With systems in the cloud
Imperial College London

With systems in the cloud, IT can focus more on strategy.

Challenge

Reduce burdens on IT staff, increase security, and keep systems up to date and running smoothly

Results
  • Systems are up to date and running more efficiently
  • Without worrying about updates, IT staff focuses on more strategic work
  • Systems are more secure in the cloud

Imperial College London keeps systems safe and current with Ellucian Application Hosting Services.

We're currently running an out of date version of Oracle Student Services, and its end of life, and we really must get off it. We went out to market in order to find a new product, and the product we selected was the Ellucian Banner® Student solution. There seemed the opportunity from the Banner solutions to actually have better engagement with the students. We're taking the step, which is to go to the application hosted services, which will be run out of Dublin, and that's for a number of really good business reasons to get us away from having on-premise equipment.  
 
We have a very large data center, which has got a lot of high-performance computing in it. And we'd really like to flush out the space from there, and actually be able to use it more for research purposes. After all, that's the purpose of the university. And so many business support services we have, we're trying to move them out, get them away from our site and our high energy costs, and move them into more effective, more efficient hosting environments.  
 
A lot of people are put off by the privacy issues. And of course, in an academic institution, a lot of the academics raise objections about private information, the risks of private information being carried outside. So, there's two questions I'd ask. One is, can you be really certain that systems on your own premise are as secure as you think they should be? Whether they’re physically secure or electronically secure. Are your people as good as they could be at managing that, or are they professionals who are hired to do that sort of thing, who can be tested by service level agreements?  
 
The second thing is that, are you really being held back by the update cycles that occur with on-premise installations, which you're managing with your own team? And do you really have the resources? Can you carry on hiring those resources with those skills to actually keep those systems alive? And in most cases, I think the answer is, no, you can't. You should move anything that's becoming a commodity out to the cloud.  
 
Moving to a cloud-based solution means that you can remove some of the need for the customizations, but also the update cycle is in somebody else's hands. And we would rather that we weren't distracted by those kinds of processes. In particular, the delays that come from putting in updates to technology, from planning things and going through long rollout cycles. We'd much rather be forced along a route to keep up to date on technology and avoid slipping behind. It means that we could focus our attention on the right things and not be distracted by service operational things. We should exercise common sense and use cloud service where we can.

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