The 2017 HEUG Cloud Symposium

By Criss Laidlaw posted 02-08-2017 07:51 AM


The 2017 HEUG Cloud Symposium

On February 3rd, a group of fifty-five people representing various higher education institutions, Oracle, or its cloud application implementation partners attended the first HEUG Cloud Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona.

The primary goal of the HEUG Cloud Symposium was to help those responsible for the successful implementation of Oracle’s cloud applications maximize their chances of success by providing a forum to learn from each other, from Oracle and partners about the applications and the implementation process.

The day began with a video address by Oracle Vice Chairman of the Board Jeff Henley, during which he emphasized Oracle’s strong commitment to supporting higher education and reiterated its goal of delivering applications with built-in upgrades, better business intelligence capabilities, and lower cost of ownership.

Next up was a brief presentation on Oracle’s “cloud story” by Austin Laird, who shared stories of how institutions such as Concordia University, Shawnee State University, Valdosta State University and Vanderbilt University are realizing value from the Oracle cloud applications.

Austin then led a panel discussion which featured Jen Chavez and Adrian Hassell, who are charged with implementing Oracle's cloud applications at their respective institutions, the University of Wyoming and the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.  Oracle’s Susan Beidler, John Gilligan, Patrick Mungovan and Randy Friend formed the rest of the panel and spoke to their specific areas of expertise in the cloud application space.

Jen and Adrian answered questions from other panelists and the audience about their goals, approaches and experiences planning for and implementing Oracle's cloud products, including ERP (Financials), Human Resource (HCM), and Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS).  It was clear that implementing a new, core administrative application on a modern campus is a major undertaking and that requirements for success include executive sponsorship throughout the project; clearly-defined goals for the institution; a willingness to adopt the best practices built into the software, and a thoughtful approach to managing the changes that such a project inevitably requires.

A Student Cloud update followed from Oracle's Senior Director of Product Strategy Susan Beidler and Master Principal Sales Consultant Susan Hoagland. The update included a live, interactive demonstration of the latest Student Cloud build.  The product has come a long way in the past year and it's clear that a great deal of thought and effort has gone into its development.  

Jo Ellen Dinucci and Diana Nydegger of Boise State University (BSU) gave a comprehensive presentation about the lessons learned so far during their cloud implementation, which began in April of 2015 and culminated in going live with ERP and Taleo Recruiting in July, 2016.  As with Wyoming and Birmingham, BSU’s implementation was a major undertaking involving a complex campus organization, a chart of accounts redesign, and a mandate to phase out modifications and customizations.  BSU was the first higher education institution to move to cloud applications and for that reason they decided on Oracle as their implementation partner.  While candidly admitting that there were challenges during the project, BSU was able to resolve them and go live. They reported the software meets institutional needs and that Oracle is proving to be a responsive partner .

After the Boise State session, Brandon Sosa of consulting firm Deloitte facilitated an open discussion among all attendees.  Issues raised and suggestions made included the following:

  • Making a compelling business case for going to the cloud
  • How to pay for a cloud migration?
  • Raise awareness of role changes on campus for IT and functional people
  • Help with the training and planning processes
  • HEUG-sponsored cloud transition workshops
  • A HEUG workshop on getting rid of customizations
  • Getting a handle on and rationalizing integrations
  • Organizing HEUG conference content by goal, rather than by product
  • Restructuring the HEUG advisory groups to support HEUG members as they transition

Global higher education market analyst Nicole Engelbert of the Ovum consulting firm ended the day with her presentation, titled ‘The Great Cloud Migration: A Practical Path that Delivers True Institutional Value’.  Nicole provided a survey of the cloud application marketplace and introduced a methodology to determine an organization’s readiness for migrating to a cloud application.

Early feedback suggests most attendees found the Symposium to have been well worth their time.  The HEUG Board will use the information and ideas shared to help shape strategy for education and advocacy on behalf of its members.

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