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February 20, 2013

Cloud Computing Finds Rising Acceptance in College

By Shankar Pandiath, TMCnet Contributor

The advantages of cloud computing is dawning on the administrators of more colleges and universities. It is expected that in the next four years, investments in cloud storage and cloud computing will be up to a third of the IT budget of many institutions worldwide.

The possibilities of storage and conferencing are themselves drawing these campuses to the cloud.

Last week, CDW (News - Alert) Government released a study suggesting the top application was storage facility in higher education. About 31 percent of campuses are now using cloud to store their data. According to the study, messaging and conferencing facility was the second most used application, and about 29 percent of students on campuses used it.

The computing power advantage came in at third place, the application being used by about 25 percent of students and faculty.

This is generally consistent with cloud practices across other sectors, where storage, conferencing and collaboration were all in the top 2, according to the report, entitled "2013 State of the Cloud Report: Silver Linings & Surprises."

Other top services and applications in education, healthcare, business and government included messaging, business process applications and compute power.

According to the research, the decision to move services to cloud in campuses was driven by IT directors. About 61 percent of respondents said the move onto cloud computing was a choice by their IT director. Fifty-nine percent of respondents indicated that their CIOs and CTOs were decision-makers in the move toward cloud adoption.

About 41 percent of the decisions to move a school to the cloud were taken by non-IT C level executives.

The overall figures add up to more than 100 percent, as the respondents were instructed to select every type of data that applied to their case.

According to the report, next year’s IT budget would rise significantly. The forecast is that the cloud will consume about 20 percent of the next year’s IT budgeting for higher education, and within the next four years, colleges and universities will allocate about 33 percent of their total IT budget on cloud storage and other cloud computation services.

The survey of respondents pursuing higher education corroborated the facts reported by the CDW Government report. Respondents expect computing facility in school IT budgets to be about 14 percent by next year, and agreed that in next four years, it could very well jump to 20 percent.

These universities and colleges are realizing the remarkable value of the cloud, especially for digital communities as complex as in schools that accommodate 20 to 40 thousand students. The organizations that have implemented cloud services across numerous sectors have admitted they are now saving about 13 percent in costs, and expect to save another 17 percent very soon, as per the respondents. Savings are expected to increase to 25 percent in the next four years.

Edited by Braden Becker

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