Cloud Economics Pays Off for Little Rock’s Philander Smith

December 19, 2018   |  
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With the swell in the number of higher education institutions, the cuts in government funding, and the changing demographics of the new student, colleges and universities are facing unprecedented challenges. To continue to thrive, institutions must support new learning models, as well as meet the expectations of students who expect the same high quality of service from their institutions that they are accustomed to receiving from their other providers.

Today’s Software Requires Updated IT Infrastructure

Providing the performance availability and security needed to support today’s higher education solutions requires the latest software systems. However, many campuses are running legacy systems that are not up to the task. Their IT infrastructures may require complete overhauls, with servers, switches, routers, operating systems, virtualization technology, and firewalls all needing updating.

Advanced software systems require powerful servers with great resilience, expansive storage capacity with low latency, high bandwidth networks, and intelligent automated security. Modernizing an outdated IT infrastructure takes a sizable CapEx budget at the same time that other IT expenditures might be competing for budget.

The Many Costs of Updating IT Infrastructures

Determining the costs for updating an IT infrastructure can be a bit complicated as you need to account for direct, indirect, and hidden costs.  Direct costs are linked to any of the hardware and software required for an on-premises solution. For instance, the price of servers can run anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 depending upon their configuration, power requirements, and where they're sited. Indirect costs are those not tied directly to hardware and software, such as the salaries paid to the supporting IT staff.  Hidden costs are those that are difficult to budget for, such as the lost productivity from server and software downtime.

The Sky-High Benefits of Investing in the Cloud

Instead of making the significant investment of overhauling their IT infrastructure, many institutions instead are transitioning to a cloud computing model. Moving to the cloud provides many benefits; it offers a future-proof solution, eliminates the need for software maintenance and version control, improves security, increases access, and offers 24/7/365 service and support. The reduction in support duties also frees up IT staff for other student-serving projects.

Philander Smith College Moves to the Cloud in Just 2 Weeks

When it came time for longtime Jenzabar customer Philander Smith College to upgrading its IT infrastructure, they determined it would be more cost-effective to transition to the cloud than to update the institution’s outdated hardware and software. So they made the decision to migrate their Jenzabar One software suite from an on-premise system to Jenzabar Cloud Services. In addition to providing improved reliability, security, and accountability at a lower cost, the move would allow students and administrators access to the system from any device at any time.   

The Little Rock, Arkansas, liberal arts institution made its decision at the end of the summer, giving it little time to complete the transition to the cloud before the start of the fall semester.  With help from the Jenzabar support team, Philander Smith successfully completed the migration in just two weeks.  

“Working closely with Jenzabar’s highly experienced team, we were able to migrate quickly to the cloud, allowing us to be up and ready for the first day of fall classes,” said Brian Clay, Chief Information Officer at Philander Smith College.  “Jenzabar’ s Cloud Services enables us to have more accountability, improved security, enhanced reliability, mobile access, faster decision making, and instant access to latest software versions, while lowering our network infrastructure and data center costs. Furthermore, our IT staff is now freed up for other projects that support our students and administration.”

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