With cloud spending within UK education predicted to increase to £125m by 2020/21 some might be forgiven for thinking that moving to the cloud is an objective in itself. Fortunately, education leaders are seeing beyond the technological implementation side of things and focusing on the outcomes cloud brings about. And certainly, in UK education, there are 3 key strategic areas leaders are looking to address through cloud – flexibility/scalability, cost effectiveness/reduced capital expenditure, and efficiency/agility, which account for 68% of the drivers for cloud adoption .
Staffordshire University cited capital expenditure savings exceeding £4m in the first year alone, as part of their 2017 cloud transformation project which saw them migrate 131 on-premise applications to the cloud. 
The ability to scale-up in education providers is likely to prove invaluable. IT spends aside, by moving operations to the cloud organisations will benefit from the high availability of cloud applications at those peak times when they need it most throughout the academic year with no impact on their own systems or IT staff.
It would be right to expect overall IT spend to decline as investment in hardware and the associated cost of support and maintenance reduces. Assuming vendors implement pricing models that acknowledge the fluctuation in demand over the academic year, which in turn gives Finance a known-expenditure model, then it is reasonable to assume many providers will make further savings by not having to over-egg their IT provision. It is yet to be seen how vendors will approach the task of replacing annual support and maintenance costs with the recurring charges model, but the shift away from Capital Expenditure towards Operational Expenditure will almost certainly be welcomed by most financial decision makers as commitments to large investments and long-term contracts are reduced along with their associated risks.
To a large extent it might be business-as-usual for many institutions when it comes to service delivery as they simply migrate their existing applications to the cloud. However, the increased ability of the organisation to innovate, to direct resources to more strategic and valuable aspects of education delivery, such as the student experience, should not be underestimated. Of course, cloud also enables the 24/7 student experience, and all the associated analytics should give rise to more informed decisions about how best to improve service delivery. Added to this is the ability of the vendor (who knows the application better than anyone else) to optimise that application for the institution so they can get the very best out of the application that touches so many aspects of delivery.
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Why not take a look at the next blog in our cloud series What's stopping UK education leaders moving to the cloud?
 Global Data 2016
 Staffordshire University Cloud Transformation Project’, Core Azure, 2017
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