Mar 31 2015

Colleges Branch Out with Powerful SaaS Apps

Institutions put a variety of cloud-based apps into the hands of students and staff.

Today’s students must develop job-ready skills that they can put to immediate use in the workplace, which is why the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism deployed the Adobe Creative Cloud.

James Vasquez, associate dean of IT and facilities operations, says the Annenberg School partnered with Adobe about two years ago to offer students, faculty and staff a common platform. Delivered as Software as a Service, Creative Cloud gives students the opportunity to learn Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop and Premiere. By the time they graduate, students can become certified in at least one of Adobe’s popular applications.

“Students pull the applications directly from the cloud and the software lives on the device,” Vasquez says. “While moving to Adobe Creative Cloud saves us thousands of dollars in managing and maintaining computer labs, the real benefit is that it makes us more mobile and flexible. Students can work on the tools from anywhere.”

Robert Mahowald, program vice president for SaaS and cloud services at IDC, says the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism experience with a cloud service such as Adobe Creative Cloud aligns with much of IDC’s recent research.

“We found that 65 percent of organizations say they use some aspect of the cloud today,” Mahowald says. “And this corresponds to both IT departments and line-of-business organizations.”


The percentage of IT managers who say that overall cost reduction continues to be the primary reason their organizations adopted SaaS

SOURCE: Gartner, “Survey Analysis: Buyers Reveal Cloud Application Adoption Plans Through 2017,” November 2014

Box App Usage Grew Organically at Emory

In Atlanta, Emory University’s use of the Box SaaS application grew organically in the administration when users sought a convenient way to collaborate and store files.

Jamie Smith, director for business practice improvement, says his group took Box usage to the next level a little more than a year ago. Emory developed a payments workflow process in which vendor invoices are submitted in Box and automatically routed to approvers to OK the invoice and route it to the financial office. Any queries are captured in the comments field and each person in the process can easily route the invoice back and forth, if necessary.

“What’s wonderful is that no one responsible for the payment or the department has to wonder where the payment is in the process,” Smith says. “The information is just a search away in Box.”

Thanks to the SaaS deployment, the university reduced turnaround times from 26 days to five days and considerably reduced paper costs. Smith estimates that the added efficiency and maintenance reduction saves Emory $100,000 annually.

Emory plans to develop more of these businesses processes for other applications in administrative departments, Smith adds.


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