Data Preparation for Cloud Implementation

Jeff Beecham

In Brief

4-Minute Read

Know where to look for unknown integrations and who to talk to about shadow systems at your university when preparing your institution's data for the cloud.

32% of university leaders were concerned with the multiple data sources used on their campuses.

In a recent Huron survey, more than 37 percent of higher education leaders said their institutions didn’t have a complete inventory of all their integrations. Thirty-two percent of the group indicated they were concerned with the multiple data sources being used on their campuses. When implementing the Cloud, you need to make sure all your data is ready for the move. You can start taking an inventory of all your systems and integrations before you’ve even selected a vendor.

Be prepared to answer questions regarding what has to happen with the Cloud once it’s integrated with your on-premises systems. I’ve seen universities come across surprises while helping conduct full data preparation. Make sure you’re prepared by considering these four steps as you kick off the process:

1. Conduct a Complete Inventory of all Systems at Your University

Make sure not to leave anything out when conducting your inventory. Begin with the central IT unit and branch out to the IT systems at the college and/or department level. Be certain to include systems that aren’t yet transitioning to the Cloud. From there, identify:

  • Any impact the systems will have on cloud deployment
  • The timeline for when the systems will transition to the Cloud
  • Your end goal, so you can create a roadmap of your existing and future systems

From there, categorize the systems into one of the two following categories:

  • Third Party: Integration for third-party systems may take longer and be more complicated due to requirements and/or limitations from your provider. Notify your provider as soon as possible that you're making a move to the Cloud. In some instances, the provider may already have a prepackaged solution, or partnership agreement, with your selected cloud vendor, which could reduce your remediation time drastically.
  • Legacy or Shadow Systems: Take stock as to which systems may be "consumed" by existing functionality in the Cloud. In some cases, the system may be retired because it's no longer needed. 

While sorting through the systems, prioritize the remediation of each and identify any opportunities for consolidation. For example, do you really need five systems to track student recruiting activity, or would it be preferable to consolidate to one system by adopting a common business practice across all colleges?

2. Take an Inventory of the Technology Capabilities for Each of Your Systems

Upgrades to your current systems may provide opportunities to leverage new technology or functionality. Take time to identify what, if any, impact an upgrade will have on your cloud deployment. Each of these steps should be included in your cloud implementation roadmap.

3. Conduct a Complete Inventory of All Integrations at Your University

There may be integrations you’re unaware of, and having knowledge of those can make other integrations at your university more efficient. The identification of third-party and/or legacy systems, as previously noted, will go a long way toward ensuring you have a complete inventory of these integrations.

 Data Integration                      

4. Assign Ownership to Each System and Integration

Ownership assignment includes two layers. First, assign both a functional and technical owner to each system and integration. These individuals will serve as the point people to address any questions related to their areas of coverage that surface during the deployment. Second, identify who will be responsible for remediation of the systems and integrations. Is the deployment team going to cover the redesign and development effort associated with the remediation, or will this effort reside with the college/department that created or requisitioned the original system and/or integration? This is an important question to answer, as there could be a significant impact on the bandwidth of whoever is responsible, depending on the complexity and volume of your systems and integrations.

These are just the first of the many steps your university will need to take to successfully prepare for a transition to the Cloud.

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