Is your institution moving to the cloud? Are you adopting a cloud strategy, such as Cloud First, where the institution takes the plunge and jumps in with both feet, or perhaps an Opportunistic Cloud or Experimental Cloud strategy where they test the waters with select projects? Perhaps your institution has instead elected to stay out of the cloud entirely and to simply watch from a distance. Each of these strategies can be appropriate in the right context, but adopting a cloud strategy that works for your institution should be a priority.
With any of these strategies, you need to ensure that your institution is finding a strategy that works best for your organization. It is also crucial that the strategy has support and sponsorship across the organization, from business, technology, operations, finance, legal and sourcing. University IT organizations should be careful to not push a cloud adoption plan as an IT-only initiative. If they do not include the business stakeholders along with strong use cases which can benefit business, strategies are often limited in success and lack the ability to build stakeholder support.
…adopting a cloud strategy that works for your institution should be a priority.
In addition to a lack of business leader engagement, there are other factors that can impede both momentum and ultimate success. One common impediment for higher education institutions is the possible siloed approaches to technology across the institution. These silos can limit innovation and damper opportunities for success. Skeptical IT professionals can undermine your institution’s cloud adoption and can be influenced by competing camps of stakeholders to put resources in other directions, especially in environments where budget and cost are a concern.
To overcome these challenges, leaders should engage with business stakeholders initially and follow up often. In cooperation with stakeholders, leaders should develop a cloud strategic plan and approach. Cloud teams should demonstrate success to stakeholders through quick wins and ensure that they, working with a partner, select a focused use case which can capitalize on immediately beneficial capabilities.
One option which can help overcome challenges, gain momentum, and provide quick wins is an AWS Standard Play. These offerings from AWS provide new education customers with a variety of workshops to help complete the first step into the AWS cloud journey. They are led by AWS Partners (such as M&S), who can guide you through the selection and deployment of your first workload. These workshops are at no cost to the customer and include $500 of AWS credits for a 30-day proof of concept.
Workshop A (2-3 days)
Public Website: Deploy a WordPress or Drupal-based content management system leveraging best practices for high availability, scalability, and security of the AWS platform.
Learning Management System: Deploy a Moodle-based learning management system to leverage best practices for high availability, scalability, and security of the AWS platform.
Identity Management: Extend Active Directory to AWS using Directory Services and configuring Identity Federation.
Workshop B (4-5 days)
Virtual Desktop/Labs: Deploy virtual desktops for both Faculty and Students using Workspaces and App Stream. Evaluate the options for both persistent desktops and lab replacement.
Storage Gateway: Enable cloud storage on campus using AWS Storage Gateway. This includes SAN, NAS, and tape replacement strategies leveraging S3 and Glacier.
Multi-Account Strategy: Focuses on helping a mature customer develop a multi-account strategy to support departmental and research workloads. This is intended for an experienced customer that already has multiple workloads deployed.
Employing an offering like the AWS Standard Play can allow an institution to take the first steps toward the cloud while overcoming potential challenges. These offerings work to build team confidence, enable the institution to establish a relationship with a reliable partner, and provide the team a quick win to prove the strategy’s value to the business.
Let’s meet and discuss our Standard Play offering before, or at, Educause 2019. Email our Higher Education practice to get the conversation started.