“We were really aggressive. Our first thousand computers were finished within the first four months,” Morales says. “Those were the computers where we had the most control, like public environments and labs.” For student users, the migration went more smoothly than he had imagined.
“Student adoption happened very fast,” he says. “Microsoft was very clever in providing a no-cost upgrade, so we saw students moving into Windows 10 very quickly. Students were coming to us with requests about Office 365 and linking OneDrive, so we could see that they wanted to embrace the cloud-based technologies of Windows 10.”
Updating division and departmental computers was tougher. The team launched a communications campaign that started with divisions, then smaller groups and eventually individuals.
“We used Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager and did a software and hardware analysis to plan for every area,” says Morales. “Talking to the different departments helped us budget for software procurement and computer systems that needed to be updated or replaced.”
The biggest challenge, he adds, was user education. “People are scared of embracing new technology, even if it enhances the ability to get the most out of their computers,” says Morales. “For example, OneDrive for Business gives you the ability to access your files across a plethora of devices. But we still need to bring users in and point out the benefits and how they can leverage the flexibility.”
IT Staff Training Supports University of Arizona’s Move to Cloud
IT leaders at the University of Arizona tested the waters of moving applications to the cloud as early as 2013.
“We knew that working with the cloud in various forms could be transformative to us and users,” says CTO Derek Masseth. “It started with minor experimentation and ultimately evolved into a commitment to migrate all of our enterprise systems into cloud-based applications delivered as a service.”
But early on, he met resistance, particularly from IT practitioners.
“We heard people say that the cloud was just a passing fad, it was less secure or it couldn’t perform like our current infrastructure,” says Masseth.
His solution: a robust, inclusive training program to build confidence and familiarity with the cloud for IT staff. Communication also focused on how learning cloud-based technology could further staffers’ careers.
“We didn’t talk to them about what the institution needed, but why they should invest in themselves,” says Masseth. “And we made a commitment to invest in our own people with cloud-focused training over the course of several years.”