A Fundamental Technology

Three benefits of adopting cloud-based software for universities. 

GUEST COLUMN| by Matt Clark

CREDIT CorcentricUniversities have traditionally struggled to access and manage data across numerous academic departments. Advancements in technology now allow schools to tap into a variety of sources for a wider assessment of risks and opportunities. By utilizing cloud-based solutions, higher education institutions can take advantage of benefits that include risk minimization, operational improvement and establishing trust.

Risk Minimization

Schools are susceptible to a seemingly infinite number of risks. This becomes more apparent with larger universities that have many departments. To alleviate stress, schools must first identify the anticipated risks to their sensitive information. From there, they should create a short list of risks that need to be focused on more closely, based on how

Billions of dollars are being invested in this market, a clear indicator that universities not only need to take notice, but take action in adopting these tools.

damaging the consequences may be. Utilizing the cloud gives schools on-demand access to a shared system of data and resources, making this process a more tangible and efficient undertaking. Implementing a system of risk prioritization will not only help in managing and resolving issues more effectively, but it will ensure that each team member involved is on the same page when it comes to where time and effort should be spent.

All of the strategic planning and monitoring in the world does not exempt a school from the occasional issue. Learning from missteps and mistakes is extremely valuable – even more when there is data and resources to substantiate recommended solutions. The key is tapping into historical data in the cloud to gain insight in order to prevent these risks in the future.

Opportunities of Operational Improvement

Ignorance is never bliss when it comes to sharing information – it can cost a school time and money. Rather than seeing transparency as a challenge, universities can leverage the opportunity to identify potential operational improvements. These improvements can result in cost savings, more time, efficient processes and better ways to allocate resources.

When academic departments are siloed – metaphorically and sometimes physically – the separation of data, insights and resources is doing more harm than good. Now with new technology being developed at a higher frequency, there are a number of cross-device cloud solutions to help schools manage enrollment and other academic data across departments, gaining insight that is actionable. For example, schools that can better optimize enrollment data distribution by using cloud-enabling data processing are more likely to enroll best-fit students. The speed at which this type of technology is growing also shows no signs of slowing down. According to a Forbes report, the global Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market is projected to grow from $49 billion in 2015 to $67 billion in 2018. Billions of dollars are being invested in this market, a clear indicator that universities not only need to take notice, but take action in adopting these tools.

Establish and Maintain Trust

Transparency, internal and external, is an essential part of establishing trust and reinforcing a positive reputation. Schools that lack a full understanding what’s going on in each department are finding themselves up against many risks and liabilities that could have been avoided. With competition for students as tight as it is, schools cannot afford to have inefficient processes. When a school moves its data to the cloud, not only is this a strategic decision that is environmentally friendly but it’s also a step towards transparency. Cloud solution tools enable teams at a university-wide level to keep a closer eye on where departments are succeeding and where red flags need to be raised. This fosters an environment of personal responsibility within university walls in order to build and reinforce a positive public image.

Working with the cloud enables a school to be more nimble, cost effective, and time-efficient. By embracing these solutions, a school will reap rewards that can be accounted for numerically on a spreadsheet but also felt by the public when it comes to a positive reputation. The on-demand access to resources and insight alone is a fundamental technology that any university today should take advantage of in order to stay innovative and transparent.

Matt Clark is COO for Corcentric, overseeing day-to-day operations and all software engineering and operational efforts, including implementation, client services, integration, and IT infrastructure. Most recently, Matt was VP of Operations for Corcentric. He received his degree from the University of Maryland. 

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