Shedding Some Light on the Cloud: Liz Dietz Interviews Ron Yanosky, PhD – Part 2 of 2

This year at Alliance CedarCrestone is sponsoring a session on the timely topic of Cloud computing, and we are very fortunate to have as our distinguished speaker, Ron Yanosky, PhD, who will share his insights on the current state of the cloud and his predictions regarding what's next. Dr. Yanosky, managing associate at Richard N. Katz and Associates and former Gartner analyst, will also moderate a discussion with a panel of respected campus IT leaders. 

Eager for a sneak preview of what Ron has to say, I conducted an interview with him. In Part 1 of this blog series, Ron discussed the highlights of his presentation at Alliance, the top trends in cloud computing, the reasons for higher education’s move to the cloud, issues to be considered, and the main barriers in moving to the cloud.  In Part 2 of 2, I share additional highlights from our conversation.

Liz: I was particularly intrigued by this question to the panel: “Have you considered standing up a private cloud or joining a Higher Education cloud?” I’d love to hear more about that.

Ron: Setting up a cloud involves technical issues that most people probably aren’t familiar with. But as I mentioned earlier, I see a lot of opportunities in the cloud for new levels of cooperation and collaboration between institutions and for the creation of higher education-friendly cloud resources.  For our panel discussion, I see the presentation settling on a decent working definition of what the cloud is, where we seem to be standing in terms of adoption, what the key issues are in making the decision, and then just launching into a discussion.

Liz: What kinds of components or services do you think Higher Education would be interested in in a Higher Education cloud environment? Storage? Platform? Software?

Ron: I think all of the above. Imagine you’re a computer science professor and you want your students to solve the same problem but in three different computing environments. You can set those environments up through infrastructure or platform as a service for short-term use – maybe just for the two or three weeks in the semester that you need that resource and then let it go. So you don’t have to have servers standing around that are configured just for that limited purpose.

You’ve got researchers turning to cloud solutions. Data storage is becoming an attractive cloud service for researchers; for example, the San Diego Supercomputing Center has announced a research data storage cloud service.

It’s pretty generally accepted right now that Infrastructure as a Service is the most mature from an IT standpoint and that Software as a Service is the coming thing. But I think you can see Software as a Service as something that Higher Education will be interested in down the line. Some of the hosted environments people are using today aren’t strictly speaking cloud-based, but there is a model there for sharing those resources that eventually I would expect to see Software as a Service begin to offer. 

Liz:  It’s almost like a DIY - do-it-yourself - world these days. I think back to my 10 years at UCLA in administrative computing and the skill set that was required then; it is very different from the skill set required today. 

Ron: That’s an important thing to bring out, which is that skill sets are going to change. A key skill in the cloud environment will be influencing an institution to make good use of these resources because you’re no longer the default go-to person for technology services. People have more and more options, and they can move faster and with less money up front. Those are all things that could bring us a lot of innovation and new efficiencies and could create a really interesting environment. But somebody is going to need to develop the appropriate policies, provide training, and make the staffing decisions that allow us to use them wisely and well.

Liz: Are there any key skill sets that you see the CIO’s of the future needing that they really haven’t had to develop in the past?

Ron: Richard Katz edited a book a few years ago, The Tower and The Cloud, which was a collection of essays from many contributors. I wrote one [From User to Choosers: The Cloud and the Changing Shape of Enterprise Authority]. The piece in there by Phil Goldstein about CIO skills in the cloud era [The Tower, the Cloud and the IT Leader and Workforce] is, I think, really good and prescient. You could see the CIO in the cloud era being more of a broker and a facilitator of people using technology and less as a provider. You can see integration skills becoming even more important than they are today as well as managing that kind of integration. You could see a big role for architecting data.  The overall notion is we’re going to have to need to orchestrate resources more, rather than stand them up and provide them. No one expects institutions not to be providing resources directly, but those would increasingly be ones that are more differentiating, more special, and more quirky to the given institution.

Liz: I am sitting in my office looking at that book as we speak. It’s a great reference and a very good book. Thank you. You’ve shared a lot of good information with us.  

You can hear more about these topics from Ron and our panel of guest speakers in person at Alliance 2012.

 

Ascent to the Cloud: Early Visionaries and New Adopters Share their Views
Tuesday  •  March 20th  •  3:45 – 4:45 p.m.  •  Session #31759

In last year's Alliance presentation, we demystified the cloud. This year, our distinguished speaker, Ron Yanosky, PhD, will share his insights on the current state of the cloud and his predictions regarding what's next. Dr. Yanosky, managing associate at Richard N. Katz and Associates and former Gartner analyst, will also moderate a panel discussion. Dr. Yanosky will be joined by Liz Dietz, Vice President of Higher Education at CedarCrestone, and a distinguished panel of campus IT leaders including Cindy Bixler, Chief Information Officer at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Jerry Waldron, Chief Information Officer at Salisbury University; Jack George, Associate Vice-President for Enterprise Application Services at University of Miami; and others. Panelists will share about drivers for moving their ERP and other enterprise services to the cloud: the decision process, expectations, realities, and their visions for the future.

To assist you with your business case and vendor selection, participants will receive a flash drive containing CedarCrestone's 5-part white paper series on "Outsourcing Your ERP" that guides you to answer such questions as: Should you host your ERP applications? What is the economic justification for hosting? What criteria are important in selecting a hosting partner? And more.

About Ron Yanosky
Dr. Ronald Yanosky is a managing associate at Richard N. Katz and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in Higher Education institutional effectiveness and IT strategy. In his former capacity as deputy director and senior fellow at the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, he oversaw ECAR's research activities and authored major studies on topics including identity management, business continuity, IT governance, and data management. Before joining ECAR in 2005, Yanosky was a principal analyst at Gartner Inc., focusing on Higher Education information technology. During the 1990s, he was an assistant professor of history at Harvard University, where he taught American history.

About Liz Dietz

HEUG Hall of Fame Inductee Liz Dietz has over 26 years’ experience in delivering innovative software solutions to the Higher Education market. As Vice President, Higher Education, at CedarCrestone Liz focuses on higher education strategy, and emerging and strategic partnerships. Liz was one of the founding partners of Campus Solutions, the small boutique software company that developed the Campus Solutions product, which was acquired by PeopleSoft in 1997. She went on to become Vice President and General Manager of the Learning Solutions Product Division for PeopleSoft. She subsequently served as CEO for Xap Corporation.

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