The City of Perth in Western Australia is one of the remotest cities in the world. Imagine the nearest largest city is not in Australia, but Jakarta! Recently I held a talk on Trusted Australian Cloud in Perth as a follow up of delivering new Cloud services to Edith Cowen University.
With delivering this new Cloud services to Edith Cowan University (ECU), we had to build a brand new Cloud datacenter. In doing so, we set a new standard of Cloud services for Universities in Western Australia.
Generally Universities are relatively slow in cloud adoption and migration with a complete IaaS, where the University puts its future in the hands of a Trusted Cloud Service Provider.
Cloud Adoption is essential in the Digitization of the University curriculum. With a new generation of students who are more connected digitally, demanding greater access to digital content and resources, the Universities are forced to organize their IT department into a more agile and flexible organization. Cloud-adoption is a necessity in that process.
ECU realized this in 2012 – while many are realizing this new reality. ECU realized that they will require an excellent digital infrastructure to assist students and facilitate education for ongoing sustainable growth for the future. They understood that if there was no sound, agile, flexible and cost-effective IT support, students just won’t come anymore. They will move to another University. On top of that without global reach, overseas students, who contribute financially, cannot participate in the curriculum remotely. Without IT, business will be jeopardized – a key concern for ECU as well of key stakeholders and board members today. To make that necessary leap to the Digital highway, ECU step outside of their internal IT organization for a professional global CSP. They had made that choice to shape their organization and educational offerings for the future.
While the event brought about a new level of awareness, how many Universities are truly ready to make that leap?
Today we face some of the most fundamental and important issues that higher education has ever had to deal with. We must make a decision that will shape higher education for the future. Higher education today is almost unrecognizable. The catalyst for much of that change is of course “technology”. One very clear and decisive trend in recent years has been the explosion of smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices. It has created a new student learning culture changing traditional students into education consumers.
Technology and the human response to it, has created a new education paradigm – ‘flipped learning’ - a process that not only empowers students to take more control over their learning, but also offers teachers the chance to free up their time to enhance their roles as real facilitators.
Students now are able to study at home or on the bus therefore campuses have become a center for project work, discussions and reviews.
Competition for students and staff is growing fast in the USA and ANZ. Europe too is not far behind. New commercial entrants are challenging each other for the brightest and best and that competition will explode in future.
In turn, the CIOs of University are confronted with ‘Bring Your Own Devices’ (BYOD). He or she may previously have been responsible for ‘just’ 5,000 staff, but now they must widen their scope and look at the wants and needs of perhaps 25,000 students, demanding technological support and innovative resources for their own devices. At the same time, the student is no longer studying in a brick and mortar classroom. Where will he study tomorrow?
Colleges and universities need to provide comprehensive, corporate-standard IT services and infrastructures for the teaching community and the many students they serve. And this means continuous pressure on budgets of course. Stakes are high. Failure to provide the best resources will undoubtedly impact student recruitment.
Now with the Internet of Things/Everything on its way, technology enables business disruption in many sectors. Just look at Uber and angry cab-drivers. Look at the potential of Tesla, considered the new Apple for cars, creating not just a new car but a computer on four wheels and the impact it has on car manufacturers. Cloud adoption is crucial to seek the agility and flexibility as an institution to counter these challenges.
Let me close this segment with a question – Should traditional Universities exist 5 years from now? I look forward to hearing your views.