Despite tightened budgets and fewer resources, universities are under increased pressure to sustain enrollment, maintain a competitive edge in attracting students and staff, and subsequently meet growing student and staff expectations. According to a report by the University of New Hampshire, funding for public two- and four-year colleges in the U.S. is nearly $10 billion below recession levels. This challenge has left administration and campus leaders wondering how they’ll navigate this new era of higher education.
To overcome such obstacles, leading universities have turned to a unified cloud-based infrastructure that can deliver the data and insights needed to keep pace with the demands of students, faculty, researchers, and other institutional stakeholders. Like many other sectors, changes to the education landscape are driving the transition to the cloud and making digital transformation an absolute necessity for thriving, growing universities.
While many colleges recognize the need to upgrade legacy systems and processes, unanswered questions often put these initiatives into a holding pattern. How big is the project? What technologies should they be looking into? How much budget will this take? What are the first steps? What to do with legacy systems? Are these new technologies secure? And what will they need to think about once new technologies have been implemented?
Here are some strategies to help universities take that first leap towards the cloud and transition to modern-day campuses.
1. Get management to buy in early. When implementing a campus-wide cloud transition, it’s important for the cabinet-level leadership and other key stakeholders to fully understand and support the transition. However, getting management buy-in can be one of the toughest, yet most critical, steps in the digital transformation. To ensure the immediate and long-term success of the cloud transition, all university leaders must understand that operating in the cloud isn’t a “nice to have,” but a de-facto standard for a modern campus.
Clearly communicate the benefits of operating in cloud-based platforms to management so they recognize the existing challenges and issues the cloud can help address; are aware of the up-front costs and investments required, the resulting benefits, and specific KPIs the cloud can positively impact. With a good understanding of the transition, management will help foster the support needed to ensure the project runs smoothly and is ultimately successful.