Page 26 - Campus Technology, November/December 2017
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here,” Warner said. “It was pulling resources farther away from our mission.”
Backup operations were resource-intensive, agreed Mat- thew Holmes, director of network and data center opera- tions, and were mission-critical because of litigation holds and e-discovery requirements. “There was a lot of risk and stress on people to manage and maintain that. With Office 365, not having to manage all that back-end infrastructure is a huge relief.”
The college identified $947,000 in cost savings from the migration to Office 365 over a four-year period. It applied some of those savings to beefing up its own network. “We did quite a bit of work to improve infrastructure on campus — the access layer, the distribution layer and the core of our network,” Holmes said.
With new knowledge about cloud services and momen- tum from the successful Office 365 move, JCCC moved its website to AWS. “We get the win of disaster recovery and redundancy and we are getting our feet wet in some other features and functionality that AWS is able to provide,” said Del Lovitt, director of enterprise system support.
And with the move to Ellucian Hosted Services, JCCC is also transitioning to BannerXE. Its “extensible architecture” provides greater agility so that upgrading an application or feature no longer requires taking the entire Banner system down or causing institution-wide disruptions.
Preparing to negotiate with cloud vendors required the IT department to do lots of research to improve its expertise internally. “That allowed us to have great conversations with the vendors,” Lovitt said. “We asked a lot of questions. We wanted to be part of the whole process.” Of the 93 vendor- delivered administrative systems used by the college, 54 are now located in a hosted or cloud environment, which has meant developing new skills and support processes. “Work- ing with things like Microsoft Azure or Office 365 presents new challenges and requires a new mindset,” Holmes said. “Employees are excited about doing something new.”
JCCC’s IT transformation is far from done: Next up is iden- tity and access management. Another focus is the ability to integrate with third-party vendors. “A lot of our system-of- record data sits elsewhere now, so the way we manage that set of integrations with other systems is evolving,” Warner said. Another project on the horizon is an improved disaster recovery plan. “Previously, the staff was just trying to main- tain the environment,” she said. “That never allowed us time to work ahead and be proactive. That is the next part of our strategy that emerged out of these original ones.”
Looking back, Warner can recall the “bad old days” when JCCC could never seem to get to the forefront of technology. “We could never stay current,” she said. The college would be implementing Exchange 2010 in 2012. “For an application that everyone on campus uses, it was a beacon of malaise,”
she said with a laugh. “We went from that to a situation where the campus has the latest and greatest and is expecting a mobile-first experience. That was a big turning point.”
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
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CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | November/December 2017

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