Trends | From Tactic to Strategy: Cloud Computing in K-12 Districts

The cloud computing hype is hard to avoid, and a new report from CDW-G finds that K-12 school districts are not plunging headlong into the cloud just yet, instead they assessing the cloud computing opportunity carefully.

The Cloud Computing Tracking Poll separates the hype from reality and understands the adoption, benefits and challenges associated with on-demand, pay-as-you-go computing.  The survey, published this week, finds that 83 percent of K-12 districts are using at least one cloud-based application. Only 27 percent identify themselves as “cloud users” – those who are implementing or maintaining cloud computing (graph 1). A similar number, 28 percent, are in the planning stages. The takeaway:  Most districts are making tactical use of one or more cloud applications, but they are not committed to a cloud computing strategy.

“Many organizations are moving carefully – and selectively – into cloud computing, as well they should, because it represents a significant shift in how computing resources are provided and managed,” said David Cottingham, senior director, managed services at CDW. In fact, CDW-G’s survey shows that K-12 districts predict that they will spend just 17 percent of their IT budget on cloud computing in two years and 27 percent in five years (graph 2).

However, those K-12 school districts already “using” cloud computing are saving an average 28 percent annually on those applications in the cloud. Those are savings that can be redirected so that IT can help districts to deliver on their core mission – educating students.

Finally, CDW-G’s report provides recommendations for institutions that want to move from a tactical to a strategic approach to cloud computing, including how to develop a vision, assess IT assets, and invest in a validated architecture.

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