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Hybrid cloud: the express route to modernising higher education

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David Heyns - Group ITaaS – Education, Dimension Data

David Heyns – Group ITaaS – Education, Dimension Data

Modernising higher education could be the single most important project any country undertakes

That’s because, today, every economy needs its people to be able to flourish in a digitised, connected, intelligent, collaborative, and automated business and social environment.

So, any institution of higher learning incapable of producing such people because its own technologies, operating models, and research insights lag the external reality is an impediment to its society. Certainly, it ceases to be anyone’s preference as a place of learning and, therefore, loses the ability to attract funding.

 

Competitive education

Historically, institutions of higher learning competed almost exclusively on academic and intellectual platforms. Now, they must also achieve and maintain a cutting edge based on different ways of learning, including massive open online courses and anywhere, any time access to the institution’s resources, as well as new fields of learning. All of this innovation is utterly dependent on the superior performance, availability, and security of technology platforms.

All of which implies new servers with more power and resilience, storage with higher capacity and lower latency, networks with more bandwidth so that they can carry rich media, and security that is intelligent, automated, and responsive enough to deal with the constant barrage of emerging threats.

The answer is opex

However, except for a rare few, institutions of higher learning simply don’t have the budgets to modernise their technology landscape. Certainly not in terms of the capital expenditure that would usually be needed to both put them on par with current requirements and extricate them once and for all from the technology upgrade cycle, which is only going to get more onerous because of technology’s relentless evolution.

Applied from operating expenditure perspective, though, their IT budgets absolutely can future-proof them right now. There is no need to rip and replace core legacy systems that are probably still doing their job and are some years away from showing a return on investment. To extend them easily, quickly, and cost effectively all that’s needed is for new or consumption-driven functionality to be based in the cloud.

The hybrid route

In the future, just about all technology will be consumed as a service. Until that time, going the hybrid route, with business as usual functionality on premise and cutting edge, differentiating functionality in the cloud, enables institutions of higher learning to very effectively compete for students, grants and other funding, and high profile research projects without gutting themselves financially. In fact, the hybrid cloud – and, in some cases, an education community cloud – should actually put money back into business areas, so that the institution can keep reinventing itself to stay relevant to the economy it must serve.

To find out more about how institutions of higher education can modernise, read Part 1 and Part 2 of our latest thinking “Why New Business Model Changes for Higher Education require New IT Infrastructure Strategies”

 

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