Nov 08 2021

What Efficiencies Can Tech Consolidation Bring to Higher Ed?

Consolidating technology into one platform offers benefits for IT administrators, students and staff.

For IT professionals invested in digital transformation, the goal is to create a seamless student experience with programs and applications that communicate with each other. The need for productivity tool parity has only been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced colleges and universities to implement tools to securely and efficiently bring teaching online.

Now that online and HyFlex learning are here to stay, these institutions should think about how technology consolidation can enhance the user experience on the front and back ends. Rather than implementing and maintaining unrelated third-party programs, a package like Google Workspace for Education, which bundles 19 apps into one platform, can enhance the teaching and learning environment in a higher education setting.

Google Workspace for Education is an all-in-one solution that provides security, cloud communication, storage, reporting, collaboration software and more. The collaborative platform helps disparate systems communicate better and allows the largest universities to integrate other systems within the Google landscape.

When CDW acquired Amplified IT, we acquired the No. 1 service provider in onboarding, training and development. This means we have the know-how to work with higher education institutions to tailor a consolidated technology program to fit the needs of their students and staff.

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Collaboration and Efficiency Improve the Student Experience

The student experience is of utmost importance in higher education IT, so much so that EDUCAUSE focused its top IT issues for 2022 around a pillar defining student success as institutional success. Part of improving the student experience includes giving them autonomy over their technology choices. Many college students come from K–12 environments where Google is the norm, so providing them with the tools they already know how to use is one less obstacle to overcome in this new learning environment.

Because colleges are largely BYOD settings, it can be difficult for IT administrators to unify their technology under a single platform. Employing a consolidated suite of apps can be a starting point for universities in centralizing the location of these productivity tools. Google Workspace works across operating systems, so no matter the device, from Chromebooks to MacBooks, the tools will function seamlessly. Students can collaborate on documents, easily set up virtual meetings with their instructors and classmates, and keep track of assignments and appointments using one suite of apps.

MORE ON EDTECH: Avoid these 5 higher education UX mistakes.

Technology Consolidation Streamlines Education Security

Google Workspace for Education has several features for school administrators to enhance cybersecurity measures across campus. A centralized console gives administrators control of their entire systems, allowing users to define and update security policies, monitor security threats and employ asset discovery to ensure all active and inactive IT assets on the network are accounted for.

Rather than adding a third-party app to your email platform, Gmail’s spam and security features help eliminate unwanted emails and potential cybersecurity threats. A security sandbox allows administrators to safely test emails and attachments for malware without harming the system.

Built-in protection safeguards your data, and proactive tools like security health monitoring and best practice recommendations can help you avoid data breaches before they occur. Plus, viewing and exporting the data and insights provided in the administrator console and Google Vault can give you an overall picture of your institution’s data health and empower you to address security risks.

FIND OUT: How higher ed can protect itself from zero-day attacks.

Customization Simplifies Google Workspace Onboarding Process

Through a partnership between Amplified IT and Internet2 NET+, higher education institutions can reap the benefits of Google Workspace for Education with white-glove onboarding services that will help tailor solutions to fit each institution’s needs. From video content to one-to-one training sessions, the NET+ onboarding plan can help IT teams maximize their Google Workspace setup.

Through the Amplified IT/NET+ partnership, campuses can select their preferred Google Workspace edition and custom storage options at a discount, and institutions already using the free version of Google Workspace can easily upgrade to access premium features. By selecting the Google Workspace for Education platform via Amplified IT’s products and services, higher education institutions can better support their students, staff and faculty through a cohesive, consolidated technology platform.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

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