Mapping your path to the cloud: Find a fast route to high impact and start there

Mapping your path to the cloud: Find a fast route to high impact and start there

By Jeff Ralyea on Thursday, October 29, 2015


Each blog in this six-part series shares a common refrain: institutional strategy should dictate cloud strategy. And that includes implementation.

So when you’re ready to move, move with purpose.

Many clients who are new to the cloud ask me which applications and data to migrate first. I tell them to identify opportunities to make the highest impact on the institution’s most important goals in the shortest amount of time.

Of course there are other factors. You have to consider if an application is available for cloud deployment. And your IT infrastructure and staff must have the capacity to support it. But if you figure out where practical factors align with institutional strategy, you can begin to build a map.

Some examples

  1. You’re a large public university whose biggest challenge is a decline in retention and graduation, as well as the funding tied to each. The key obstacle: lack of access to data that could provide insight into how and why students stay or veer off track. Migrating data to the cloud might be the right place to start. Doing so will make a meaningful impact in several ways.

    More informed decision making: By removing data from silos and creating one point of access, you can empower faculty and staff with a common, holistic view of each student’s progress—making it easier to tailor support programs and interventions.

    Better use of staff resources: Database administration is complex and time-consuming. Offloading administration to a cloud provider gets IT out of the weeds and focused on using data to identify, predict, and remove barriers to student success.

  2. You’re a community college that urgently needs new revenue streams. You’ve targeted continuing education and workforce development as a high potential market. But embarking on growth without effective technology in place is risky. The cloud can give you a competitive edge on several fronts.

    Speed to market: It’s often less costly and more efficient to deploy new applications in the cloud than it is to retrofit existing systems.

    Cost efficiency: As you build the business, the cloud enables you to scale resources up or down as needed.

    Agility: Extend capabilities as quickly as market needs evolve.

  3. You’re a private university struggling to attract top quality students. The primary obstacle: your student experience is less modern and less innovative than your competitors’. Focus on moving solutions that are truly enabling to the cloud, which offers:

    Modernity: Offer user-friendly technology—seamlessly integrated, reliable, and always-on—providing students what they need and expect.

    Control: Deploy self-service applications that let students manage their own transactions and access more support resources.

    Flexibility: Make learning available at different paces, times, and methods.

Moving to the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all proposition

As with any investment, the end goal is always student success. And there are many cloud solutions to help you get there. Start with those that offer high return at a fast pace in the areas that matter most—lowering costs, improving services, speeding innovation.

Keep in mind: this is not solely a technical decision. It’s a strategic move for your institution, so move with purpose.

If you’ve made effective choices or learned lessons about what to migrate to the cloud first, please share a Comment. If not, feel free to leave a question.

This is the fifth in a six-part blog series on the cloud.

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About the Author

Jeff Ralyea

Jeff Ralyea

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cloud at Ellucian

Jeff creates cloud solutions that are integrated, flexible, and designed to enhance the student experience of today and tomorrow.