2. Migrating apps to the cloud: According to Sri Elaprolu, manager of Solutions Architecture for AWS, cloud adoption in higher education is fairly high. “We have roughly 4,500 education institutions using AWS, which includes K-12 and higher education institutions, but also ed-tech companies. Just a handful of examples include Berkeley, Coursera, edX, 2U, San Francisco State University, Carnegie Mellon University and Notre Dame.)

One notable institution, Harvard University, says that they’ve had migration on their mind since 2012. “Three years ago, during our annual IT summer event, we began to have an interest in ‘compute-on-demand,’ mostly for the reason of agility,” said Ryan Frazier, director of infrastructure customer and project services (ICAPS) for Harvard University during the AWS conference. Currently, we have 75 percent of our existing apps on the cloud, and the new apps we have are getting moved there.”

Frazier noted that the biggest challenge to cloud migration was figuring out how to streamline the ability for app rollout. “My advice would be to look at each individual app; don’t do a huge lift into the cloud,” he said. “Try light standardization and lift app by app, because the goal is to improve functionality, not just shift over to the cloud; and every app is different! For instance, maybe one app has a contract and it is easier to lift and shift. It just depends on the DR strategy overall.”

“Instead of a lift and shift of apps, we’re refactoring to get the most out of our cloud tech and including containerization of our apps,” said Sarah Christen for Cloudification Services at Cornell University during AWS. Four years into their cloud migration, Cornell has between 400-500 apps evaluated.

3. Implementing personalized services: Institutions need to promote On Demand models, says Campus Management (a provider of enterprise software products and services for educational institutions and coiner of the phrase On Demand Model for higher education). The Model is based on the premise that institutions are going to require new technologies that provide innovative capabilities for engagement and delivery. “This is going beyond online functionality,” said Connor Gray, chief strategy officer for Campus Management and a frequent presenter at EDUCAUSE. “Engagement includes how to deliver the right message to the right person via the right channel. Delivery includes knowing the right place and right time; not just which courses delivered how, but access to student counselors, financial aid options, community groups, career and alumni services, and many others for helping with student retention and completion. The On Demand Model is an ecosystem to support fully customized and personalized students’ needs.”

Aiming to personalize and simplify student services, the University of Maryland, which partnered with rSmart and Internet2, will provide access to approximately 130 campus services in one location, from any computer or mobile device. With search and app-store-like features, the newly launched platform aims to simplify access (while reducing maintenance and personnel costs), to services ranging from class registration to email, and replicates the communication capabilities and online shopping experiences people are accustomed to using.

“The central question of the cloud-based solution is ‘What would you like to do?,’ and it offers UMD’s more than 37,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff one-stop shopping for Web apps and services, the ability to personalize their view by picking favorites, opportunities to provide service feedback–including the option to rank UMD services with stars–and more,” said a University spokesperson in a statement.

The new platform, One.UMD replaces the MyUMD portal, with the goal of enhancing access to University services provided by the Office of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, the Division of Student Affairs, the Division of Information Technology, and others.

“We are partnering throughout the university to give Maryland students, faculty, and staff a central location where they can quickly search and connect with university services ranging from making transcript requests to getting the campus map in an online marketplace format,” said University of Maryland Vice President and CIO Eric Denna.

UMD’s Division of Information Technology will continue to work with UMD partners to include additional university services on the new platform. rSmart’s OneCampus is available to the University of Maryland and to all of Internet2’s higher education members as part of Internet2’s NET+ initiative.

(Next page: Collaboration and a new campus IT mindset)