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"How to Cloud" Workshop Will Offer Community Insights and Best Practices for Implementing Cloud Solutions

Apr 27, 2016, by Andrew Keating
Tags: 2016 Global Summit, Community, Internet2 NET+

Over the past few years, conversations about “cloud” in the higher education community have shifted significantly--from a debate about the risks and potential of moving services off premise to a discussion about how to do so strategically and responsibility. I noticed the shift in the tone of discussions about the cloud at the Fall 2015 EDUCAUSE conference during my pre-conference workshop “Cloud 101” as well as during other sessions and hallway conversations.

This year, I participated in the EDUCAUSE Connect conferences in Denver and Miami, leading sessions with campus colleagues related to cloud services. In Denver, Bob Flynn (Indiana University), Patricia Sperry (Notre Dame) and I led a session on “Effective Planning, Procurement, and the Human Aspect of Cloud Services” and in Miami, Bob and I collaborated on a session dedicated to “Preparing the Enterprise for the Cloud.”

Bob developed an enterprise cloud service selection role playing game that the attendees played in these two EDUCAUSE Connect sessions. The game provided participants an opportunity to think through the various stakeholders and roles involved in enterprise cloud service selection: security, legal, procurement, identity architect, service owner, etc. In addition to discussing the high level strategic issues related to cloud services, attendees assumed the roles of key stakeholders deciding which of several cloud offerings is right for their imaginary university. We quickly discovered during the first session in Denver that some attendees had to assume multiple roles (if there were fewer than 8 individuals at their table), a common occurrence on many campuses! Ultimately, we were pleased that attendees shared that the role playing activity helped them not only realize the complexity and effort involved in selecting an enterprise cloud service, but also the importance of identifying and assembling the stakeholders on their campuses.

These sessions aimed to present opportunities for higher education community members to learn from efforts over the past few years to prepare their enterprises for a cloud world. This is a time when students have never known academic life without a laptop or tablet and are accustomed to consumer cloud applications. Even for universities with a strong IT governance process, the final decision of which solution to purchase is seldom clear cut, as is the question of whether to support multiple services with overlapping feature sets. No single stakeholder holds all of the information necessary to make the best choice for the institution.

As part of the "How to Cloud" pre-conference workshop next month at the Internet2 Global Summit, we will be walking through this role playing scenario once again. This pre-conference session is designed for campuses who are exploring, or have embarked on, the implementation of a campus cloud strategy. Shel Waggener, Jerry Grochow, Alan Fishel, and I will be sharing material that highlights best practices developed by hundreds of campuses that have deployed cloud solutions, as well as encouraging the attendees in the room to share their experiences. In addition to discussing internal campus governance, we will offer considerations for selection of cloud based products, cloud contracts, and procurement best practices, and we aim to assist attendees with formulating their cloud strategies.

Space at the workshop is limited to 50 attendees from the US higher education community,  so please register now if you are interested in attending the workshop, or contact me to connect at the conference.