Unlock the Key to Building a Nimble Education Ecosystem with Cloud Hosting

Michael Rocco May 16, 2018

School district leaders need to be able to adapt to what is coming next without always knowing what that is.

It was the early 2000’s, and I was a relatively new technology director in a school district outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Coming into education technology from the private sector, I quickly realized that I was now playing a different game. For the first time in my career, patching solutions together to make them work while being underfunded and understaffed was my reality.

Believe it or not- this is what it looked like to launch applications in NetWare!

We were in the process of moving from Novell NetWare to a Microsoft Active Directory environment. Before this transition, we heavily relied on NetWare-delivered applications to distribute and manage the software solutions critical to our students, teachers, and administrators. It provided us with a balance of control, security, and an efficient way to keep offering new solutions to our end users. We planned out how we could transition to a Windows AD environment and maintain the same standards.

Shortly after the transition, the software packages that the district considered purchasing began to change their delivery methods. We started to see more and more “web-based” options, which required us to maintain web, reporting, and application servers that balanced availability, reliability, and security. We quickly adapted our internal networks to support hosting these new solutions, including upgrading our firewall and DMZ. This became expensive in terms of hardware and, maybe more so, with respect to staffing responsibility to support the front end and back end of these solutions.

The lesson I learned was that regardless of how much planning we did, there were factors we were unable to control. Being agile became a top priority. We needed to be able to adapt to what was next without always knowing what that was.

What are CIO/CTO Priorities?
In talking with current K-12 CIOs/CTOs, 18 years later, certain aspects of this dilemma are still present. In fact, according to the CoSN 2017 IT Leadership Survey, cybersecurity, broadband and network capacity, and mobile learning are major priorities.

Image Source: CoSN 2017 IT Leadership Survey

To address these priorities, forward-thinking technology departments have begun the move to a nimble, cloud-based ecosystem. Cloud hosting offers the scalability, availability, accessibility, performance, agility, and data security every school district can manage and afford. According to the CoSN 2017 Infrastructure Survey, “94 percent use some type of cloud-based software system” with the main reason being to “avoid “time-intensive installation and maintenance of software.”

Image Source: CoSN’s 2017 Annual Infrastructure Survey Report

District stakeholders demand that their schools are on the cutting edge of technology, but fail to realize that for a district IT staff, this is a double-edged sword. PowerSchool software and hosting solutions are assisting agile and strategic IT leaders in meeting this demand by partnering with them and delivering best-in-class cloud-based solutions into their ecosystem. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and more now than ever we need to adapt to the rate of change that technology demands on every level. A cloud-based ecosystem is a big step in that direction for school districts of every size.

Read more in the K-12 Student Information System Buying Guide about how a cloud hosting can help your school district cut back on maintenance time and costs, while increasing security and reliability.

Author: Michael Rocco, Vice President, Solution Engineering
Mike has worked in and for public education for 16 years. His experience as a school district technology director allowed for a seamless transition into education software solutions. Mike has held many leadership roles in support and implementation in the educational software industry. He is passionate about education and providing solutions to educators that allow them to make informed decisions using accurate and timely data.

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