Virginia State University

Moving to the cloud for the long-term strategy.

Virginia State University moved to the cloud to provide better support to students, faculty, and staff. 

Virginia State University Campus

Results

  • Improved user experience for all
  • Cost-effective, low-disruption transition to the cloud
  • Top-line security and disaster recovery services

Summary

Like many institutions, Virginia State University often finds itself forced to do more with less. Its top priority is ensuring that “more” equates to activities that directly impact student success. 

Recently, the university’s executive leaders assessed how IT was impacting this equation. At a time when technology needs were growing in scope and complexity, they faced several IT challenges: 

  • Attracting skilled talent and providing constant training 
  • Minimizing disruptions to mission critical administrative systems 
  • Reducing cost of technology ownership and making management sustainable 
  • Increasing IT security and disaster recovery capabilities 
  • Maintaining IT infrastructure and not supporting students, faculty, and staff

“When we looked at the long term,” said Hubert D. Harris, Chief of Staff at VSU, “we saw that a significant change to our information technology model would yield far greater return than trying to find smaller efficiencies here and there over time.” 

The model that made the most sense, both financially and strategically, was moving their ERP system to Ellucian Cloud Services. 

“All of a sudden we have IT staff available to address some of our biggest business challenges, such as enrollment management, analytics, student services, and other areas that are highly visible and therefore highly important to our constituents,” said Dr. Weldon Hill, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Virginia State University. “That’s how I know this was a sound decision.”

Details

IT more focused on supporting students, faculty, and staff

Like many institutions, Virginia State University finds itself forced to do more with less. Its top priority is ensuring that “more” equates to activities that directly impact student success. Recently, the university’s executive leaders assessed how IT was impacting this equation. At a time when technology needs were growing in scope and complexity, they faced several challenges:

  • Attracting skilled talent and providing constant training 
  • Minimizing disruptions to mission critical administrative systems
  • Reducing cost of technology ownership and making management sustainable 
  • Increasing IT security and disaster recovery capabilities 
  • Maintaining IT infrastructure and not supporting students, faculty, and staff 

“When we looked at the long term,” said Hubert D. Harris, Chief of Staff, “we saw that a significant change to our information technology model would yield far greater return than trying to find smaller efficiencies here and there over time.” The model that made the most sense, both financially and strategically, was moving Banner systems to Ellucian’s Cloud Application Hosting Services.

By partnering with Ellucian, the university could access and scale world-class technology resources as needed, while lowering total costs and keeping staff focused on its core mission.

Filling the talent gap 

Virginia State University struggles to attract and retain top IT talent given its location and budget compared to bigger institutions and corporations in the region. It also lacks the resources needed to keep existing staff trained on the latest technologies, applications, and security services. 

“Before we adopted Ellucian Cloud Application Hosting Services, our IT staff was basically playing a game of catchup,” said Harris. “They were maintaining old hardware, worrying about data, struggling to keep up with calls for technical support, and trying to prioritize the competing needs of students, faculty, and staff. We don’t want any of our constituents having to compete for support. And we certainly don’t want our IT team putting out fires, rather than solving strategic business problems.” 

The university now relies on Ellucian Cloud Application Hosting Services to provide the technical infrastructure and support it needs to install, operate, and maintain a modern, digital campus.

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