The Cloud, SaaS, and Automation – and what it means for the education sector

Posted by Tribal Group

If you’ve kept an eye on education software solution providers over the past 12 months, chances are their latest or soon to be major release is SaaS. When surveyed, 96 per cent of UK universities and 35 per cent of schools have implemented some sort of cloud technology in 2017. 

And it’s not just the UK clueing into the listed benefits:according to Technavio in their global cloud and education 2017-2021 report, the global cloud computing market in the education sector is expected to grow more than 26 per cent every year until 2021. Market drivers include reduced cost of ownership, growing usage of learning analytics, and increasing adoption of mobile learning.

Back in 2012, KPMG surveyed government/public and private sector businesses, asking them to describe the potential impact of cloud on their business model and operations. Key points listed are:

• Reduced costs (50%)
• Enhanced interaction with customers and suppliers (39%)
• Fundamental changes to business model (32%)
• Accelerated time to market (35%)

But what about an example from the education sector?

Staffordshire University reported that, instead of replacing its ageing data centres, it saved an estimated £6.4m in capital spending by migrating its entire application estate into the Microsoft Azure cloud. Also, by allowing applications to be ‘provider side’, many of the university’s administrative processes could be automated, saving time for both staff and students.

Automation means larger quantities of student applications and services can be processed and data can be managed more easily, with fewer errors - freeing up funding and staff time. So while in many industries there are concerns around automation-induced redundancy – in the education sector, administrative staff need not fear. Ultimately the most repetitive, low-cognition tasks are becoming more automated so that administrators can be more innovative, creative and efficient in their roles. 

"96 per cent of UK universities and 35 per cent of schools have implemented some sort of cloud technology in 2017." 

We’ve seen first hand how professionals have put themselves ‘ahead of the curve’ by ensuring the most repetitive elements of their roles have been streamlined through automation, so that they can focus on what really matters to the organisation. So it’s worth investigating how future application development will impact your role going forward.

This series so far has examined how software infrastructure in education is shifting, so in our next blog the focus is on what cloud-enabled learning is doing for the education system itself. In the meantime, for insights into how the cloud is helping digitally oriented educators to improve and tailor Student Experience, check out our latest report below.

Cloud in education whitepaper


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