Are Universities Ready For Cloud?
Posted on Jun 03, 2015
We have already seen how several sectors can benefit from cloud-based business solutions including charities, the public sector, financial services and many others. So are universities ready to join the cloud? Is there a key vertical missing out on seeing cloud computing reduce IT complexity and infrastructure costs?
Universities are an integral component of most modern societies. SaaS, or Cloud-based computing, can easily replace legacy on-premise software in universities, and by doing so will successfully be able to reduce the need for unnecessary IT overheads. There is a lot of customisation available for specific features and functions, which simplifies the adoption of such technologies for institutions.
But are universities ready for cloud? What benefits and challenges should campus communities be aware of?
A Safe Bet
University institutions don’t need to manage their data inside a complex on-premise infrastructure any longer. The world has moved on. Cloud, online and web services provide 24/7 access from anywhere at any time, via a simple internet connection. This reduces the need for campus-based specialist server locations and all of the expensive building, floorspace, power and air conditioning that goes along with such a setup.
Commissioning, maintaining, upgrading takes time and effort. Using a Cloud based solution dramatically reduces the complexity of computing and removes the need to have dedicated personnel spending time just to keep things running.
In addition to saving time, it will save money too. The traditional model for buying business software was to pay an upfront licence fee and then on-going maintenance or upgrade charges. With cloud services, these are replaced by simple and straightforward monthly subscriptions for the features required, saving an institution money, time and resources.
Many education and reference resources are already running in the Cloud, supporting distance and flexible learning methods. There is no reason why the same approach, using paperless, managed workflows cannot be applied to the University's finance and accounting functions.
A Suit That Fits
Compared to legacy on-premise software, Cloud based software let you choose and subscribe to just the key features you require to create a flexible and truly personal platform. No more bloatware, no more paying for functionality that is never used.
Universities have similar challenges to other organisations when it comes to adopting new technology. Having large numbers of IT personnel managing servers, databases and assisting in the delivery of functionality to the desktop can become a thing of the past. Cloud based solutions require little or no IT overhead and because most are modern and designed to be "self-evident", users are much more able to manage their own portfolio of applications and data.
Good To Know
Test The Waters
Before adopting one specific solution, and then discovering it doesn’t provide you with the service you need, do your research. If you need specific, crucial features (or a platform tailored to you), explore who is providing such features before making your decision.
Data privacy and security should quite rightly prevail as a key concern for any institution or organisation looking to adopt cloud computing. Particular attention should be paid to any sensitive data and to migration models when access may be have been made by someone who is not the original owner of the data. Seek reassurance from the vendors. What happens to any old data? Where is the service hosted? Does that conform to institutional standards? Is automatic backup provided? What sort of agreement manages the relationship between the user and the vendor? What happens if you stop using the service?
Cloud Accounting for Students
Equally to institutions, students should be able to benefit from seeing how convenient and easily accessible cloud software is and how it's going to influence their future career. In a time when the Internet Of Things will be (and in some cases already is) a constant part of their lives, even those engaged in business and accounting need to be prepared for change.
According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency , in 2012/ 2013, 37.5% of worldwide degrees are being taken in a business & administrative degree (where Accounting and Finance are combined) and these numbers have kept growing. Providing an education platform to students studying such disciplines, where they can be exposed to modern, convenient and easy to use cloud-based accounting, will improve the quality of their learning and better prepare them for a life in commerce upon their graduation.
comments powered by Disqus
Here you can see our most recent resources, select items of interest using the categories below.