Aug 21 2019

How to Get Higher Education IT Teams Ready for the Cloud

As data centers undergo a digital transformation, technology leaders will need to close their teams’ knowledge gaps.

Cloud-based services offer universities higher computing efficiency at a lower cost, spurring 60 percent of higher education institutions to begin integrating cloud computing into their general IT strategies, according to a survey conducted by MeriTalk.

A growing demand for cloud services on higher education campuses has put pressure on IT teams to learn new skills around building, maintaining and securing these solutions.

“Even if a school is not aggressively moving to the cloud, the security, networking and operations folks need to have cloud in their skill set to be of service to the university,” Bob Flynn, Indiana University’s manager of cloud technology support, told EdTech. “When a faculty or researcher uses a university login to create a project in the cloud, it’s official university business, and we are responsible.”


Tips to Build Higher Ed IT Talent

If you’re focused on training your staff, you’re not alone: 90 percent of IT leaders are working to give current staff new skills — and cloud is the priority, according to a 2018 survey on tech hiring trends in the U.S. from Robert Half International. Here are six ways to give your team a boost.

  • Increase exposure: Set up a rotation system to give more employees a chance to participate in cloud-related tasks.
  • Create connections: Provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities with brown bag lunches, guest speakers and communication with other college IT teams. For large university systems, bring IT staff from various campuses together periodically.
  • Develop resources: How-to guides, FAQs, processes, policies and other documents can live in a shared online repository for easy reference.
  • Invest in training: Conferences, online training, certification programs and other avenues give staff a foundation and ongoing learning opportunities. 
  • Identify a leader: Task someone to be accountable for advancing the team’s cloud expertise. 
  • Provide motivation: Help staff see why cloud skills are critical for their own career advancement.

For more on how to get IT teams ready for cloud integration, check out “To Optimize Cloud Deployments, Close the Skills Gap.”

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