How Institutions Can Leverage AWS Cloud for Higher Education
Institutions across the globe are taking advantage of the cloud for higher education management. Amazon Web Services (AWS) in particular has become a leading choice for administrators seeking access to a wide range of cloud-based services that can improve the efficiency and scalability of various educational processes – enriching student, faculty and researcher experiences.
AWS has the largest customer base of any cloud provider on the market today, generating over $62.2 billion in 2022 revenue and serving more than 14,000 education institutions of all sizes. This breadth of services positions AWS as an ideal choice for higher education institutions interested in more flexibility.
However, with 3,084 new services and features launched in 2022, this can be a double-edged sword. The sheer scope of AWS services and applications makes any type of modernization a daunting task. From needs analysis to workload migration planning, there is so much to evaluate and consider when implementing the cloud for higher education, even for smaller institutions.
This is exactly why most companies end up relying on a trusted AWS partner, like ERPA, who can help with assessing current state, defining target state to support desired business outcomes, and developing an achievable roadmap for success.
These early-stage efforts are crucial for pulling off a successful digital transformation, representing the foundational goals (both practical and “wish list”) that the project will achieve. When handled correctly, this roadmapping and prioritization process sets the stage for a seamless migration that sets the institution up for success – no matter how administrators choose to take advantage of the cloud.
How Educational Institutions Use the AWS Cloud for Higher Education
Institutions of all shapes and sizes are using the cloud to support better student outcomes, collaboration, and other administrative goals.
Over the years, higher education institutions have aimed to improve access to a bigger, more diverse student population. This expansion has challenged educators to change the way they connect with students and support their various educational journeys. Some of the top use cases for AWS in higher education include:
- Online and distance learning: Particularly relevant in a post-pandemic world, universities and colleges are increasingly offering online and distance learning programs that provide access to education from anywhere and at any time. This can include both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (self-paced) classes, as well as hybrid models that combine online and in-person instruction.
- Coordinating learning management systems (LMS): Many universities and colleges are using LMS applications and student information systems (SIS) to deliver course materials, facilitate communication and collaboration among students and faculty, and track student progress. The AWS cloud offers a strong ecosystem to manage and support these functions.
- Data analytics and student success: Universities and colleges are using data analytics to track student progress and identify areas where students may need additional support. This can help institutions improve student retention and success rates.
- Digitizing educational resources: Utilizing the cloud for higher education broadens institutional options for creative learning solutions. Many universities and colleges are using digital textbooks and other educational resources, such as videos and interactive simulations, to enhance the learning experience and reduce the cost of materials for students. Especially in hybrid and remote learning environments, continuous, uninterrupted access to these teaching materials is a requirement.
The Challenges of Migrating to AWS
The benefits of the cloud for higher education are well-documented, and so too are the challenges facing administrators trying to get in on the action. Educational environments in particular face unique challenges in their digital transformation worth noting:
Like many organizations, educational facilities adopted digital transformation at speed to accommodate the demands of COVID-19. Today, as organizations and schools have returned to a (new) normal, the appetite for change has slowed down a bit. Schools are returning to time-tested approval processes driven by committees and meetings rather than fast-paced technical pivots.
It's often challenging to procure new tech solutions intended to transform a crowded ecosystem. Across the upfront costs of procurement, vetting service providers, guaranteeing system security, and ensuring full integration with other processes, finding ideal solutions is often a big stumbling point for academic institutions, and often delays implementation of new technologies.
Lack of Roadmapping
As noted above, roadmapping is a critical migration task that sets the stage for all future improvement. Broadly, the process involves assessing what's currently available, what outcomes are desired, and how to structure the migration tasks as a series of goals that can be achieved step-by-step. It also includes assessments of future state planning and how ongoing management of the new cloud solutions will work after deployment work is done.
Contact Knowledgeable AWS Partners for Best Results
With so many variables to consider, it's no surprise that most academic institutions lean on experienced integration partners to help them make sense of things. Partners like ERPA specialize in applications of the cloud for higher education and aim to accelerate the digital transformation of education through time-tested implementation strategies.
In a word, AWS partners like ERPA help institutions make the most of their data by enabling new strategies for analytics management and review. From implementing better data analysis tools to showing administrators how to operationalize insights, AWS partners can do a lot to support the average institution.
By applying these strategies, institutions can maximize data availability, ensure complete compliance and security, and even leverage cutting-edge solutions, like machine learning, to make better use of analytics.
ERPA Helps You Master the Cloud for Higher Education
Organizations seeking a higher education digital transformation shouldn't tackle the process alone. It's a better use of resources to lean on the skills and expertise of certified AWS partners who have established processes for managing migration challenges.
For example, ERPA offers a proprietary tool to facilitate these processes known as ActiveGenie™; a centralized management and migration tool that creates streamlined, repeatable processes and supports reliable hosted managed services. Backed by this tool and certifications that demonstrate total mastery in education services—such as ERPA's AWS Education Services Competency Certification—companies gain the best possible support for every stage of their cloud transformation.
If you're looking for help with implementing the cloud for higher education needs, contact ERPA's AWS experts and we'll be happy to discuss next steps.