Top Considerations for Institutions Moving to SaaS

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These days, moving to the cloud, and specifically to a SaaS solution for your administrative systems makes more sense than ever. The concept of allowing your business users to only think about their work at hand to deliver exceptional services to constituents is no longer a goal but a priority. This is also critical to the IT services department trying to release high-demand services to constituents. Especially since IT departments have moved beyond the traditional “keeping the lights on” role to a more strategic partnership role with its stakeholders and are continually challenged to stay ahead of their stakeholders’ needs.

Many have turned to SaaS solutions to accomplish these things. Working with SaaS vendors with the expectation that the vendor will ensure the lights are always on, and new features and functions are delivered expediently have become the primary reason for the growing demand for SaaS systems. Getting to this panacea can be a daunting experience. Most institutions have spent years building and bolting together systems that addressed the needs of institutions over time. Many are faced with a challenging question:

How do we decouple years of thinking and move to a baseline, non-customizable system?

The answer lies in the institution’s willingness to plan, adapt, and think through many things. Sometimes the exercise can be challenging as giving up old practices and habits is never easy. But the good news is many have already taken the leap by moving their ERP, email, and payment systems, etc. to SaaS based solutions. At Cloudworks, we have helped many of our customers with the transition to Cloud solutions. We recommend the following key considerations when making the decision to move to SaaS:

  • Moving to SaaS gives you the opportunity to rethink how you have implemented past business processes, looking at it through a fresh lens and with the student and institutional goals in mind.
  • Educate your teams on the current SaaS solutions and what features are available that you can leverage to close the gap in unused or unavailable technology features in your current systems.
  • Think about how your business processes can be performed more quickly and efficiently through the inherent leading practices built into your SaaS solution.
  • Your information technology team will need to look at managing systems in a new way. Develop a strong relationship with your vendor who will now become a key player in your overall IT strategy.
  • Understand the new, high-impact technology services that are available to provide to constituents and understand how they can be leveraged across your technology landscape.
  • Think carefully about the result, how can reporting, social, data and other key services be improved to provide an output that aligns with your overall vision.
  • Look carefully at the security solution and leverage leading practices that are typically costly to implement outside of the SaaS solution.
  • Develop a plan that looks holistically at your system landscape and design to a comprehensive solution.
  • Leverage the Higher Education community at large using the same SaaS solutions to achieve economies of scale.
  • And, of course, implement strong governance and decision-making bodies for your SaaS implementation to support key decisions and change management issues that arise.

Moving to SaaS solutions makes more sense than ever in today’s economic climate as demands for new services increase, managing finances is critical, security concerns elevate, and technology becomes the anchor to business continuity. Getting there is possible through a methodical, pragmatic approach. Leveraging experts with strong industry expertise coupled with SaaS implementation and product knowledge is key to helping you make the move.

Contact today to get started!

Register for our upcoming webinar, “Discovering Your Institution’s Path to the Cloud” here.

Geoff Creaghan
Over the past 30 years, Geoff’s career has been immersed in leading and learning from his clients. Former Oracle Higher Education practice leader at a Big 4, North American Consulting firm and Practice Leader at Ellucian, Geoff has been focused on enterprise transformations in the higher education space for over 20 years.
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