Higher Education Guide: On-Premises VS Cloud Unified SaaS Solutions

The Emergence of Cloud Unified SaaS Products for Higher Education

Trust me, I understand, it’s the end of the world as we know it when your server or network goes down. Everything is connected or will be connected over the next decade.

New digital technologies that control every single electrical pulse, from student recruiting to registration, financial budgeting and planning, school access, sensitive data storage, building management, research, exams, grades, student engagement, social interaction and much more.

In one way or another, it’s the control of data, programmed to meet your immediate needs, all with the expected outcome of improved student results and a better bottom line.

The people responsible for your digital transformation did not ask to take over this huge responsibility, it has been thrust upon them at a speed few can catch-up to.

Those that started early and have immense resources are much further ahead then others, and the others are playing a huge gamble in time with limited resources and capital.

Digital Transformation has become less about technology and more of a cultural phenomenon then a technological change, driving most IT spending over the next decade. IT leaders have a unique opportunity to lead not just digital transformation but the entire institutional transformation.

Has your organization been operating an old, outdated server system? Are you worried about security and protecting your data? Are you being asked to do the impossible within a constrained budget?

Traditional on-premise servers are costly and in most cases are not equipped to manage modern SaaS/IaaS/PaaS applications as technology continues to evolve. Most global SaaS products don’t even have an on-premise solution for you.

Today’s technological boom in digital transformation, connects everything to everybody in a highly mobile state. The ability to scale your infrastructure to meet this new demand is simply too expensive and very risky when considering an on-premise solution.

Even the very small school will see huge benefits in technology and costs when considering a cloud and SaaS hosted solution.
Everyone is or has moved most of their critical infrastructure to the cloud. Google™, Adobe™, Microsoft™, Oracle™, SAP™, Citrix™ have all successfully transformed their business from a software license in to a cloud service business, masterfully embracing the software-as-a service business model.

We are really starting to understand the power of a VMware Thin client business model powering the transition to cloud-based workloads.

Our personal Smartphones are quickly becoming the virtual client, with the ability to carry your life’s content, connected to unlimited data storage and a pay-as-you-use SaaS applications is not the future any longer, it’s the now!

In this cultural change, IT departments are shifting to more of a service provider role, with more and more software applications managing the day-to-day operations.

Leaders in IT need to evolve and adapt to these new changes by spending most of their time on championing and helping their organizations understand the urgency of this change as well as designing the next phase of architecture and infrastructure.
Constant technological advances have brought modern options providing much more powerful computational capabilities as well as security, flexibility, efficiency and a more reliable service.

The ability to move quickly to a SaaS environment built in a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure is crucial and cost effective for everyone.

While products like SalesForce™, Dropbox™, Office 365™, Google Docs™ and Shopify™ defined and made successful the SaaS model, its been companies like UBER™, Airbnb™, Skip-the-Dishes™, Workday™, Intuit™ and many others that are defining how to combine many services and monetize on applying the rules of SaaS.

It’s quite simple, combine as many steps in a process into a single step and resell the same thing that bumps someone else off the shelf!

This year’s Ellucian Live Conference exemplifies a perfect example of the birth of how a SaaS Cloud product is connecting people, processes and applications that empower the education ecosystem.

I was truly surprised at how many new, cloud-based partners in higher education and financial transaction business were present.
Ellucians Ethos™ is combining Partner tools and SaaS products sharing and unifying data across an institution using standardized tools and combining all of these tools in a unified cloud environment.

In my world of print and digital transformation it’s all about the ability to capture, retain, process, securitize and deliver on an easier way to manage the digital infrastructure.

It’s those items that have the greatest impact on change control, OS Patching, security, regression analysis, OS Licensing, IT infrastructure provisioning and support resources.

Our problems are not the typical printing issue problems anymore. We are now programming more and more interactive tools into the process.

Today file storage, access, printer management, financial and PCI-DSS certification management, security, licensing, mobility, VPAT accessibility, operating system differences and printer specific drivers and technology are all being combined into a single SaaS cloud hosted environment.

Like others we combined the resources of significant products like Adobe™, ASPOSE™, Microsoft Azure™ and Office, as well as printer specific technologies to create a single unified SaaS.

Cloud Unified SaaS Diagram

Raw application files are no longer sent to a printer direct but are sent to the cloud or from one cloud container to another to be pre-processed into compressed and encrypted print ready PDF’s.

Remember, the printer is most often one of the weakest security links into your organization and environmentally the direct file-to-print solution has been an environmental disaster with proven 30% of documents being wasted or spirited away.

All institutions by now should be using authentication and printing at the printer regardless of what print management software you are using.

Added benefits like a universal print driver embedded within the SaaS also alleviates the IT and user head-ache of choosing a printer, only possible in a PDF environment where the native print driver is not being used.

Look forward to more unified SaaS cloud products in higher Education over the very near future as we see student growth not coming from within our own westernized countries, but remotely as technology advances look to embrace the shared economy model.

Also, be careful you don’t become irrelevant as an educational institute when more advanced teaching and service tools support this new global economy.

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