There’s been a notable shift in favor of virtual and hybrid learning for Higher Education institutions over the past few years. As with any other industry, the accelerated value, reduced risks, and decreased responsibility of in-house data that accompany cloud-based systems have become a much larger determining factor for many colleges’ and universities’ IT and infrastructure planning.
But the benefits of moving to the cloud extend these advantages for Higher Ed much further below the surface. Consider the IT staff at your organization – without the burdens and costs associated with maintaining antiquated systems, IT staff have more time to focus on higher-value goals for the organization, like improving the overall student experience, ramping up virtual learning programs, and providing support and ease of access for staff that are working remotely.
The landscape of cloud technology has expanded significantly because of these tangible benefits, and there are many options and choices to consider. Many software technologies now provide a cloud offering, often with varying implementation options available.
What are some important points of consideration as your institution seeks to elevate your students, staff, and faculty experience to the cloud?
One Tool, Many Possibilities
Offering a high-quality educational experience is not one-dimensional. Think about your Student Information System (SIS), which is very likely used and referenced by multiple departments at the institution – Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, staff, and even parents and students, to name a few. An SIS system collects school-wide data (typically online) so that important student information can be accessed when and where it’s needed, and is a core pillar for Higher Education institutions.
We can extend this logic to other technology solutions that provide a functional benefit for your campus. It’s not uncommon to see ambitious institutions implementing dozens and dozens of tools and solutions as part of their digital transformation journey, which may all provide real value via process efficiency, improved student experience, and better accountability.
In an ideal use case, these tools reduce reliance on overlapping solutions and reduce data fragmentation and disorganization. And administrators have simple, configurable tools that empower the institution to bridge the gaps between departments and their disparate data – providing timely and accurate information for quick decision making.
When your IT staff has cloud-based systems that branch across many institution arms, and collate and organize that data for the end-user, the information flow and ability to make informed decisions greatly improves.
Doing More with Less
Consider extending your cloud-based systems to multiple departments, and the impact it may have. While one software tool may be implemented and deployed, it very likely has the potential to provide benefits and value for many other departments. One tool, many outcomes. This should be a critical component in any organization’s Digital Transformation strategy.
While utilizing a suite of solutions to provide your institution with real value is definitely an option, the potential for additional cost, complex integrations, and additional IT oversight also expands.
As you’re developing your Digital Transformation strategy, consider tools and solutions that will provide maximum impact for your campus – in terms of functional benefits now and in the future, and integrations with other Higher Ed systems. Doing more with less is still the name of the game!
On the other hand, if you don’t have many solutions already deployed, a move to a cloud-based system will help your institution get to a faster ROI via standing up new solutions in a hosted infrastructure, rather than one managed on-prem (and all the cost and time needed to set up new servers, etc. that accompany it).
Guaranteed Peace of Mind
Due to the scale and number of tools required by most Higher Ed institutions, the need for preventative accountability also increases. In the worst case scenario, if something happens at your datacenter (these things do happen), the need to get the department or campus back to a functional level quickly becomes a top priority. Functional offices and users expect our IT teams to have contingency plans in place to minimize disruption, especially if a system is used by multiple departments.
By moving to a cloud-based solution, you’re provided with a full suite of safety and security features, typically including disaster recovery, fast incident response, and higher data availability spread across several secure separate datacenters. And that means your IT team has more time to focus on extending real value to the rest of your organization and end-user community – especially in our current climate of remote and hybrid access.
Where else might your IT staff and leadership be able to leverage cloud-based solutions with peace of mind, clear contingency plans in place, and a dedicated team of cloud professionals in the event “that day” comes?
Additionally, your staffing is simplified, and priority can be placed on hiring and training your functional and support staff that are using and implementing these tools to maximize value for your faculty and students.
The Future is Here
While the Higher Education landscape is continuing to change, one thing is clear – the cloud is here to stay, and makes a measurable difference in data availability, security, and ease of access for your entire campus. Behind-the-scenes, forward thinking institutions are leveraging cloud-based and hosted systems a pillar of their digital journey.
And that’s why now is the time to look to the cloud – your end users, IT staff, and most importantly – your students – will give you an A+!
At Shamrock, we help to eliminate the negative impact of disjointed processes and applications for your campus. With years of implementation experience in Higher Ed, we’re here to help with your institution’s Digital Transformation needs.
Talk to us today, and guarantee the best outcomes for your students, faculty, and staff!