Diving Into the Cloud | Feature

How the Cloud Can Improve Campus Operations: Increasing Agility and Speed

Whether a school uses a public or private cloud, one of the big upsides is the ability to implement solutions quickly in response to customer requests. As service requests come in, IT can rapidly provision a virtual server to run operating platforms and applications, and dedicate sufficient storage for the work at hand.

Lone Star College System (TX)
The private cloud at this Houston-based community college system has allowed its IT department to act faster than it ever dreamed. When the Foundation Office implemented a new application to manage donor data, for example, IT had the required server and storage resources up and running within a week, according to Link Alander, associate vice chancellor of technology services. Previously, that process could have taken three to four months to implement.

During crunch times, nimble provisioning comes in handy, too. "We dynamically swing capacity to wherever it's needed, such as our registration systems before the semester begins or grading applications as the semester ends," Alander explains.

Brown University (RI)
This small Ivy League college faced a dilemma. Its ERP systems were very old and unable to meet new business or compliance requirements. In particular, HR/Payroll was "in the worst shape, maxed out, and at risk of failure," according to a project charter issued by the university in August 2011. Rather than go through the risky process of installing a new ERP system on site, the university decided to adopt a set of cloud-based applications from Workday, which could be implemented in a fraction of the time. Phase I of the project, which involves rolling out the new HR/Payroll system, will be complete by July 1.

About the Authors

Rama Ramaswami is a business and technology writer based in New York City.

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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