation Lab, in which students will work with companies like Xerox in developing new services concepts. The alliance with Xerox is the latest vendor partnership for N.C. State University in developing its "services science, management, and engineering," or SSME, curriculum.

N.C. State University earlier this year announced a similar pact with IBM, which itself is working with more than 100 universities in and outside the U.S. in developing SSME curricula.

Vendor alliances that N.C. State University has forged to develop its SSME course offering help the school better understand the employers and problems that companies face, and then prepare students to meet those talent needs in the workplace, said Mitzi Montoya, professor of marketing innovation at the North Carolina State University College of Management

"We know that the services sector is about 80% of the U.S. economy right now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau," she says. "We are adding a significant value-added component" for students to compete nationally and globally, she said.

Indeed, the U.S. is not the only country with universities ramping up its services-focused curriculum. IBM today also announced that it is working with a coalition of several universities and businesses in Singapore to develop SSME courses. Among the universities developing SSME curricula are Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, and Singapore Management University.

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