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Our Strategy

UCF IT will follow a cloud first methodology for all new IT services and solutions.

Existing services and applications will be evaluated for migration to cloud services when any of the following factors apply:

  • Aging hardware
  • Unsupported application version
  • Major upgrade or migration
  • Maintenance renewal
  • Increasing cost or complexity

While we will prioritize cloud solutions over traditional infrastructure, “cloud first” does not mean “cloud always”. Current requirements or constraints will dictate when the cloud makes sense. Our goal is to align with strategic objectives but not introduce unnecessary risk. When needed, we will utilize our off-site private cloud resources for those services where public cloud doesn’t make sense or add value. We will limit on-campus infrastructure to only what’s absolutely necessary based on very specific use cases.

UCF IT will follow a SaaS first methodology and strive to run as high up in the “cloud stack” as possible.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will be the cloud model of choice whenever possible. We will seek to streamline all custom-designed solutions using our trusted cloud provider Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings where available and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) when needed.

This strategy will enable us to make the most efficient use of UCF IT resources by reducing complex solutions, shifting more risk to our vendors, and taking advantage of their expertise and specialization. As a result, we can offer a better solution to our customers.

Why We are Saas First

Most SaaS solutions are sold through a subscription model where the total cost of ownership is shared among many customers allowing for economies of scale. While subscriptions may appear expensive at first glance, it’s worth considering what’s included. Besides access to the software itself, on-going maintenance, timely updates, and most importantly, customer support are added benefits which can be very expensive internal IT costs.  Finally, there are no large, upfront investments required for hardware and software installation.

The process to fully implement traditional on-premises software typically involves planning, design, review, testing, installation, and configuration that will span several months, if not longer. Because SaaS solutions are already installed and accessible over an internet connection, many of these steps can be reduced or even eliminated.

Most SaaS solutions are delivered through flexible cloud environments that scale as your needs change. And as you scale with a SaaS vendor, there’s no need to invest in server capacity and software licenses. Simply adjusting your subscription gives you the benefit of predictable costs both for the software and to some extent, the administration. This allows for more accurate budgeting, especially when compared to the costs of internal IT to manage upgrades and address issues for an owned instance.

With conventional software, updates and patches require enormous amounts of time and money. Even worse, version discrepancies between members of your workforce can lead to compatibility issues and wasted time. SaaS providers manage software updates and upgrades for you, ensuring that you’ll always have the latest version.

With SaaS, the complexity of securing and maintaining the underlying IT infrastructure is all handled by the vendor. This usually includes automatic data backups and built-in redundancies to ensure high availability. A SaaS provider may also be a good fit for data with complex regulatory requirements too costly to secure on your own.

SaaS vendors will typically commit to a “service level agreement” which guarantees availability and uptime of 99% or more. Missing these expectations will result in financial consequences for the vendor in the form of fees or customer credits.

Because the software is accessible via familiar web browsers, SaaS applications tend to have lower learning curves and higher adoption rates. This can be especially significant given the high cost of on-premises software development and implementation compared to the low cost of entry for SaaS.

Because SaaS solutions are web-based, your application can be accessed easily from any location with internet capabilities. Many solutions also offer mobile versions of their applications for even more flexibility.

How we will follow our strategy
We want to identify reasons for not using the cloud rather than why we should. We will work with our customers to find the right solution using the knowledge gained from previous UCF IT projects and peer institution experience from around the country with similar cloud first strategies.