As a result of the widespread shift to hybrid working and learning brought about by the pandemic, the cloud continues to play a critical role for public sector organisations – particularly those in the education sector.

Enlightened by the accelerated digital transition over the past two years, students, researchers and staff are now demanding cloud-hosted resources and online lessons, and are vying for access to modern tools and services.

The benefits are clear for IT leaders, too. Not only is cloud technology a key enabler in the sought-after modernisation process, but it also enables organisations to innovate quickly, enjoy greater resilience, and continue to be agile in order to meet students’ ever-changing needs.

Although the potential gains are clear to see, public sector organisations looking to migrate to the cloud often face a wide range of challenges, from privacy and security concerns to a lack of in-house IT staff.

One of the greatest challenges, however, is a difficulty fitting into cloud industry-standard processes. This means cost and affordability are often cited as the main reason for hesitancy around moving away from on-premise systems.

For example, while it may be typical for a commercial organisation to sign up to a multi-million-pound cloud contract in return for a discount, such activities can prove difficult for UK public sector organisations. Even making the most out of smaller commitments in return for a discount, such as Reserved Instances or Saving Plans, can be a nightmare for public sector procurement teams.

This is why, in order to make a successful transition to cloud, organisations require the help of a financially focused cloud reseller like Strategic Blue to ensure they can better manage, control, reduce and optimise their cloud costs.

Strategic Blue, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner with a specialist education competency, helps organisations to buy cloud a brighter way. Using the appropriate purchasing framework agreement and pricing models, organisations can procure cloud services in a compliant way. Strategic Blue can also put in place additional discount options from cloud providers to help reduce costs.

For example, it helps the University of California, San Diego, to save on average 17% per month, while increasing their breadth of service adoption by 14%. Similarly, it helps the University of York make significant monthly cloud savings, reduce internal time spent managing cloud costs and cut the complexity of their cloud billing.

Not only does Strategic Blue’s commodity trading approach to purchasing cloud reduce both cost and uncertainty, it also helps organisations reduce their carbon footprint and edge closer to meeting their net zero goals – by enabling cost effective and efficient use of cloud.

Ultimately, it’s clear that a transition to the cloud is a smart choice for education providers – and Strategic Blue can help ensure you’re making the most of that investment. To find out how Strategic Blue can help your business click here.

Hybrid Cloud

Educational institutions are continuing to accelerate their use of technologies such as e-learning, VR and AI-driven chatbots in order to facilitate remote and hybrid learning. Many expect the use of these digital technologies to become a permanent change, having recognised the flexibility and productivity benefits it can bring.

In a recent survey with leading institution across Germany, Ireland, Netherland and Sweden- close to half (46%) of campus IT and faculty say that greater use of social media for study support groups will become a permanent teaching method. While 19% believe a greater use of collaboration technologies for lectures will become an enduring teaching method. This survey also demonstrated that IT upgrades have affected the way people feel about technology, having learnt new skills and improved their work-life balance. 

The continued demand for distance learning means schools and universities are under increasing pressure to conduct lectures via digital platforms. However, at the same time institutions are having to meet complex security and compliance requirements and are often locked into the high capital expenditures that come with ageing data centres, long-term contracts and legacy applications.

What’s more, organisations in the public sector are often met with resistance from senior leaders when it comes to embracing new technologies, such as the cloud. This problem is often fuelled by a lack of awareness surrounding the ‘what’ and ‘how’ to adopt the cloud technology, along with fears over how much the migration journey could cost.

The Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) framework enables schools, universities and research institutions to use cloud services more easily and helps them to recognise the full benefits of migrating from expensive legacy technologies.

It can save institutions from time-consuming and complex processes and gives them access to cloud services at a discounted rate, helping institutions that need funding assistance in order to migrate. By using the OCRE service agreements, the universities and the research community can access unique OCRE discounts to Amazon Web Services (AWS) that would otherwise not be available.

OCRE also takes the complexity out of compliance, offering ready-to-use contracts that have been designed to satisfy national and European public sector procurement regulations and GDPR requirements. Institutions can also be confident they’re meeting the education and research community’s specific requirements, including procurement and payment models that match the sector’s financial structures and funding prerequisites.

Rackspace has been exclusively chosen by GÉANT – the pan-European data network for the research and education community – to provide AWS services to institutions through the OCRE framework. This means that organisations concerned about the skills gap when it comes to IT expertise in the cloud can make use of free training on AWS. Rackspace, which has 15 AWS competencies, and 2700+ certifications, can also has considerable experience helping customers implement AWS solutions.

Ultimately, the OCRE framework empowers research institutions and universities to move their IT environments to the cloud, and to recognise the full benefits of doing so. Institutions can expect an increase in productivity, an improved work life balance, and can make it easier for students to work at their own pace.

If you want to learn more about Rackspace click here.

Education Industry

The successful journey to cloud adoption for Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) enterprises cannot be completed without addressing the complexities of core business systems. Many businesses have been able to migrate corporate support systems – such as ERP and CRM, as well as IT security and infrastructure systems to the public cloud. However, security concerns, legacy architecture, country-specific regulations, latency requirements, and transition challenges continue to keep the core system from cloud adoption.

BFSI enterprises will be unable to realize the full cloud potential until their core business systems use cloud platforms and services. Firms are looking for solutions that will allow them to continue operating out of their data centers while also providing access to the cloud-shared infrastructure made available to them in their own data centers.

To address these challenges, leading cloud service providers have launched hybrid integrated solution offerings that allow enterprises to access cloud services from their respective data centers via shared infrastructure provided by cloud providers. These allow enterprises to deploy their applications on either the cloud shared infrastructure or on their own data centers without having to rewrite the code.

Enterprises have two options: run applications directly on the cloud or run computing and storage on-premises using the same APIs. To provide a consistent experience across on-premises and cloud environments, the on-premises cloud solution is linked to the nearest cloud service provider region. Cloud infrastructure, services, and updates, like public cloud services, are managed by cloud service providers.

AWS Outposts is a leading hybrid integrated solution that provides enterprises with seamless public cloud services at their data centers. Outpost is a managed AWS service that includes computing and storage. Outpost provides enterprises with an option to be closer to the data center, as many BFSI core systems require significantly low latency, as well as an ecosystem of business applications residing on on-premise data centers.

AWS Outposts will deliver value to BFSI enterprises

Several BFSI enterprises use appliance-based databases for high performance and high availability computing. In the short and medium term, it is unlikely that these enterprises will migrate their appliance-based databases to the cloud; however, AWS provides an option to run these systems on Outposts while keeping databases on the appliances. Outpost also assists in the migration of databases from proprietary and expansive operating systems and hardware to more cost-effective and economical hardware options.

Other use cases, such as commercial off-the-shelf BFSI products that require high-end servers, can be easily moved to AWS Outposts, lowering the total cost of ownership. As a strategy, legacy monolithic core applications that require reengineering can be easily moved to AWS Outposts first and then modernized incrementally onto the public cloud.

A unified hybrid cloud system is the way forward for BFSI enterprises

AWS Outposts offer BFSI enterprises a solution that combines public and private infrastructure, consistent service APIs, and centralized management interfaces. The AWS Outpost service will be able to assist BFSI enterprises in dealing with the many expansive appliance-based core systems that run on proprietary vendor-provided operating systems and hardware that are very expensive.

AWS Outposts will allow BFSI enterprises to gradually migrate to the public cloud while maintaining core application dependencies. AWS Outpost enables a true hybrid cloud for BFSI enterprises.

Author Bio

TCS

Ph: +91 9841412619

E-mail: asim.kar@tcs.com

Asim Kar has 25+ years of overall IT experience spanning executing large-scale transformation programs and running technology organizations in BFSI in migration and reengineering space. He is currently heading the cloud technology focus group in BFSI. He leads complex transformation projects in traditional technologies in telecom, insurance, banks, and financial services programs.

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