Cloud-related Trends Impacting Higher Education

Cloud computing is beginning to play a starring role on the higher education stage. The cloud offers a low-cost, low-resource solution for bringing reliable, user friendly, anywhere access to the core applications we use every day—from email and accounting to constituent relationship management (or CRM).

Cloud applications will prove to be the most cost-effective, efficient way to keep pace with new ways to communicate with students, administrators, recruiters and the IT department. 2012 will be the year that the cloud secures its foothold in higher education.

Mobile and social innovation will drive cloud adoption at academic institutions. With the cloud delivery model, users gain immediate access to innovations that vendors develop, making it a natural fit for extending core systems like CRM to ever evolving mobile devices and social networks.

Redefining Startups. Leading vendors have created enterprise-grade cloud platforms – like salesforce.com’s Force.com – that accelerate innovation. While still technically a start-up, the company that builds on existing cloud platforms benefits from painless development that will help them leap-frog the deficiencies of typical first-generation products. And that’s good news for schools – what used to take up to a year to get up and running can now be implemented in just a few months, or even weeks – cost effectively and with minimal resources.

Schools will leverage this expanding cloud ecosystem, which is buoyed by the strength of proven cloud platforms. Vendors remain focused on innovation that best suits their expertise, academic institutions by e-signature, text messaging, address validation, and data standardization.

What used to be software development and code is now simple mouse clicks. With this ‘clicks-not-code’ approach of Force.com applications, schools have access to products that they can easily customize without requiring an army of consultants. Traditional CRM solutions tend to be inflexible; they can’t be applied to multiple constituent types.

2012 will be the year of the touchscreen, where users will interact with their core business systems in ways traditionally relegated to consumer apps. With continued innovation on HTML5, business systems will become easier to interact with.

CRM goes full circle. No longer the realm of solely recruitment and alumni relations, cloud-based CRM will continue to expand its footprint across the entire student lifecycle. Not only will the cloud empower end users with full transparency into the student lifecycle, but it will give customers a cost-effective way to improve business efficiencies and transform how they communicate.

Adapted from 6 Cloud-related Trends Impacting Higher Education, Edtech Digest. Read the complete article here.

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