Cloud Platform CxO Discussion

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I participated in the CxO roundtable webinar focused on Cloud Platforms.   The executive group was sharing their experiences around the selection, implementation, and maintenance of various cloud platforms for their enterprises.  While nearly all the group had assets already deployed in the cloud, everyone is still learning and watching the evolution of these platforms closely.   I had extensive experience in this area as a strategy advisor with Microsoft during the pre and post launch of Microsoft Azure.   Working with companies of all sizes to understand key implications and internal development required to move into these paradigms.   While I felt the challenges were still common and basic in nature,  there was a clear consensus that cloud was solidly in everyone’s strategy.
Challenges range from:
  • Keeping up with the vendor roadmaps
  • Developing internal talent and recruitment
  • Cultural shift to supporting cloud at the enterprise level
  • Moving teams from legacy methods to agile and dev ops based approaches
  • New funding models for business units to support cloud
  • Understanding how dynamic cloud pricing can jump as you scale rapidly ( especially with data storage)
  • Architectural best practices
  • Moving from piloting to large scale, mission critical application
In general,  these are all foundational challenges most organization have been facing for some time.  This raises the issue that the value proposition of bringing cloud computing into the enterprise is still primarily focused on cost reduction and in many cases it doesn’t always reduce near-term cost.  What isn’t being talked about is the use of cloud for more strategic applications of the business.  I have worked on numerous projects where cloud platforms have been the critical enabler for large scale M&A integration,  Internation Strategic Alliances, and tactical joint ventures between organizations.  As businesses move past the “how to” stage of cloud it allows the business leaders to start to leverage cloud platforms in strategic initiatives.

Online Education Platforms

9e2e0990-b941-4ff6-90d8-d3ba2542f487I participated in the CxO roundtable webinar focused on Online Education Platforms.   The conversation was a great sharing of experiences of various universities experiences evaluating and using these platforms to support their online education programs.   I have had multiple exposures to designing programs for online platforms from working at the university to the consulting I have done with universities building programs around innovation centers and regional cluster development.    There is an overwhelming need to build global education communities that can extend the reach of their offerings to students and workforces internationally.   Online programs are both in demand and liked by students/workers that want the flexibility and non-geographic limitations of access to training.
The platforms primarily being discussed on this call ranged from:
  • BlackBoard – Ultra
  • Canvas
  • Moodle
  • D2L Bright Space
Challenges range from:
  • Evaluation
  • Funding
  • Training internal staff
  • Culture shift of faculty
  • Metrics and measurement – definition of success
  • Looking ahead to where today’s trends are heading
The institution on the call are in the early adoption and learning phases being only a few years into their pilots.  Current challenges are similar and tactical in nature.  The conversation will pivot past the “how to” stage and into considering that the full potential and reach of these platforms will vastly exceed the brick and mortar aspects of the institutions that they implement in.
Some key aspects they will need to address in the coming years will be:
  • How institutional funding for new programs will be shifting to online
  • Designing hybrid programs that blend with experiential learning
  • Incorporating cutting edge industry practitioners to assure that online programs remain relevant and updated
  • Running dependable 24/7 IT at global scale ( with what partners)
  • Building retaining the online community past just the courseware
  • Building new strategic partnerships across the globe to create world class / aggregated curriculum
  • Redefining what degree means when your education is coming from many institutions
  • Building students along side workforce
  • Making lifelong learning central to the programs.   Not just the basics, but constant indusry relevancy
  • etc.
These strategic aspects are also at the center of conversations are the development of innovation centers that integrate with many universities and industry partners.   The shift is moving in the direction where the gap between university and industry training is closing and education needs to be integrated directly into the innovation ecosystem of industry and workforce development.