The pandemic forced schools and universities across the globe to digitize teaching, learning, services and operations. This process, while painful and challenging, created a period of “forced innovation” that had a silver lining.  Institutions found that some activities were done just as well or better remotely.  For example, some students preferred learning in a remote environment because they were better able to focus without the distraction of classmates. Teachers and faculty modified their classes to make them more active through “flipped learning”, assigning new content for homework and using class time to engage in active problem solving and engagement. Services like tutoring, counseling and parent teacher conferences were conducted remotely over platforms like Webex, eliminating the need to travel and making them easier to schedule. As a result of these and many other innovations, global education institutions have kept and even expanded remote and hybrid models because they provide more flexibility for everyone and deliver improved outcomes for students.

This shift to digital means that institutions now rely even more heavily on the availability of the network, as well as applications, data and resources that reside both in the cloud and on premises. The question for IT leaders is simple. How do we extend the agility of the cloud to our on-premises infrastructure? The cloud operating model is the answer.

The cloud operating model extracts key principles that power agility in the cloud and applies them to your on-premises infrastructure. The result is improved agility end-to-end. It also promotes greater operational consistency because it extends across the entire IT team, allowing them to speak a common language and use similar processes.

The key attributes of the cloud operating model aligns to several key principles defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

  • Cloud Management: More intuitive interface, automation to streamline manual tasks making it easier to execute and eliminating some manual errors.
  • Anywhere access: Related to cloud management. Can access the management and tools from anywhere. No longer need to be on location. Can modify in a central location. Saves time and money
  • Visibility: Can’t manage what you can’t see. Visibility makes it easier to troubleshoot because you can see the entire network and the relationship of the devices.
  • API extensibility: The tool for extending network capabilities. Can now incorporate new learning technologies or specialized technologies and applications.

The Cloud Operating Model helps IT build and manage an infrastructure that allows them to quickly diagnose and resolve network issues so teaching, learning and services can continue uninterrupted. As schools and universities continue to bring on new applications and tools to improve student engagement and success, they need to be able to integrate these quickly and easily, and the Cloud Operating Model allows them to do just that. It also changes HOW IT teams work, shifting from 80% troubleshooting and 20% innovation to 80% innovation and 20% troubleshooting. In a time when educators and staff are leaving education because of the stress and burnout, the Cloud Operating Model helps institutions recruit and retain IT staff by making IT roles more attractive.

To learn more about driving a cloud operating model in education watch the webinar.



Brad Saffer

Global Education Lead

Cisco Industry Solutions