Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It is finally time for the cloud.

I have not written a post in over a year. I had a job change and moved again. I guess I have Had two jobs in a row that just did not work for me. For different reasons, the atmosphere at each was just not conducive for growth or change. I learned a lot about change management, but I also learned that even today (2015) many colleges have no technology plan. They use the now basic LMS and ERP tool, but the real focus is have enough wireless bandwidth. It's all about the bandwidth. I found myself becoming less of an IT strategist and more of an operations guy. The executive administration at both colleges just did not see technology as the least bit strategic.

As a CIO for over 17 years now, I have seen some amazing thing things happen on college campuses. Looking back, we hit a plateau about three years ago. The LMS and ERP were running. Classroom technology had boomed and was now all over campus. Videoconferencing had become common place. The list goes on. All we worried about was the old ROLM phone switch blowing up and having enough wireless bandwidth to keep everyone happy from 8PM to 2AM.

Things had actually gotten a bit boring. Well I think that's about to change. Colleges now want anytime and anywhere classes. Student progress monitoring. Early warning systems. All sorts of third party student affairs related software. Medical records in the cloud; judicial records in the cloud; student recruitment (CRM) in the cloud; athlete recruitment in the cloud; now LMS in the cloud; and next up ERP in the cloud. Are you seeing a theme?

The campus data center will become a thing of the past with 7-10 years. We are about to ramp up for an applications revolution like we have not seen since PeopleSoft took us to the ERP in 2001. Running applications on premise with your own people is just no longer possible for the average college. It's not secure. We struggle to maintain disaster recovery and business continuity efforts. Our developers spend all of their time trying to keep the applications patched. The network administrations are doing the same thing trying to keep all of the servers up. We spend a fortune on security appliances and the people to run them.

I will be talking about this more in the future, but I suggest that all colleges and universities need to be re-writing their IT plans to think CLOUD. They need to proceed with caution, but they must proceed. The break is over. Time to get get back to work.