Foothill De Anza Community College

Becoming a strategic business partner

Challenge

Spending the majority of IT staff time on monitoring and maintaining systems

Results
  • Time to focus on student- and faculty-facing projects
  • Business continuity for mission critical systems
  • Greater agility and elasticity

How the cloud transformed Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s IT department

Joe Moreau, Vice Chancellor Technology, Foothill-De Anza Community College District

Two of the biggest benefits that we've seen since we migrated to the cloud is one, we've really been able to get out of the keeping the lights on business and really move into the strategic-partner business. So because we are spending so much less time patching operating systems, replacing hardware, patching databases, patching applications, all of those kinds of things because we have a partner who does that better than we could do it, we've been able to really focus on projects that are inevitably student-facing or faculty-facing projects that we just never have the time to get to.

One of the other incredible benefits is the risk reduction of having our mission-critical systems in the cloud. So for example, California had planned power outages for public safety last week, and one of the first questions from our executive management team was, well, what about the student system? What about the HR system, the payroll system, the finance system? Are those going to be OK?

And our answer was they're not vulnerable at all. They will not be impacted by the power outages. Business will continue as usual.

Moving to the cloud really helped us improve our IT service management approach. So we have a greater level of discipline around change management. We have a greater level of discipline around the cadence of patch and other upgrade implementations. It really has, I think, stabilized our IT organization in a way that was long overdue.

Institutions that are not in the cloud are going to be at a disadvantage. They're not going to be able to be as agile. They're not going to be able to be as elastic as they might need to be. They're probably spending more money than they need to spend, and they're invariably going to fall behind the pace of change if they're not moving into the cloud.

Secondly, they need to look at it holistically. It's not just move one piece to the cloud, but it's really talking about building an ecosystem in the cloud that works for a whole range of solutions, not just one here, one here, one here. We have too many silos already. We don't want to replicate those silos in the cloud.

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