Universities are complex organizations with many operational requirements. In the modern age, cloud computing offers a solution to the complexities university face, from engaging students to managing fund sources. Understanding the power of cloud platforms can help you find ways to optimize workflows, improve the university experience, and create a collaborative environment across your campus.
What Is the Cloud?
In simple terms, the cloud refers to technology services that operate over the internet. Rather than storing information and programs in servers and physical cable networks, cloud technology services store information in a remote database that’s accessible anywhere.
Cloud solutions have gained traction in recent years for many reasons. While some cloud systems are free platforms we all count on, paid solutions have become more nuanced to address specific needs. Universities are one of many organizations that can find cloud technology that caters to their unique operational demands.
Long-Term Cost Savings
With so many expenses to consider, cost reduction is a focus for universities of all sizes. The use of cloud technology in higher education can lead to significant cost savings in the long term.
The economical nature of the cloud starts with the hardware requirements. Rather than storing high volumes of data on servers kept on campus, you can transfer your valuable information to a secure cloud platform. Without the initial purchasing costs and ongoing maintenance for these hardware systems, your organization can save immensely on your IT budget.
Cloud solutions often come in the form of Software as a Software (SaaS), which adds more predictability to your technology expenses. SaaS providers often host their solutions with a consistent, all-inclusive monthly fee. This consistency makes it easier for your organization to develop its IT budget.
You can enjoy the same monthly rate for your cloud services, and you can also achieve more with less staff. Rather than introducing new functionalities that require more personnel, you can maintain your IT team as it is with a streamlined workflow.
Secure and Efficient
University data involves a range of sensitive information, like student addresses, credit card numbers, financial accounts, and much more. Protecting your data should always be a priority. With cloud computing in higher education, you gain the data security you need while maintaining operational efficiency.
Since cloud processes take place over the internet, SaaS providers understand the importance of data encryption. While your data remains encrypted on your cloud server, these solutions come with many protective features like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and continuous security patches to respond to gaps in the system.
Cloud solutions also support robust data backup options that are ideal for business continuity plans. Among universities, keeping operations up and running despite emergencies is essential to meeting students’ needs and maintaining your institution’s reputation.
While your organization’s data remains safe in a cloud environment, it is still accessible when you need it. Whether you want to access financial aid data or a student’s contact information, your team can continue to operate seamlessly throughout the day.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing for Universities
A recent study projected the cloud computing market to increase by over $8.7 billion for universities in 2027. As more universities see the value of cloud solutions, they find new ways to integrate these programs in front-end and back-end processes. Integrating cloud solutions into your organization can lead to a wide range of advantages.
Universities change constantly, and operational flexibility is a must for thriving amidst unexpected shifts—from changing enrollment numbers to educational requirements. Cloud solutions adapt to your organization. The SaaS model allows you to adjust factors like storage and functions as the need arises. At the same time, the ease of these systems frees up more time for powerful initiatives within your institution.
With cloud solutions relying solely on the internet to operate, students, faculty, and administrators can access platforms on any internet-enabled device. This accessibility allows students to use any tools they have access to off-campus, including smartphones and tablets.
Beyond the student experience, cloud solutions support access for professors, administrators, and other employees. Instructors can interact with students from their laptops at home. Administrative teams can handle remote work with access to essential tools from their home workspace. This overall accessibility improves users’ experiences across the board.
Cloud services can support collaboration among students, faculty, and administration. Students and faculty can enjoy cloud solutions for sharing assignments and learning materials, and administrators benefit from connected back-end processes. For example, cloud solutions can keep all financial information in one place, rather than having a separate system for every department.
Now more than ever, organizations rely on data to drive insights about performance and make changes to their approaches. Cloud technology in universities supports comprehensive collection of your university’s data, so you can learn what works within your institution and what needs more attention.
Using cloud systems that connect across departments can help you generate insights that would be otherwise inaccessible. For example, a decline in enrollment may involve an understaffed call center for connecting with prospective students. Data from both departments can reveal the correlation and help a university bolster its call center for higher enrollment rates.
Managing in-house computer systems requires extensive amounts of energy, from continuous power supply requirements to cooling needs. Moving operations to the cloud reduces these high energy usage requirements and makes your technology processes more environmentally sustainable.
In particular, universities rely on vast IT infrastructure to cover all functions. Finding ways to cut back on these hardware requirements can make a notable difference to your organization’s carbon footprint.
Today’s students want to attend universities that reflect their technology sensibilities. A 2019 survey revealed 56% of college students used their phones or tablets to complete some or all of their coursework. Adding cloud functionality across your organization can make your university more appealing to the tech-driven generations. Back-end solutions can also make your institution more agile amidst changing needs, making you stand out among the competition.
Request a Demo for MIP Fund Accounting®
Cloud solutions for your organization’s back-end processes can be meaningful for employee retention and operational efficiency. MIP Fund Accounting® is a system with comprehensive solutions for your university.
If your university is a nonprofit, you understand the complexities of managing government funding, tracking donor dollars, and keeping your accounts organized. MIP Fund Accounting® is a cloud solution that addresses your nonprofit’s unique financial needs.
Access a user-friendly dashboard with essential financial information like your general ledger and bank reconciliation alongside other helpful tools, like integrated payroll and employee web services. Learn more about the MIP Cloud solution and request a demo today.