Study highlights IT’s necessary role in moving higher education to the cloud

cloud-ITA new report reveals that 39 percent of surveyed higher education IT services are delivered totally or partially by cloud, and of that 39 percent, 53 percent migrated from traditional delivery and 47 percent started in the cloud.

The information comes from CDW’s “Cloud 401: Navigating Advanced Topics in Cloud Computing.” The report measures the successes and struggles that organizations across multiple industries experienced as they deployed data, storage or application services in the cloud.

Higher education survey respondents said that of their individual institution’s current cloud resources, they have reserved 39 percent for storage, 33 percent for computing, and 28 percent for applications.

(Next page: What is the biggest barrier to moving services to the cloud?)

Security appears to be the biggest barrier to moving more services to the cloud. When asked to name their top 3 barriers, respondents identified security (43 percent), trust in solutions (33 percent), budget (23 percent), management support (22 percent), and too many services moving (22 percent).

Higher education respondents with successful migrations offered recommendations for their peers hoping to do the same:

  • Conduct extensive planning with different vendors to make sure best practices are in effect
  • Have a firm business case and associated cost goals
  • Secure buy-in from all stakeholders to calm nervousness about moving to the cloud
  • Manage employee and user expectations and keep them updated on changes
  • Use the cloud to make big changes–don’t stick to the status quo

“Cloud services have such great appeal that departments outside IT are often sourcing them independently, but rather than diminishing IT’s role, the data suggests that IT has a more critical role than ever: integrating cloud with traditional services and architecting for reliability and continuity of service, regardless of delivery mode,” said Stephen Braat, vice president, cloud and managed solutions at CDW.

Among the wide range of services available, organizations most frequently implement those that are simpler to transition. The survey identified storage, email, and web hosting services as the most widely delivered via cloud and easiest to transition. On the other end of the spectrum, organizations identified enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management/marketing automation services as more difficult to deploy and less frequently delivered via cloud.

The report also found that cloud implementation gets easier. Responding organizations said their initial implementation took about 14 weeks, on average, to complete, but subsequent implementations took about 10 weeks. More than half said that now, a typical implementation takes them six weeks or less.


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