Is Your University Preparing to Move to the Cloud? Follow These 5 Key Best Practices

It may already be a foregone conclusion that your institution will be moving to the cloud eventually. Given what’s at stake with today’s increasingly competitive market and rising student expectations, thoughtfully preparing for the move will be critical to your cloud strategy’s success. But where to begin?

Having helped many higher education institutions tackle this very undertaking, we’ve assembled five best practices to help you develop a solid action plan:


1.  Identify Key Stakeholders
It may seem intuitive to begin by assessing your IT systems; however, many Huron clients have found it best to first understand the needs of the ultimate end users: students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The selection of the right cloud solution— and its subsequent success — will hinge on the expectations of its diverse group of stakeholders. Recruit a network of key influencers among these groups at your university to serve not only as key contributors to the project, but as advocates for solution as well.

2.  Develop a Way to Communicate and Build Trust

Communicating and getting buy-in for change can be tricky. When you’re ready to share your cloud implementation plans with a broader university audience, enlist the help of your key influencers. Invite these stakeholders to speak at town hall meetings to explain what’s being done, how it’s going to work, and how it will benefit everyone on campus.

 3.  Develop a Decision-Making Process 

The benefit of a consensus-driven culture is that once decisions are made, everyone has bought in. The downside is that it can be hard to commit to a path with many, at times conflicting voices. To get the full benefit of a cloud implementation, decisions need to be made quickly. Creating a governance structure and methodology for making decisions on process redesign, features, and change management will help clarify and expedite this process.

4.  Conduct a Readiness Assessment

Find out how ready you are to move to the cloud, and what you need to do to make it happen, by conducting a readiness assessment. Consult with an experienced, third-party partner to help uncover potential roadblocks that you may not otherwise have anticipated. Leveraging the lessons learned and best practices from peer institution implementations could save you significant time, budget, and frustration.

 5.  Project the Financial Impacts

Plotting out the estimated total cost of ownership incurred by switching to the cloud will both demonstrate ROI and limit those unexpected, hidden costs. Again, draw upon the experience of your colleagues and trusted partners who are able to share valuable insights on the true costs of a cloud solution.


Interested in Learning More?

If you’re attending HEUG Alliance 2017, please attend our workshop:

Date and Time:  Monday February 27, 2017 from 10:00am-2:00pm
Session #3987: Planning for Oracle Cloud


  • Ted Simpson, Senior Director, Huron
  • Susan Garland, Director, Huron


During this session, you’ll have access to tools that can help you prepare the transition, including:

  • Readiness Tool: Complete a series of questions about your institution to find out how ready you are to move to the cloud, and identify what you need to do to make it happen.
  • Financial Tool: Enter your institution’s financial information into Huron’s 10-year financial model and plot out your total cost of ownership when you switch to the cloud.

Can’t attend the workshop?  Attend our session:

Date and Time:  Wednesday March 1, 2017 from 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Session #4416: Oracle Cloud for Higher Education: Practical Implementation Strategies


  • Ted Simpson, Senior Director, Huron
  • Ida Quamina, Senior Director, Huron
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