U.K. colleges adopting shared services, cloud technology

February 9, 2012

The unstable global economy has forced organizations in several industries to reduce costs and improve efficiency, including many continuing eduction institutions, which are adopting shared services and cloud technology to accomplish their budget goals.

According to a recent survey by Symmetry, a provider of financial management systems and services, finance directors at continuing education colleges in the United Kindom are increasingly leveraging shared services and cloud computing to limit IT costs and boost efficiency.

"Embracing shared services can help to bridge budget deficits by introducing greater efficiency in a short space of time," said Julian Sayer, Symmetry's sales and operations director. "With no large capital investment, cloud-based accounting technology can soon deliver cost-savings through greater functionality, integration and automation, but more excitingly it enables colleges to take advantage of a range of services such as data entry, debt management or monthly reporting."

Fifty-one percent of more than 270 surveyed finance directors said cutting costs and increasing efficiency are their top goals for the next 12 months. Furthermore, the study revealed an expanding interest in technologies that can provide cost-cutting benefits, as 13 percent of finance directors are actively researching shared services and 11 percent are considering cloud-based services.

The survey also found that some U.K. colleges are struggling to combat staff shortages. Many cloud services help organizations complete equal workloads with less staff, as the cloud can enable IT departments to outsource traditional data center tasks and subsequently focus on using technology to boost employee productivity, experts say.

According to a recent survey by the Campus Computing Project, colleges in the United States are making a slow but increasingly rapid migration to the cloud. The report said 27.8 percent of institutions have transitioned or are in the midst of moving their learning management system to a cloud environment.

-McAfee Cloud Security