As cloud services pick up speed in the private sector, questions about security, cost savings, implementation and best-practice models have emerged in concert with its rapid growth and adoption. But are institutions of higher learning following suit? Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Consulting turned their focus on 12 universities in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, India, and New Zealand, surveying CIOs and IT directors for their July 2012 report “Cloud Bursts Into Higher Education.”

They found out how and why these schools are employing the cloud; plus they give some suggestions as to where the partnership between higher education and the cloud is headed.

So, how do schools who adopt the cloud compare with businesses?

A Forrester survey from 2011 asked 920 companies which were the most important factors in choosing to deploy SaaS. The top 4 were:

  1. Improved business agility (72%);
  2. Allows us to focus resources on more important projects (66%):
  3. Speed of implementation and deployment (64%);
  4. Faster delivery of new features and functions from SaaS/as-a-service providers (60%).*

*“Lower overall costs” actually tied for 4th place with 60%

As previously noted, Forrester found that universities were adopting cloud services to boost productivity. Plus, speed, budget and scalability were the top three features universities valued most about the cloud. When it comes to the cloud, universities are aligned very closely with businesses.

Forrester also found that cloud-forward schools have three commonalities. First, a common corporate-to-education talent migration means schools’ CIO or IT directors often have firsthand experience of successful cloud implementation, and are endeavoring to bring knowledge and practices up-to-date at their universities. Second, schools with big technology components—academic programs that need and/or can get the most use out of cloud services, like IT training, animation, and fashion—are the most enthusiastic about adopting cloud technology.

Third, U.S. schools are ahead of the pack, with, Forrester estimates, international universities lagging behind by about 12 months. Forrester cites “lack of knowledge and understanding” as the biggest barriers to cloud adoption, noting the while these universities are turning more to the cloud, they’re doing so much slower and more carefully than their U.S. counterparts.

In the future, expect to see more inter-departmental collaboration between IT and academic departments. Additionally, funding will move from IT to academic departments as those departments take on more IT autonomy, and team up on projects.

New realities are driving more direct control of technology by leaders of non-IT organizations, internal users, and customers—empowered by their own technology use. These changes herald an IT organization in which CIOs build agile and nimble teams that enable empowered employees and customers to be successful directly using technology for education.” – Head of Information Technology at a New Zealand University

Related Articles:
Learning the Cloud Way – Part I

As cloud services pick up speed in the private sector, questions about security, cost savings, implementation and best-practice models have emerged in concert with its rapid growth and adoption. But are institutions of higher learning following suit? Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Consulting turned their focus on 12 universities in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, India, and New Zealand, surveying CIOs and IT directors for their July 2012 report “Cloud Bursts Into Higher Education.”

They found out how and why these schools are employing the cloud; plus they give some suggestions as to where the partnership between higher education and the cloud is headed.

So, how is Higher Ed approaching cloud services?

The Forrester study found that universities are adopting cloud services to boost productivity, and speed, budget, and scalability were the top three features university interviewees valued most about cloud services. But the study uncovered an interesting dynamic: professors and department staff are leading the way with cloud services at their universities, implementing cloud applications as needed, and circumventing the IT department. One side benefit of this autonomy is that IT departments can then focus their resources on other, critical IT tasks.

Echoing concerns coming from the private sector, universities are concerned about security. In fact, the report states “security is the No. 1 roadblock to cloud service adoption.” For schools, the two primary concerns are keeping research (intellectual property) and private student information confidential and secure.

The most common cloud adoption right now is the private cloud, with many of these schools keeping private information, like emails and research, on their private cloud, and “student-related information” on the schools’ servers. The report does note, however, that hybrid clouds are in use, and expected to increase. Additionally, as academic institutions partner up to offer expanded learning experiences, often online, expect to see a growth in the use of community clouds for sharing research and course materials.

Lastly, schools are looking to the cloud for cost savings; however, as cloud usage goes up so do costs. While several interviewees claimed significant cost savings with adoption of various cloud models, in one example the “expanded use of the services over three to seven years raised the cost of SaaS to nearly even with the cost of a perpetual license and on-premises deployment.” In other words, as academic staff and students become more familiar and comfortable with using cloud services, related costs increase, thereby erasing some of the gains.

Related Articles:
Learning the Cloud Way – Part II

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy and the likelihood of a long-term power outage, we have decided to postpone this event.  Please register for the event to ensure you receive updates when a new date has been established.  Thank you! 

As we embark on another school year, many colleges and universities are working feverishly on an engaging curriculum that will prepare students for the fast paced and ever changing “real world” they will enter upon graduation.

Join IVCi at a webinar that demonstrates how learning institutions can utilize cloud video and other solutions to extend the reach of education beyond the classroom. 

In this webinar you will learn about:

  1. Distance Learning: Students and professors can connect to a virtual classroom or study group from any desktop video client including Skype, Google Video Chat and even their web browser!
  2. Guest Lectures: Allow professors and other distinguished leaders from all over the world to present to a group of students without costly and time consuming travel. 
  3. Research: Collaborate and share content with subject matter experts and research groups through an interactive forum.

Sign up today!

Take Learning To The Next Level With Video Conferencing
[Click here to Register]
Date: Postponed Until Further Notice
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern / 11:00 AM Pacific (US)

According to AVInteractive:  The education and research sector reports that 86% of organizations expect to see significant growth in usage. Use is widespread across the sector but could be more frequent. There are high levels of internal use within organizations. Cost and time savings are considered most important benefits.

Looking forward, 86% of respondents predicted that the use of video conferencing would increase within their organization due to a combination of improvements in video conferencing technology and a wider drive to reduce organisational costs.

More here:

http://www.avinteractive.co.uk/news/33779/good-news-for-vcon

IVCi was asked to contribute to an article on the need for AV integration in schools titled “Doing Business in Higher Education” for the March-April issue of Pro AV magazine. Check out an excerpt from the article by Tim Kridel below:

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

The ability to offer advertising services often depends on whether a school has a single, standardized, campus wide signage platform, rather than a hodgepodge of disparate systems that formed over time as departments deployed their own. And signage isn’t the only AV application where standardization is in demand.

“We’re seeing the need for standardized classroom control, which is the control system that manages the technology in the room: projectors, screens, audio systems, document cameras, and video sources,” says CCS’s Littlefield. “Many professors use multiple rooms, so there’s a need for consistency and ease of use.”

Littlefield says that not only is standardization a benefit to busy professors, it can also be an important part of a university’s expansion plans. Common AV systems throughout old and new buildings make servicing the technology exponentially easier.

Hauppauge, N.Y.–based integrator IVCi recently surveyed higher-education decision-makers and found that overbooked classes, limited faculty, and lost revenue are three of their biggest problems.

“Videoconferencing and distance learning are becoming the methods through which many are addressing these institutional challenges,” says Adam Kaiser, IVCi director of marketing. “We are seeing a growing demand not only for desktop and room-based videoconferencing, but also a surge in demand for fully realized virtual classroom environments powered by immersive telepresence systems.”

But perhaps the most important long-term trend—and one that spells good news for AV pros targeting the higher-education market—is that the people responsible for filling classrooms expect to use more technology, not less.