8 steps to ensure your cloud project goes boom, not bust

The explosion in cloud computing is helping education providers get more bang for their buck, but how can you make sure your cloud project will sail, not sink?

Moving to the cloud can be painless (and liberating) for educators – when done the right way. But there have been well-publicised failures even at large providers that have cost millions. To avoid projects stalling, failing or not having the desired impact, providers should have a clear idea of what the journey will look like, and some of the challenges they’ll need to watch out for along the way.

 

1. Start with your strategy

Your cloud implementation should have a clear strategy. This should include your overall vision for cloud use over time, and the rationale for the individual project. Are you switching to a cloud-first approach and why? What parts of the busines will go first (or next) and how are they prioritised? What is the expected business (not just technology) outcome and what do you hope to achieve for students and employees? Your strategy will act as an important guide and touchstone for your project.

 

2. Form your project team

The size of your project team will depend on the size of your organisation and how many departments (or silos!) you need to navigate. What won’t change is your need for a pair (or many pairs) of trusted hands who are engaged in the project from the outset, have the necessary technical expertise, are able to drive projects forward across different stakeholder groups, and have the authority to work collaboratively with your technology provider partner to solve problems fast if they arise.

 

3. Choose a real partner

Choose a tech partner – not a tech vendor. Any cloud system implementation works best when you have a fully engaged technology ally on your side that knows the importance of discovering your unique needs and championing those throughout the project. Look for a partner that has the tech specs you’ve identified as priorities, as well as a strategic, accessible team, best practice software development methodologies, a clear future roadmap, and a desire to partner for the long-term.

 

4. Feel safe with security

Many providers contemplating a cloud system implementation raise security as a concern with data moving from the perceived safety of their own servers. Providers should ensure they understand the level of security being offered (for example, ReadyTech is independently certified to the global ISO 27001 Information Security Management Standard) and understand that technology providers are often able to invest in and maintain much higher levels of cybersecurity than individual businesses.

 

5. Prepare to be planning

Before moving any data to a cloud system you’ll need to be ready to make the leap. Preparation includes mapping your existing infrastructure and software ecosystem to identify the project scope, consolidation opportunities, dependencies and risks, understanding the data you hold (and the quality of that data), identifying integrations or development required, creating a project timeline (with agreed milestones), and building strong relationships between your own team and your tech partner.

 

6. Master your migration

Migration to the cloud can be extremely smooth when the planning, people and project processes are outlined ahead of time – but the unexpected can and still does happen. In fact, Deloitte research found 90% of organisations faced some sort of internal or external challenge when moving over to the cloud. Mastering migration by facing any surprise problems head-on with creative problem solving skills and team commitment will ensure that your project can easily round any surprise bends in the road.

 

7. Testing and training

Your cloud implementation will be rigorously tested before you switch it on. This will ensure you minimise any data and operational risks and gain confidence in the system before you expose it to the world. You will also need to ensure your team is trained to hit the ground running. Deloitte’s survey also found the biggest challenge faced in cloud projects was educating staff (and this has been the case with IT rollouts for some time). Robust training will help ensure you are ready on day one.

 

8. Arrive with GO LIVE?

GO LIVE is the moment every provider is waiting for (and with the data flowing and teams using the system successfully in the wild, it’s one you should celebrate). But this is not the end of the journey. You now need to focus on the ongoing value you are getting out of your cloud implementation, by ensuring you are using the system’s full capabilities, leaning on your tech partner for necessary support or training, and getting the full benefit of new product innovations as they are released.

Is JobTrainer an inkling of things to come?

JobTrainer’s focus on linking funding to the delivery of smaller packets of skills the economy will need could be a sign of things to come.


The JobTrainer package was welcomed by employers, apprentices and the vocational education and training (VET) industry when it was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in mid-July 2020.

Representing a total of $2.5 billion in support, it promised to help businesses retain apprentices and provide school leavers and the new unemployed with low-cost training and reskilling for the future.

It was a strong dose of optimism for VET in what is a time of challenge.

An interesting aspect of JobTrainer is what it suggests for the future. With underlying thinking based on funding ‘skill sets’ in areas of economic need, is this an indicator of how future money will flow?

 

What is JobTrainer?

The JobTrainer package comes in two parts. The first is an extension of a previously announced Supporting Apprentices and Trainees program. An extra $1.5 billion is to be funnelled into wage subsidies for existing apprentices to keep them on the books and learning their trade. Worth half the wage paid by an employer up to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter, it is expected to reach the pockets of 180,000 current apprentices working in 90,000 businesses across Australia.

The second part is of direct benefit to VET providers. A total of $1 billion (if an expected $500 million co-contribution is agreed to by the states and territories) will be used to fund 340,000 free or low-cost course places beginning from September 2020 in areas of future expected job growth.

 

Skills thinking

JobTrainer’s characteristics reflect a growing shift towards supporting training in the form of discreet ‘skill sets’, while at the same time directing funding to areas of potential jobs growth in the future. 

Skill sets

JobTrainer will fund shorter courses and ‘skill sets’ in addition to qualifications. Skills sets have had a growing presence in VET Training Packages over the last decade (there were 1500 skill sets as of 2019). Acting as discreet, self-contained pieces of training, learners are using them for upskilling, compliance and licensing, meeting a defined industry needs or as pathways to further training.

Funding support for ‘bite-sized’ courses or skill sets indicates the perceived value of shorter forms of learning in the upskilling or reskilling of workforces as change and disruption occurs. With events like the Covid-19 pandemic causing change on a large scale, there is likely to be an upswell in interest in shorter forms of learning like micro-credentials as the workforce seeks to turn skills into money.

Skills needs

Health care, social assistance, transport, warehousing, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade have been identified as having jobs growth potential– and are therefore the types of niches likely to attract JobTrainer funds. The National Skills Commission will help identify current and future skills needs, with states and territories to have input into a target list of qualifications and skill sets.

This suggests an appetite for prioritising and funding training in areas of economic shortage or perceived future need, based on the industry data available. With this program – along with the industry-based Skills Organisations now being piloted in human services, digital technology and mining sectors – data and employer skills needs are being moved further into VET’s driving seat.

Skills providers

Public, not-for-profit and private providers of education and training will all be eligible to apply for funding to deliver free or low-cost courses under JobTrainer. Through this agnostic approach to the delivery mechanism, the government is indicating that it will prioritise the end goal of workforce skilling, rather than the channel through which these skills flow through to the end learner.

 

Future skills

Maria Spies, the co-founder of education intelligence firm Holon IQ, recently said in an interview with ReadyTech  that Covid-19 could bring about change in a number of areas across the education sector. Just one of those was how future workforce education could be funded.

With the government’s initial response in higher education being to inject money into the delivery of short online courses in areas of national priority, Maria suggested this represented a willingness to direct funding towards new types of courses beyond full qualifications, as well as new providers.

Providers in the VET sector are already engaged with the industry skills needs of the future. Our recent Voice of VET survey found 75% of RTOs are deeply engaged with their industry niches, to ensure the qualifications they deliver were fit for the jobs marketplace beyond course completion.

They also have technology at their disposal. ReadyTech’s Student Management Systems JR Plus, for example, is innovating to support deeper industry engagement and shorter-form learning through the likes of digital credentials for education and training providers.

This will likely increase, with more thinking around how this breaks down into shorter training forms. After all, it may be that JobTrainer is just an inkling of how training may be utilised into the future.

 


ReadyTech Student Management System JR Plus can support training providers with skills sets and shorter courses through digital credentials.

 

JobReady in employment services partnership with NESA

As part of ReadyTech JobReady has become an official Industry Partner of the National Employment Services Association (NESA), the peak body for employment services.


As part of ReadyTech JobReady has become an official Industry Partner of the National Employment Services Association (NESA), where it will support the employment services industry in its ongoing efforts to support job seekers into work right across Australia.

JobReady is home to JR Live, a leading provider management system in employment services. ReadyTech’s offering also includes Esher House, which provides world-leading behavioural science-backed assessment, analytics and intervention technology.

JobReady’s commitment to supporting the industry’s ongoing evolution and success will extend to education, with NESA set to use JobReady student management system JR Plus to enhance member professional development as part of the partnership.

For more information, click here.

Government grants JobReady full ‘Accredited’ status in employment services

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has granted full Third-Party Employment System (TPES) accreditation to JobReady’s employment services system, JR Live, which is ready to support employment services create an advanced digital-first approach to finding people work.

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