An Oracle blog about Education and Research

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When and how to adopt new technology (part 3)

You made it! Welcome to the third and final blog in this series - to help you decide how and when to embrace new technologies. If you missed the earlier blogs or need a refresher, you might like to read part 1 and part 2. Plotting a path To begin the process of plotting a strategic path to adopting innovation, consider these questions: What is the priority focus area for your institution, to keep-up or get-ahead? What should your business processes look like in the future? – Not now! What can be delivered with your existing ecosystem? What technologies would take you to the next level? – Not the latest shiny object. When and how will you provision these technologies?     Selecting the right solutions is not easy; there are many options from many different providers. However please, please, rethink your procurement process - it’s ineffective having a procurement process that lasts two years, or is so focused on functions that you lose sight of the importance of flexibility, user experience and process efficiency. Focus on cloud solutions - pretty much all of the modern solutions are native cloud solutions. They offer the user experience, agility and future-proofing that is required. New technology or new application? Choose the right strategy for your needs, in each case. Where you need to holistically extend your existing IT ecosystem with innovative capabilities – be sure to select agnostic, platform-as-a-service solutions. However, where you need a new core application (Finance, HR, Student, etc.) select one with innovative technologies already built-in and fully embraced. The constant and deep disruption within the industry today and in the future, requires new type of applications, to be able to cope and succeed. But what are the features of these applications? Cloud – provides agility and stability from an infrastructure perspective. Structural flexibility – allows easier configuration for new business models. Consumer experience – intuitive usability with a modern interface and artificial intelligence. Predictive and automated – tasks and issues can be managed for you.  Oracle’s Cloud applications are designed with all of these features built-in from the start, and institutions expect them. Recent Cloud applications customers - Baylor University and University of Edinburgh – expect these to help them gain competitive advantage and modernize their operations, respectively. Your final check-list Institutions are all different. Deciding when and how to adopt innovative and applications and technologies, depends on your institution’s strategic priorities, culture, resources and existing technology ecosystem. Define your strategy first; then identify a solution. Never be tempted to start with a solution. Move at a pace that suits your institution, but don’t get left behind. Cultivate a different type of relationship with your solution provider(s). You need a partnership. What’s next for you? I assume you are already adopting some of these innovative applications and technologies, or at least starting to think about it. If not, maybe this blog series has given you food for thought. I hope so. If you have business needs that can be better delivered by using these technologies, then go for it. Don’t hold back in looking at opportunities to create tomorrow’s campus, today. By the way, Oracle OpenWorld is coming-up very soon and there will be new technology aplenty on display. Plus thousands of peers from all sorts of industries who are no doubt considering similar questions to your institution. We also have lots of education and research industry sessions to explore and demos of the broadest range of innovative applications and technology. Come and join us!  If, after these three blogs, you are still in need of inspiration, then take a lot at all these additional examples, from all kinds of industries, and including education and research of course. With that, here ends this particular trilogy of blogs. However with technology always evolving at a faster pace, the discussion around adopting new technology will never end.

You made it! Welcome to the third and final blog in this series - to help you decide how and when to embrace new technologies. If you missed the earlier blogs or need a refresher, you might like...

Education and Research

Beyond the Technology: Benefits of the Higher Education User Group

Oracle has a longstanding commitment to higher education and promoting the successful use of SaaS products in this space. One of the entities we have supported over the years is the Higher Education User Group (HEUG), the worldwide community enabling the sharing of knowledge and practices to maximize institution investment in Higher Education Information Systems. HEUG President Jason Wenrick shares his views below on the benefits of this organization and his vision for this truly valuable community. Having now been on the Board for four years and now as President of the HEUG, I am proud that our organization has strengthened our partnership with Oracle and believe that as higher education moves more into the cloud and SaaS products, “partners” needs to be the critical word we have when working with our vendors in order to ensure long term success. I believe that we will continue to collaborate and represent the entire global higher education position as it relates to technology, which will be even more imperative as more and more of our membership move various Cloud products. Online Discussion Forums As a global organization with representatives from over 37 countries, our discussions (online / via email / in digest) have thousands of members on them at any given time, ready to answer questions as they occur. One of the greatest attributes of working in Higher Education is that we are collegial by nature, and if we can help a fellow institution save time or money with a quick answer we will. We have experts for a large variety of technologies and at every stage of the adoption curve, so there is always someone not just willing but enthusiastic to share their knowledge and provide support.  Last year we had over 16,000 posts.  The HEUG file libraries have thousands of files available for download at any time (every webinar, all the past conference presentations, and files shared by members) and we had over 120,000 files downloaded this past year alone.   HEUG Events Our annual Alliance Conferenceis the largest gathering of higher education institutions and users of Oracle products in the world. With 3500+ attendees, over 400 sessions, across 26 unique tracks.  While Alliance is our biggest event, we have an additional 12 regional events around the world. Over 3,000 attendees come to our regional conferences in the US (six of them throughout the country), EMEA(Europe, Middle East, Africa), Canada, Latin America, Southern African, Australia/New Zealandand Asia Pacific.  Our conferences are often the first interaction our members have as they begin their path with the HEUG, meeting people, networking and helping solve problems for their institution. All of this combines to ensure that every member, regardless of their title or level at their organization, has an opportunity to learn and connect with peers. Online Education The HEUG’s year-round online educational programs for our members are built to facilitate training and learning all year round. In the past year we have had over 150 webinars across all areas of interest. From 4-week deep dives, to small panel discussions, to short product and module specific presentations, the HEUG strives to deliver new and interesting content regularly and presented by fellow members who are doing and using the same products.  We thank Jason for sharing what he sees are the core benefits of being a member of the HEUG. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Oracle has a longstanding commitment to higher education and promoting the successful use of SaaS products in this space. One of the entities we have supported over the years is the Higher Education...

Education and Research

Connecting the Cloud – The Rise of Academic Cloud Exchanges

In my blog series, I’m going to deep-dive into the public higher education and academic research sector in order to better understand how Oracle can maximize its impact across the whole diameter of this strategic customer ecosystem. Let’s Get Started In the last four decades, the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) have been developed from being a specialized Internet Service Provider (ISP) dedicated to serve the public research and education communities within a country to a regional conglomerate of e-Infrastructure Providers not only offering connectivity services but also covering national identity federations (Single-Sign-On infrastructures), computer security incident response teams (CSIRT), and lately public cloud service brokering functions, coordinated across the globe. Providing access to more and cheaper Internet bandwidth as well as to dedicated transport network capacities has always been the requirement of higher education institutions and academic research laboratories for connecting their collaborative research applications world-wide. With the advent of public cloud services, sufficient connectivity to major cloud providers is ever so more important for the entire public sector. Fast Connectivity So, the obvious question from public sector institutions is then where they can safely and securely meet relevant cloud providers such as Oracle? They are looking for an easy-to-reach location at the minimum expense, preferably via their trusted connectivity provider partner i.e. the NREN of the country.  Oracle is present at the major Internet Exchange Points (IXP) across the globe and the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) can be reached via the public Internet as well as via dedicated Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions on top. Moreover, Oracle FastConnect service provides both public and private peering options via multiple 1 or 10 Gbps dedicated private connections between the customers’ location and OCI data centers without using VPN of Network Address Translation (NAT). To extend the reach of OCI, Oracle works with an extensive network of commercial FastConnect Network Provider or Exchange Partners such as Verizon, Equinix and many others. Cloud Exchange services are being offered by the major IXPs and commercial data centers around the world, and NRENs – due to their unique positions in the public sector – have also started to advertise themselves as de-facto cloud exchange points for their academic research and education institutions. Technically speaking, these emerging academic cloud exchanges are either Layer 2 Ethernet Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) based switching fabrics or Layer 3 IP Boarder Gateway Protocol (BGP) peering routers often implemented in a distributed architecture inside the NRENs’ network. The advantage for Oracle being logically present at these Academic Cloud Exchanges is basically the fact that all higher education and academic research customers (in some countries other public bodies such as government agencies, libraries, schools, hospitals) can connect us by default at their lowest possible expense, leveraging their existing trusted NREN provider. Academic Cloud Exchanges As one of the pioneers, Internet2 – the national research and education network in the US – announced the general availability of their Internet2 Cloud Connect Service in March 2019. The exchange allows the Internet2 community to leverage its regional and national infrastructure to directly access leading cloud services including Oracle. Internet2 customers can use their connection points on the Internet2 packet network to establish packet connectivity at either Layer 2 or Layer 3 to cloud providers. Similarly in Europe, the European association of research and education networks called GÉANT also offers a distributed cloud exchange service for academia referred as the GÉANT Cloud VRF. This is implemented as a dedicated Layer 3 Virtual Rerouting and Forwarding (VRF) overlay on top of the GÉANT backbone network. GÉANT makes sure that traffic in the Cloud VRF can only be exchanged between customers and their selected cloud providers via transparent BGP tagging and filtering mechanism.   AARNet in Australia has been taken the leading role in the Asia Pacific region. AARNet Connect enables service providers to connect to the AARNet network in order to provide hosted and cloud-based services to AARNet’s customers. Like traditional peering, it allows traffic between service providers and AARNet customers to be unmetered and congestion free – bypassing commercial Internet peering exchanges. Where To Go All these examples above call for a coordinated action at the global scale enabling Oracle to strategically engage these NRENs and their conglomerates in the various geographies. Cloud connectivity is just the very first but important step in this journey, I’m going to explore further technical and business enablers in my next coming blog posts. Strategic partnership with the key players of the global research and education ecosystem must go above and beyond. Oracle is sponsoring the largest and most prestigious European research and education networking conference TNC’19, held on 16-20 June 2019, in Tallinn, Estonia. Come visit and learn more about Oracle solutions!  To learn more about how Oracle is enabling research at scale, visit us here.

In my blog series, I’m going to deep-dive into the public higher education and academic research sector in order to better understand how Oracle can maximize its impact across the whole diameter of...

Still building your IT research platform?

Oracle has supported the research industry for over 30 years and provides innovative cloud solutions to help advance research. After reading the blog below, take a look at Oracle in research institutions. Jeff Covert observes where Oracle collaborates and competes with other cloud providers. Based on his observations of Oracle and other leading cloud solution providers, Jeff has written this blog to provide his perspective on the 'build versus buy' cloud approach for research. Please add your comments and feedback, I know Jeff would welcome your thoughts. The Promise Cloud computing promised information as a utility.   Data with the ease of a light switch.  The electricity’s path, the circuit breakers and bulb is immaterial.  You need light.   You pay for what you use.   IT is another utility that just needs to work.  Your research sits on top of the platform.  Creating the platform is a waste of precious resources. How much time and budget was spent on wiring a cloud together that was supposed to be a utility?  Did your facility and admin (F&A) expense ratio hurt your chances to win a grant?  Wining research grants and funds is hard work.  F&A costs impact grant opportunities.  The process and evaluation issues with these expenses was engaged in “Knee-capping excellence”  an article by Ronald Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University.   Dr. Daniels published his observations in Issues in Science and Technology magazine.   Reducing F&A expenses is the path to more grants and more effective grant use. Two Approaches Let’s look at how to limit your non-research IT expenses.  There are two common types of cloud platforms and three cost saving approaches. The two kinds of cloud platforms are: Build-it-yourself or a commercial cloud service.  To build an IT platform you need to set and manage partitions, buffers, queues, and data event handling.  Quick start code, an orchestration tool, and open source code require modifications.  Typically the build-it-yourself labor, security, integration, and ongoing platform maintenance expenses are not charged to the project.  The alternative is a low code, configurable commercial cloud service.  The commercial service is faster, complete, tested, and maintained by a vendor.   The build-it-yourself tool kit is cheap to start and good for small projects.  Some projects start small and consume large budgets over time.  Only the bravest projects track all the labor spent on do-it-yourself IT work.  Frequently, this labor is buried as indirect costs.  These expenses are visible in the Institution’s cost profile making new proposals unaffordable. Choices How can the build-your-own cloud be managed?  The following cost savings approaches are tied to vendors.  One approach is to preempt certain workloads during peak usage hours.  The supply and demand approach will serve those that can operate their workloads during off-peak times of day and shorter duration.  This approach requires that compute tasks can be stopped and restarted in lower cost time of day.  Another approach is a loyalty rebate.   As you consume monthly resources a cash-back award is earned for large time blocks of usage.  The third approach is to have a cloud service that has AI/ML efficiencies built into the service.  This is “all-in” pay as you go model does not use restarts or cash back.  Sara Jeanes wrote an article in Internet 2 magazine about this topic.  Sara included usage and price data for AWS and Google.  A useful performance comparison between AWS and Oracle is here. An array of industry benchmarks showed the performance of the pre-engineered approach over build-it-yourself. Research requires IT capabilities.  Efficiency gives your institution an advantage in competing for funds.  Utilizing a pre-built cloud platform saves costs and enables more research. Thanks Jeff, great insight! If this resonates with you, please join us at Oracle OpenWorld, 16-19 September. I am really looking forward to talking to a great panel in the ‘Advancing Research with Oracle Cloud’ session. This and other research sessions can be found in the education and research sessions list.  

Oracle has supported the research industry for over 30 years and provides innovative cloud solutions to help advance research. After reading the blog below, take a look at Oracle in research...

When and how to adopt new technology (part 2)

For those that missed part 1, fear not, you can catch it here! Okay, so assuming you have now caught-up, let’s crack-on with part 2. The focus of part 2 is on some of the innovative/emerging/transformational technologies available today, and how they can help education and research institutions. Internet of Things (IoT) IoT is certainly well established but the on-going potential and impact is still astounding. This year we will reach 50B smart connected devices, producing 8 zettabytes of data! Facilities management is a very frequent immediate focus and rightly-so. It can be very beneficial in terms of utility savings, as well as increased comfort and security. Buildings and facilities that are monitored, automated and integrated using sensors and computer systems are becoming increasingly commonplace. But don’t only focus on facilities management. Consider using it to improve the student experience with — person specific, location based — services, modelled on profiles and past behaviours. Guiding first year students to lectures using beacons and their smart phones. Sending alerts as they pass the bookstore, reminding them to buy their outstanding books today, offering a discount. Encouraging healthy eating by immediately sending a digital coupon for free fruit, when they buy something unhealthy! Conversational Interfaces Conversational interfaces, such as chatbots and digital assistants, are fast replacing the most common interfaces on computers and connected devices, because the user experience is so much better. These computer programmes leverage artificial intelligence to enable natural conversations with people. The most common first step to use chatbots is for frequently asked questions. Applicant — “When is the next university open day?”  Student — “When is the library open on Sunday?” Staff — “When is the sports centre least frequented by students?” But the key differentiator is that they not only provide information but actually suggest and making transactional changes. So they can help students with class choices and then enrol them. They can help students pay fees and find the right type of Advisor. They can also help with a lot of administration by booking — rooms, parking, sports facilities — and resetting passwords. Think about the savings in administration cost for each support call, plus providing a more efficient and better service. The University of Adelaide significantly improved their processes and service levels at a critical time of year for their applicants.     Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Artificial intelligence might still be a scary term for some, but the fact is, AI is driving the very consumer experiences we are all use and really appreciate in our daily lives. Various consumer services would not be able to deliver the same experience and delight without AI and ML. AI and ML use data-patterns to improve student enrolment, student outcomes and student success. Student Enrolments: Improve the selection of students to courses by matching the right students to the right courses. Similar logic helps identify which candidates might be the best fit for a job. Student Outcomes: Suggest specific learning paths for each student. Student Success: Predict which students are at risk and intervene with an appropriate action, at the right time. AI and ML can assist with automating routine tasks such as expense — entry, approval and fraud detection. Also inventory management can be automated – monitoring of stock levels, learning lead times and reordering. Blockchain These decentralised ledgers for keeping track of secure records are an example of technology advancing brand new business models. Trust models between individuals and organisations can be re-designed; with the individual truly owning the data. The most common example generally is for payments and digital smart contracts. The most common use case in education and research is for authenticating learning records with digital competency indicators. I believe MIT was one of the first institutions to deliver digital diplomas via an app based on blockchain, to a pilot graduate cohort. Since then, many other institutions are developing the capability to do the same. For example New Mexico College and China Distance Education.   However I think there is an even bigger case for using it in research — for securing publications and data sets. Similarly there is a place for it to track the provenance and use of materials. Adopting these yet? I wonder how far your institution has gone down the path of using these technologies. I expect you will be further along with some than others, but still probably nowhere near taking full advantage of the technologies available to you today. Don’t worry, that’s a fairly normal pattern and in part 3 — coming in a few weeks — I’ll cover some strategies to help you decide how and when to embrace innovative technologies. Until then, please follow the prompt below; I’d love your feedback, ideas and examples.

For those that missed part 1, fear not, you can catch it here! Okay, so assuming you have now caught-up, let’s crack-on with part 2. The focus of part 2 is on some of...

Education and Research

Support Options for Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0 After 2019

While Premier Support for Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.2 continues through at least 2030, Extended Support for the 9.0 version of the product concludes at the end of this year. On January 1, 2020, Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0 enters Sustaining Support and customers will no longer receive fixes and updates for that version. Because a number of our Campus Solutions customers have plans to migrate to Oracle Student Cloud solutions, including Oracle Student Financial Planning and Oracle Student Management, or have plans to upgrade to Campus Solutions 9.2 but may not complete these activities by the end of 2019, Oracle is offering additional support for Campus Solutions 9.0 that customers can purchase through Oracle Advanced Customer Services. Oracle Advanced Customer Services offers Severity 1 Fixes and Legislative Update for Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0 to help customers in maintaining current capabilities while managing a migration to cloud or the timing of an upgrade, according to their business requirements. In addition to providing time and flexibility needed to make informed decisions about cloud migration or upgrading, customers benefit by maintaining regulatory compliance and minimizing production downtime risks through this offering. Customers who purchase this support offering will receive fixes for Severity 1 issues; updates to the existing integration functionality of Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0 and Oracle Student Financial Planning; and regulatory and legislative updates for US and UK implementations. This services is initially offered from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 with the potential to extend the service for two additional years. For more information, download the data sheet or visit Oracle Advanced Customer Services and click on the Contact us link and select “other expert support." In the coming months, I will be posting insights for our customers on approaching a migration to the cloud-- from "quick wins" achieved by migrating on-premise application workloads to the Oracle Cloud to the human and technical considerations of moving to cloud-based SaaS applications.

While Premier Support for Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.2 continues through at least 2030, Extended Support for the 9.0 version of the product concludes at the end of this year. On January 1,...

When and how to adopt new technology (part 1)

I have presented this topic at a couple of conferences recently and it ends-up becoming more of a discussion with the audience, than a pure presentation. I like that. Gathering the thoughts of others on this theme is very interesting and therapeutic! I am looking forward to presenting…or should I say 'discussing' this again at the up-coming HEUG Asia Alliance conference. Disruption Can you name an industry that hasn’t been or isn’t being disrupted? Everywhere we look, new entrants to industries are becoming household names prominent smart-phone apps and billion dollar companies in unprecedented timescales. In almost all cases, their rapid rise is made possible by embracing new, innovative technologies. Incumbent leaders are too slow or too reticent to adopt these new technologies and therefore fall-behind or worse still fall-away entirely.  I won’t bore you with reciting the story of the black logo modern-day transportation company, or the 'bed and breakfast' company with the world’s largest selection of bedrooms. I'll just reiterate that these companies have completely transformed the way we find, book, share and pay for transportation and accommodation. However I did want to regale the story of another company that could greatly benefit people like me. Carbon - an Oracle customer – is collaborating with Adidas to 3D print the soles of shoes, specific to personalized data-points of customers. This significantly enhances the customer experience, revolutionizes the production cycle and transforms the supply chain process. What did I mean by “people like me”? Well, I have difficulty finding shoes that fit well!  All change No industry is immune from disruption and certainly not the education and research industry. Everyone has their list of disruptive forces headings from: globalization, to new education models, to changing expectations and accelerating technology. Under changing expectations – we all familiar with the huge increase in the expectations of applicants, students and staff today. When I was at university I mostly took what I was given, well okay maybe with a little bit of moaning. Times have changed though and I put this down to three main reasons:  Higher tuition fees, much higher! I was extremely fortunate to be in the last UK cohort paying no tuition fees whatsoever. Yes, I benefited from a four year Bachelor of Science degree, for £0. Expectations of the same seamless processes and consumer experiences of smart devices and modern apps. Many students have grown-up immersed in this world. Everything is else is positively prehistoric. Nowhere to hide! Everyone is almost instantly aware when something is good or bad because of immediate updates on social media. Cycles I could write multiple blogs about the disruptive forces but to save your eyes I’ll switch to cadence and scale of disruption cycles. Like many industries, education and research has been used to nice, gentle waves of disruption; where we can see it coming, have time to prepare and instigate a coping strategy. I witnessed this when I worked at Imperial College London but before I am lynched by former colleagues I do also remember the panic sometimes thrust upon us as well! However, the disruption cycles now and in the foreseeable future are intense, pervasive and unpredictable. So, it’s not effective to always pursue a coping strategy of a recovering model. Often now, education and research communities need to be prepared to develop and implement brand new models to cope with each disruption quickly. If not, the next disruption will be upon you and you wouldn’t have recovered from the last one. Modernization Modern expectations and enabling flexible business models are core principles of Oracle Student Cloud. Listen to Central State University's thoughts on this topic.   There are lots more examples of innovative solutions and customer stories on the Oracle Education and Research website. Ready? So, at this point, I wonder what you are thinking about your institution's readiness? Is your institution immersed in the digital age? Do you have the tools to enable digital transformation? Are you agile enough for the next wave of disruption? To be continued… Hmm, I just checked my word count. It seems to be growing exponentially but I planned to cover: Innovative technologies and example use cases Deciding how and when to embrace new technologies So I’ve just inserted a ‘(part 1)’ into the heading and I’ll carry on in a few weeks’ time. I’m just getting warmed-up, so as I hear a lot in the US…stay tuned!

I have presented this topic at a couple of conferences recently and it ends-up becoming more of a discussion with the audience, than a pure presentation. I like that. Gathering the thoughts of others...

Education and Research

How Blockchain Could Help Prevent College Admissions Scandals

Despite all the recent news coverage of the latest admissions scandal, the bribing, cheating, and falsifying of information to gain admission into educational institutions is not new. While higher educational institutions have implemented policies and procedures for affirmative action, these policies don't do enough to ensure a fair admissions practice. This also does not apply to private primary and secondary educational institutions that don't have open admissions. Compounding the problem with college admissions, prospective students are applying to twice as many schools today as they were just a few years ago. Combine this with the cost of college recruiting and disaster ensues. So how do educational institutions prevent admissions schemes and reduce the cost of college recruiting while ensuring student success? One option some institutions are considering is using blockchain technology to secure and validate student achievement, academic records, and accomplishments. Some colleges and universities have been using blockchain independently since early 2015 to record academic achievements. More colleges are starting to use blockchain for verification of student degrees. For example, Central New Mexico Community College provides every new graduate with their diploma and academic information authenticated and recorded in blockchain. Using blockchain, the college creates tamper-proof records. The blockchain records are replicated on multiple servers throughout participating organizations to preserve information. Anyone authorized to access information on that blockchain (which might include, recruiters, admissions officers, or coaches) could verify whether the student’s academic and athletic achievements are legitimate. Oracle Blockchain Platform can enable school districts, colleges, and universities to prevent admissions scandals by changing the way we manage and share student records. Oracle Blockchain Platform can securely extend the admissions application process while enabling recruiters to increase yield in college admissions and reduce costs. Find out how blockchain can help improve student credentials and admissions process with the Oracle Blockchain Essentials Guide.

Despite all the recent news coverage of the latest admissions scandal, the bribing, cheating, and falsifying of information to gain admission into educational institutions is not new. While higher...

Education and Research

Cloud Computing: A Powerful Research Tool

Today's Featured Blogger: Jenny Tsai-Smith, Oracle Vice President, Cloud Innovation Accelerator  People typically associate Oracle with solutions for business, and rightly so, but we have a long history of working with public sector institutions around the world, including government, education, and research. Our commitment to education in particular is illustrated by the Oracle Academy, Oracle’s flagship program in education philanthropy, which partners with more than 15,000 educational institutions in 128 countries. Through this free program—for educators and students—Oracle Academy supports 6.3 million students annually. A more recent example is the new Oracle Cloud Innovation Accelerator program, which enables educators, researchers, students, and university-affiliated entrepreneurs to use the power of Oracle’s cloud technology to accelerate scientific discoveries, and create solutions that have the potential to make a significant and positive impact in our world. We’re participating in a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and facilitated by Internet2 to create innovative cloud computing capabilities for science applications and scientific computing research. The project, known as Exploring Clouds for Acceleration of Science (E-CAS), invite proposals from researchers across multiple academic disciplines interested in performing cutting-edge scientific and computing studies by leveraging capabilities in cloud computing platforms.  The criteria for evaluation of E-CAS projects are Acceleration of Science, and Innovation. We’re seeing many examples of how the education and research community is doing both with the Oracle Cloud: University of Texas at Arlington and Yale University researchers are using the cloud to speed evaluation of cognitive disorders in children. Students at Stanford University are building creative cloud-based solutions to real-world problems such as lowering disaster response times, supporting human rights, and improving access to medicine. ELEM Biotech, a spinout from Barcelona Supercomputing Center, is developing computational Virtual Humans, where drugs or medical devices can be tested in-silico to run heart and respiratory simulations requiring the fastest supercomputer performance. Cardiff University's Dr Vivien Raymond is using high performance cloud computing to accelerate the massively complex simulations needed to predict and analyze gravitational waves generated from black hole mergers, billions of light years from Earth. Researchers at Bristol University are shifting simulations from shared on-premise supercomputing clusters to the cloud with impressive results. Molecular analysis of nicotine receptors took 4 days versus 3 to 4 months, potentially leading to more effective cures for nicotine addiction. The Intelligent IoT Integration (I3) consortium at University of Southern California is capturing streaming video to identify litter, graffiti, illegal dumping, and vandalism in the streets of Los Angeles. Oracle Cloud technology processes the images, using deep learning to label the data, and makes that data available to other applications. Cloud computing is transforming the research paradigm from batch to on-demand, enabling researchers to work with greater agility and productivity, at lower cost. Cloud computing has revolutionized enterprise computing over the past decade and clearly it has the potential to provide similar impact for campus-based scientific workloads.  For more information on the Oracle Cloud Innovation Accelerator program, click the link or visit https://www.oracle.com/industries/education-and-research/innovation-accelerator/      

Today's Featured Blogger: Jenny Tsai-Smith, Oracle Vice President, Cloud Innovation Accelerator  People typically associate Oracle with solutions for business, and rightly so, but we have a long history...

Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings a lot of promise to transforming higher education, but with many challenges for broad adoption. Researchers at some of the largest social media platforms, eCommerce and technology companies in the world have halted their AI programs as their machine learning algorithms have been found to exacerbate biases. So while replacing human activities with computers may still be years away, AI still provides us with opportunities to augment tasks and services. Oracle makes it easy for higher education to realize value from artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML). Through AI-powered cloud applications, departments can drive better business outcomes through intelligent features such as smart candidate lists in our HCM suite. Oracle’s ready-to-build AI platform also gives data scientists and application developers a range of cloud services to easily build, train, deploy, and manage AI-powered solutions. We have also put machine learning to work in our technology with ready-to-work Oracle Autonomous Database platforms, machine learning is working behind the scenes to automate security patching and backups and optimize database query performance. So colleges and universities can leverage AI to alleviate many of the technology administrative activities as well as to take over mundane tasks. For example, institutions can improve student experience leveraging chatbots to support application, admission, and registration activities. Leveraging AI to improve admissions by matching students to programs can help institutions reduce the cost of student recruiting. Public universities spend on average $536 per student recruiting. Artificial Intelligence also has the potential to deliver a personalized learning path, personalizing the student experience to improve student outcomes with virtual academic advisors and tutors. Identifying patterns of data that predict which students could become at-risk, enabling timely and personalized interventions will lead to improved student success a priority among higher-education institutions is to improve retention and graduation rates for all students. So while Artificial Intelligence is not going to solve all major problems facing higher education, the application of the technology is capable of augmenting services to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings a lot of promise to transforming higher education, but with many challenges for broad adoption. Researchers at some of the largest social media platforms, eCommerce...

Education and Research

EDUCAUSE Annual Conference - Innovate and Differentiate with Enterprise Cloud Services

I have been a member of EDUCAUSE for over a decade both from a member institution as well as through my role as global solutions architect with Sun Microsystems. It was through my role at Sun that I had the broadest exposure to EDUCAUSE collaborating on industry standards for identity management at the time. A lot has changed over the past decade, both in terms of technology and the level of vendor engagement. There once was a time that vendors partnered with EDUCAUSE to support innovation and transformation. It seems now vendors make financial contributions for the right to engage the community. Don't get me wrong, the financial contributions are important, but I would rather see a partnership that leads to innovation. Oracle is making a significant investment in the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference this year and looking forward to expanding our partnership throughout the Educause community. Cloud has become the great equalizer for educational institutions. Every institution is faced with the need to transform: Students, faculty, staff and the external community all have different expectations, but they uniformly expect modern services and capabilities. To meet these demands, institutions are increasingly embracing innovative technologies such as chatbots powered by artificial intelligence, modern student systems, and autonomous cloud services. Join us on Wednesday October 31st to hear from leading institutions how they are prioritizing and embracing these new technologies, and how our latest investments, including Oracle Student Cloud, and autonomous cloud services such as database, integration, security and management, are helping to create a dynamic, modern and personalized experience for the entire community. Tonjia Coverdale, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Central State University Max Davis-Johnson, Associate VP Information Technology, CIO, Boise State University  Nicole Engelbert, Vice President Higher Education Development, Oracle  Frank Leber, VP Information Systems, Moody Bible Institute Meeting Room 503/504 Wednesday, October 31st 10:45 AM - 11:30 AM We are excited to share how customers have applied innovative technologies to improve their institutions. I look forward to seeing you at EDUCAUSE and exploring opportunities to deepen the partnership.    

I have been a member of EDUCAUSE for over a decade both from a member institution as well as through my role as global solutions architect with Sun Microsystems. It was through my role at Sun that I...

Plenty of Opportunities to do your Research

It’s the Autumn/Fall (depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside). That means it’s another busy conference season. It’s action-packed and I am really looking forward to it. I hope some of you reading this are also on the road to explore new technologies, hear inspiring customer stories and make new connections. If you are attending any of the below conferences, please stop-by to say hello. If not, it’s not too late to register! Exchanging technology in Orlando We kick-off with the Internet2 Technology Exchange, in Orlando, October 15-18. This conference brings together chief technologists, scientists, engineers, architects, operators and students in the Research and Education community, to discuss the direction of the industry, and to share best practices. I won’t be attending but my colleagues will be sharing examples of how institutions such as WVSOM are using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Platform to more easily manage their IT estate and save costs, while keeping their data secure.     Innovating and shaping the future in San Francisco Then it’s the big one…Oracle OpenWorld takes place in San Francisco, October 22-25. We have put together a really exciting mixed programme of Education and Research industry sessions and customer stories. Too often at conferences the ‘Research’ part of ‘Education and Research’ doesn’t get enough air time. However the Research industry is a big focus for Oracle and this is reflected in some great sessions from some big-draw research institutions. For example, you may have previously read this article about how the flexible use of massive cloud computing capacity is radically changing the pace of research and innovation at the I3 IoT consortium led by University of Southern California. Come and listen to this being explained in person, as well as many others including: CERN, Stanford University, University of Bristol and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: Accelerating IoT Research and Innovation with Smart Cloud Strategies [CAS6475] Oracle Cloud: Accelerating Science Today and Enabling the Makers of Tomorrow [CAS6639] Research Analytics at Scale: CERN’s Experience with Oracle’s Cloud Solutions [CAS1315] Boosting Complex IoT Analysis with Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud [CAS2016] Implementing Driver-Based Rolling Forecasts at MD Anderson [CAS1324] You will find details of these sessions and selected others in Focus On Education & Research. Personally, I am intrigued to find-out more about the ways technologies such as: Big Data, Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Data Warehouse are radically changing what is possible in data-driven research. Discovering solutions in Denver Then, with barely enough time to turn-around with a replenished suitcase, Oracle will be a Gold Partner at the upcoming EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Denver, Oct 30 – Nov 2. On the eve of the conference, please join us by registering for Oracle's Executive Summit at EDUCAUSE. This is a great opportunity to network with your peers and listen to a panel session with a formidable line-up, moderated by Nicole Engelbert. If you can’t join us at the Executive Summit, there is another opportunity to hear from equally distinguished panellists during the main conference - Innovate and Differentiate with Enterprise Cloud Services. Of course it’s not all about summits and sessions. As long as the exhibit-hall is open, the Oracle booth (#502) will welcome you to discuss and demonstrate: Oracle Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, Student Cloud, Student Financial Planning, Finance, Planning/Budgeting and Human Capital Management. Plus, stop by and meet our newest employee, Pepper, and enjoy some winter fun and games to boot! Supercomputing in Dallas I’ll be rounding-off this conference season as a first-timer at the SC18 conference, in Dallas, November 11-16. Immersed in the world of High Performance Computing (HPC), please visit Oracle at booth #2806 to better-understand how Oracle helps researchers respond and innovate faster with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Platform. Let us show you how Oracle: Delivers performance equal or better to on-premises HPC clusters Provides the elasticity you need to ramp usage up and down, as needs change And…at lower, more predictable costs than our competitors! Still today, I often attend conferences and at least one person will look at my badge and say “Oracle...hmm, what do you guys do apart from a database” or “Oracle, that’s the database company, right?” If you are attending any of these conferences and are thinking along these lines, then come and find the Oracle booth or Oracle sessions. Sure, we can tell you about databases but we can also tell you about the world’s first autonomous/self-driving database and all of the other autonomous cloud services. In addition we can of course share with you information about all of our other cloud solutions that support education and research institutions all around the world. Visit our exhibition booths at these events and learn why Oracle is not just a database company! With that, I won’t take-up any more of your travel/conference booking time, and I hope to see you at one or more of these conferences. Safe travels.

It’s the Autumn/Fall (depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside). That means it’s another busy conference season. It’s action-packed and I am really looking forward to it. I hope some of you...

40 Years of Technology and Research Evolution

Sadly (for us, not him) Jim McDowell is retiring after 40 stellar years in the technology and research industries. He has kindly penned his closing thoughts below. I am sure you will enjoy reading his take on the past, present and future. Thank you and all the best to you Jim; it’s been a pleasure working with you. When I started in the clinical and research worlds in the 1970s, computers were just beginning to be available to average medical centers and researchers outside of the most elite universities. I remember our exuberance when we got our first DEC PDP-8 mini-computer. It was the size of a refrigerator and had a whopping 64K of addressable memory and a large floppy disc drive for storage and program loading. Fast forward 40 years, and we’ve all seen the many comparisons of how today’s cell phones have more computing power than the greatest supercomputers did a relative few years ago. Imagine, today’s biggest supercomputers run over 35,000 processors, with transaction speeds of over 200 petaflops.  Certainly interesting, but…  SO WHAT? There are a few answers to “So what” that I believe have been most important to the research community – and more importantly – to society overall. Underpinning Big Data Advances First, data is exploding all around us, and will continue its exponential growth until the end of time. With this massive accumulation of data, analytical tools and methods have necessarily evolved to allow exploration of data relationships - not only in massive data sets - but importantly, on wildly disparate data types, and by users with lower levels of technical expertise. The deeper importance of this set of developments should never be overlooked. The ability for highly trained scientists in medicine, engineering, plant science, or business – to explore data relationships within large pools of disparate data types, without the need for lengthy and expensive data “cleansing” and normalization projects, or a team of PhD Data Scientists at their side for even basic exploration, is huge. It allows for people with the deepest knowledge of a science area to do initial exploration of data relationships that could lead to new discoveries, at a pace hundreds of time faster than past methods would allow. Without the massive computing power that has become available, these advances would have been impossible. In the medical world I’ve spent most of my career in, the development of “Big Data” analytic methods and the computing power to support their practical use has been particularly important. They are driving discovery of new treatments and improved care models, and really anchor our hopes of genomics-driven new cures in the future. The sheer computing power now available in the cloud, is also driving incredible new developments in areas like molecular modeling and drug design. Take a couple of minutes to learn about the amazing work done by the Centre for Computational Chemistry at the University of Bristol. In the physics world, the value of this evolution in computing power can probably be no better-framed than the work CERN is doing in particle physics. CERN’s 27-kilometre-long Large Hadron Collider contains over 50,000 sensors and monitors, and the experiments on it generate around 50 petabytes of data every year. Their work has yielded many new discoveries, including the famous Higgs boson particle – and their worldwide network of thousands of research collaborators – promises many more important discoveries in the future. However, without the continual advances in computing power, storage efficiency, and analytic tool prowess – the pace of that discovery would be severely limited.     Improving Collaboration and Study Design The second place I believe all this computing power (coupled with the evolution of the internet) has had a profound impact on research – is in collaborative data access. And it’s not just access to raw observational data from worldwide sources, but equally important – access to the vast body of findings from current and past studies, again with extraordinary text-mining and other tools – to more fully inform researchers on what is known about their targeted research to-date and how to sharpen study design. And the ability to compare and analyze results of numerous prior studies, including textual documentation of very old observations – has led to some interesting new discoveries already, and will certainly yield more as this evolution continues. Speeding the Application of Research The third place we in the medical world expect this evolution will have an impact in the future, is in a drastic reduction of the research to clinical practice time cycle (or so-called “bench-to-bedside” time). Today’s computational and collaboration tools allow for far more rapid identification and recruitment of subjects, gathering and analysis of study data, faster collaboration among researchers, and ultimately faster publishing of results. Undoubtedly, the growing application of artificial intelligence will act as an accelerant across many of these dimensions. As exciting as the above benefits are in their own rights – the thing I am most intrigued by in medicine - is the potential for big data analyses on (still developing) massive EMR data sets, to allow for discovery of diagnostic and treatment advances – purely from spotting relationships on mass volumes of patient data. With the growing access to reliable data and the tools to analyze it faster, this new approach to discovery needs to be exploited, rather than relying solely on traditional research processes that take years to yield clinical benefits. This change will be difficult in the current medical ecosystem – but the benefits are potentially enormous. Enabling AI and ML Finally, the massive growth in computing power, along with the continually lower costs required to deploy it – is fueling the incredible growth in artificial intelligence and machine learning that promise to literally change the world. Whether in medical breakthroughs, improved cyber security, a myriad of smart cities applications, or finally letting us elders watch TV without learning 4 remotes – the benefits AI will surely bring are beyond current imagination. Signing Off As my generation prepares to pass the baton of driving further advances to our younger colleagues, I am extraordinarily excited to watch the next decade or two of our progress. I’m particularly encouraged that the current generation of talent in all the key disciplines required to drive continued advances - is truly exceptional. Better trained, more informed, and better equipped than all generations before them. Quite personally, I’m counting on them to at least defeat cancer and Alzheimer’s - so I can write another 40 year observation down the road!

Sadly (for us, not him) Jim McDowell is retiring after 40 stellar years in the technology and research industries. He has kindly penned his closing thoughts below. I am sure you will enjoy reading his...

Why Diversity Matters!

Tony Nneke is a Higher Education Specialist who is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. I am proud of the great strides Tony has made to raise awareness about these important issues, and he has reflected on these below in his blog. The title of this blog has been the topic of much discussion and debate, at many conferences, and rightly so. This is a hot topic within all industries; across public and private sector. Higher Education institutions, in particular, are honest enough to ask themselves “Does our leadership, academic and student profile reflect society when it comes to representation of diversity, equality and inclusion?” It is a question that presents the opportunity to review current processes - reshape, rethink and revalue. Then either continue with conscious competence that they are heading in the right direction or start to implement changes, to better reflect the society they will be enriching. This resonates with me personally and professionally. The focus of this blog is on the staff community but I am mindful of the greater reflection and action needed in the student community. A more positive change towards diversity, equality and inclusion for students, is from my personal experience, something that is close to my heart and quite frankly could be its own blog. Whilst attending a seminar hosted by the Higher Educational Policy Institute I was asked “So what does Oracle do in this area?” It was quite a simple question and I know Oracle does a lot to promote and support these issues. I was surprised they didn’t know, but of course why should they? We shouldn’t expect them to know; I certainly shouldn’t have. It is all our responsibility to share our stories; it is our job to wax lyrical about the good work we are doing to encourage greater representation of diversity, equality and inclusion. We should be just as obsessive about our great initiatives in this area as we are to showcase our customer success stories of Oracle applications and technology. It became clear to me that the Higher Education industry could benefit from hearing what Oracle is doing to embrace and uphold diversity, equality and inclusion. I felt it important to champion sharing our learnings, stories and programmes with the sector. After all, sharing best practices is vital when trying to build a community that truly wants to focus on these pillars of society. So I set-about organising Oracle’s first Diversity, Equality & Inclusion in Higher Education Conference. I was thrilled with the support and guidance of Diana Beech - now Policy Adviser to the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation - to ensure the agenda accurately covered the challenges of the sector. I also wanted this to raise awareness of Oracle’s fantastic programmes and highlight how Oracle works in partnership with Higher Education institutions.  A great example of this is our work with Women In Industry. The Oracle Women Leadership (OWL) programme empowers and mentors Oracle’s female staff to develop their careers; instilling a sense of pride and inspiring them to continue forging ahead in their profession. Women at Oracle get to hear from and be mentored by senior leaders; they get to support and are a part of great causes aimed at motivating women to know their worth. After the conference, I was approached by universities to help them create similar initiatives for their female staff. We also discussed and shared the great work Oracle is doing in supporting the LGBT+ community; particularly with Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN). In fact the conference keynote was given by the chair of this group, who is transgender. She provided a very thought-provoking and personal insight as to what it was like for her whilst at university and for transgender in general. She described what Oracle does through OPEN and how it provides a platform for LGBT+ colleagues to share their experiences without prejudice and fear. It is a place to discuss innovative ideas, to continue to promote awareness and positive change for all. These are just a few examples and Oracle continues to look at all angles of diversity, equality and inclusion. For example I am part of a new internal team creating a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) group that will pride itself on continuing the great work of our all programmes, through stronger cultural leadership. Quite rightly, more and more customers don’t just ask us whether our solutions can meet their needs. They also ask us to demonstrate how we as an organisation encourage and maintain diversity, equality and inclusion. Customers want to know the type of organisation they are provisioning products and services from and that we have the capability to understand all of their needs, and their customers’ needs. At the conference, we explained how Oracle had to change to focus on this aspect, to be able to accurately evidence this, as part of the sales process. I learned from our conference that core principles are very much transferrable in most professions, as they are really social and moral values at play. Four questions to ask yourself: What culture do we want to truly promote? Do we want a culture that accepts and embraces diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, class and disability? If we do, then what measures are we taking to ensure that it is fairly represented in our organisation and in our industry? What more can we do to encourage an environment and culture that reflects society of the current and future generations? Oracle wants to be part of the discussions and debate. Oracle has great programmes in diversity, equality and inclusion. We are speaking to universities about these, as we believe in the social value impact. Above all, it is something that we are very proud to talk about.

Tony Nneke is a Higher Education Specialist who is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. I am proud of the great strides Tony has made to raise awareness about these important...

Cloud: Essential for the Expanding Research Universe

Humankind has always sought answers. Today, research—our pursuit of answers—is as crucial as ever. Helping us discover, innovate and solve problems, with diminishing resources. Research advances medicine, agriculture, communications, manufacturing and more; transforming the world economically, environmentally, and socially. Responding to the need for more and faster innovation However, academic research faces many pressures, such as the: increased competition for funding need to demonstrate the means to effectuate the research they propose explosion of data; putting more pressure on computing demands need to process computations faster and conduct analysis at scale drive for faster discovery and innovation, to solve ever more complex problems All of these pressures, and more, contribute to a substantial amount of grant-funded project time spent building or provisioning infrastructure and applications; rather than quickly focusing on the research. After winning a grant, an institution must be able to hit the ground running and expand their IT elastically. Modern research runs in the cloud Cloud technologies, such as Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Platform can facilitate this by providing high-performant processing, storage, and analysis. They also afford flexibility and minimal resource requirements to move quickly and cost-effectively, without the risk of idle capacity or obsolescence. Major research projects experience large fluctuations in how much data they generate and how long it needs to be stored. On-premises-only solutions are no longer adequate to meet the demands of today’s academic research. They have limited capacity, which can’t suddenly be increased in response to demand. Whereas cloud provides nearly unlimited scale and bursting capabilities, allowing researchers to start quickly and collaborate globally, without limitations. Innovative cloud solutions can be provisioned in less than an hour; depending on the type, quantity, and complexity of service(s). As Gary Gabriel, PhD - Oracle Senior Director, Academic Sciences and Research - observes, “We speak with a broad range of academic disciplines and there is robust knowledge-sharing. Knowledge-sharing around the ease, cost, and use of transformational tools such as cloud Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Internet-of-Things, Blockchain, and autonomous capabilities are evolving the research experience and changing the delivery of new discoveries. This is impacting many disciplines but particularly: engineering, physical, social, and life sciences.” Cloud offers better security What about data security in the cloud? Higher education holds the number two spot in number of cyber-attacks by industry, right behind healthcare. Research data is, after all, extremely valuable.   It’s difficult for education and research data centers to keep up with the technology and skills to protect this sensitive data. However, cloud offers sophisticated, state-of-the-art data centers, with tight physical security, the latest secure backup and archiving technology and the most skilled data security staff available. As well as compliance with regulatory and auditing requirements. High-performance computing (HPC) in the cloud Certain research disciplines - like aeronautics - call for researchers to test the performance of materials and configurations using high-performance computing. It’s prohibitively expensive and impractical to conduct these tests for real. HPC systems and infrastructure have to ensure minimal latency, and highly reliable, consistent and accurate simulations. For that reason, it is often thought that HPC systems must reside on-premises. However modern HPC systems in the cloud are matching and even exceeding on-premises systems. Continuous investment in Oracle Cloud has made it one of the best platforms for high-performance computing workloads. Researchers can test their simulations and confirm discoveries faster. HPC allows Penn State researchers to explore a world of innovation For Penn State University, cloud infrastructure supports HPC for research - spanning weather patterns on Mars to Twitter streams in Tunisia. As data-driven research has expanded, Penn State Institute for CyberScience turned to cloud-based infrastructure to handle big fluctuations in computing demand and increasing capacity needs. Having on-site computational capacity sitting idle is far from a cost-effective use of resources. With cloud infrastructure, researchers have computational power always at the ready and can work across departments and institutes to conduct interdisciplinary research with ease.     A crazy idea…certainly not! There is a great quote in a recent Forbes article: “When the cloud architect we’d been working with at Oracle first approached me and said ‘You should try this in cloud,’ I thought it was a crazy idea. For that to be running in cloud, the network speeds have to be really fast,” Glowacki says. “But the fact that we can play catch with C60 molecules, among other things, shows that it works.” Expanding the universe of exploration Ultimately, we allow researchers to focus on theories, models and results; rather than computing resources. With cloud infrastructure and platform technologies that can manage enormous quantities of data, the research universe is truly expanding. This enables discovery and innovation that can change the course of human history, ensuring we survive and thrive. This blog covers just a few research customer and innovation examples, but take a look at the brand new Oracle in Research Institutions website, to find a lot more.

Humankind has always sought answers. Today, research—our pursuit of answers—is as crucial as ever. Helping us discover, innovate and solve problems, with diminishing resources. Research advances...

Education and Research

One to Many : Transitioning from Customer to Provider

I am genuinely excited to fill the new role of Vice President of Customer Success for Higher Education here at Oracle—a role that was created within the development organization to focus on our customers and to guide them on their journey to the cloud. Oracle has provided me just the right opportunity to switch from the demand side to the supply side, as I like to say, and leverage my experience in supporting a single institution to deliver solutions for the entire industry.  I cut my teeth in higher education fifteen years ago, when I returned to my alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, as a project manager on Hopkins’ first, university-wide, fully-integrated student information system. It was a worthy endeavor for a loyal alum who was ready for a new challenge after stints on Wall Street, in medical research, launching dot-coms, and consulting. It turned out to be an amazing experience, with an amazing group of people, that transformed the institution and resulted in better service to its over 20,000 students. Later expanding my responsibilities to include our ERP solution and solutions that directly supported our education and research mission provided me with even more of an opportunity to reach so many members of our campus community and to support their success. As an outspoken advocate for my users and our university, I became involved in a number of advisory groups and user groups. I developed a passion for helping our vendors better understand the unique challenges of higher education in order to deliver solutions that would meet our evolving needs—and especially in the turbulent times of transition from traditional on-premise applications to more and more cloud-based services. My experience with customer empathy will no doubt benefit me in the role that I now play with Oracle.  It is clear that Oracle is making significant investments in higher education and I began to appreciate that there were many misconceptions about Oracle’s commitment in the market. I have been quite impressed as I learned more about Oracle’s strategy for student systems. Oracle’s vision for the student experience of the future aligns well with everything I have heard from constituents at Hopkins and from the many conversations that I had with colleagues at universities in the US and around the world. Oracle clearly understands what universities and students need today, and for the future, better than anyone. In the end, the decision to join Oracle was easy for me. Oracle has a rock solid, industry leading platform in Campus Solutions, with over 860 institutions in 47 countries supporting more than 12 million students and, importantly, a passionate and engaged user community. To be able to work with this diverse group of institutions, and to partner with them to envision their future, is a compelling opportunity. Oracle is drawing from these successes, and its unparalleled technological prowess, to deliver a next-generation cloud-based platform for student management that, by integrating transactions, interactions, and insights, blurs the lines of traditional applications in a way that is positioned to disrupt the industry. The opportunity to join the innovative “higher education dream team” of deep technology expertise, deep industry experience, and well-respected voices in the higher education community, that Vivian Wong has skillfully assembled to deliver this vision, is rather humbling.  Our customers rely on Campus Solutions to run their institutions, and run them well, and I am committed to ensuring that Campus Solutions continues to enable them to do so. I am eager to help guide our customers on their journey to the cloud, devising practical paths to get there at a velocity and in a sequence that makes sense for them. This is such an important time to do so as institutions can no longer afford to run dated and over-customized technology when it comes to facing the disruptive forces and increased competition pushing on the institution and the higher education industry. I welcome you to join me back here as I chronicle my Oracle journey, exploring how hearts, minds, wallets, and data are impacted as institutions move to the cloud.

I am genuinely excited to fill the new role of Vice President of Customer Success for Higher Education here at Oracle—a role that was created within the development organization to focus on...

Advancing NeuroDiagnostics with Artificial Intelligence

                    The combination of Oracle’s advanced technology, free Oracle cloud credits (yes…free!) and leading researchers is delivering a project to evaluate children for various cognitive disorders. Our guest blogger, Jon Russell, Innovation Director in the Oracle Startup for Higher Education organization – describes how this collaboration of technology, cloud credits and leading researchers, has led to a breakthrough in the field of neurocognitive analysis and diagnosis. Helping identify children with cognitive disorders earlier on in life makes treatment of those conditions far more effective than with older people. However, conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be hard to diagnose and difficult to differentiate from other disorders. UT Arlington (UTA) and Yale researchers led by Dr. Fillia Makedon, Dr. Morris Bell and Dr Vassilis Athitsos are working on a project to evaluate children for various cognitive disorders by having them perform cognitively demanding physical tasks while motion capture technology automatically scores their performance.  Capturing cognition in motion may be much closer to how children function in daily life than are static cognitive tests. It is only now possible to use physical cognitive tasks because of the technological advances being made at UTA.  This work is also part of the iPerform, a NSF-funded Industry-University research center directed by Makedon, that focuses on assistive technologies to enhance human performance. Essentially, the children are asked to perform a series of physical or computer-based tasks which can then be analyzed using software algorithms. There are 32 different physical activities.  For example, one cognitively demanding task is called the “Opposites Game”. Children are asked to do the opposite movement of what the administrator is saying. When the child is asked to touch her hips, she must touch her shoulders, and when she is told to touch her shoulders, she should touch her hips instead.  Such a task requires self-regulation and working memory, important components of executive functioning.  The child’s movements are recorded using motion capture software, with each video frame then analyzed using specialized algorithms which are continually refined using machine learning to spot patterns of behavior and assess how the child processes and acts on each set of instructions. The resulting data gives a far quicker indication of whether the child has a diagnosable condition like ADHD. “Our mission is to innovate human performance and safety, produce assistive technologies and services, and to promote iPerform’s industry members, researchers, and students." Dr. Fillia Makedon & Dr. Ovidiu Daescu - iPerform Directors Oracle Startup for Higher Education gave iPerform $100k of cloud credits to accelerate research projects like this one. Dr Athitsos is using his project’s cloud credits to examine how much faster they can train their algorithms for analyzing the massive amount of data being captured as well as demonstrate how they can save money by using the elastic nature of the cloud to grow or shrink their computing capacity on demand. Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure can also provide a highly secure, HIPAA-compliant way for the UT Arlington and Yale scientists to more easily share project data in the future. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.  "From supporting scientific research and experimentation, to applying research results in creating a product, to enabling entrepreneurs to bring the product to market, Oracle Startup for Higher Education aims to play an active role in this journey, with the ultimate goal of helping to deliver solutions that positively impact the human experience and our world at large." Jenny Tsai-Smith - Vice President,Oracle Startup for Higher Education The work by the Athitsos and Makedon team will be considered a breakthrough in the field of neurocognitive analysis and diagnosis and has potential for these innovations to be developed into future applications. What they’re learning could also be of great help to any technology involving automated motion detection and analysis, such as security or other scientific applications.

                    The combination of Oracle’s advanced technology, free Oracle cloud credits (yes…free!) and leading researchers is delivering a project to evaluate children for various cognitive disorders....

Education and Research

Geof Corb Joins Oracle Higher Education Development

An industry leader joins Oracle’s Higher Education Development team I am delighted to announce that Geof Corb has become the newest member of Oracle’s Higher Education Development team as the Vice President of Higher Education Customer Success.  Geof joins us from Johns Hopkins University where he served as the Deputy CIO and Associate Vice Provost for Information Technology.  Widely recognized as a visionary and tenacious change agent, Geof drove cloud-based CRM implementations across the University, including the creation of a Center of Excellence, and was awarded an innovation grant that funded the development of a novel solution to support research collaboration.  He also has deep expertise with cloud migration, having played a key role in JHU’s successful adoption of cloud-based applications and services, bringing tremendous efficiency and agility to the institution.  After the institution’s student information system (SIS) was deprecated by its vendor, Geof executed an innovative approach to re-architect the system onto a contemporary technology platform and implement a stand-alone financial aid solution. Continued commitment to facilitating a practical path to the cloud Geof’s skills, experience, and vision for digital transformation will bring incredible value to clients across Oracle’s entire product suite for higher education.  In this newly created role, Geof will be responsible for helping institutions to use modern digital technologies to enable institutional transformation, ensuring that their journey from on-premise to on-demand SIS delivers the most value.  This role will have two key components:  first, ensuring that our global Campus Solutions across 47 countries continue to enjoy success , and second, building the pathways, tools, and community required to help institutions to take an incremental approach to cloud migration for their SIS.  Building a practical path to the cloud from Campus Solutions to Student Cloud is a key component of our overall strategy.  In a recent blog post, Mary Beth Cahill of The Tambellini Group remarked, “This strategy allows institutions to follow a practical path to the cloud versus a total replacement strategy.  Institutions can begin to shift key functionality to the cloud by migrating to a hybrid environment while minimizing disruption and risk to the institution.” Investment accelerates to deliver best-in-class capabilities to higher education The quality of recent hires, such as Geof, is both humbling and validating.  There is a bit of a virtuous cycle afoot!  To build a groundbreaking student system and disrupt the market, you need the right, visionary people and the right tactical expertise. With the addition of individuals such as Geof, Nicole Engelbert, and Yvonne Baur to our existing, and enviable, team, the future looks bright! Last month we announced our acquisition of Vocado, a leading provider of financial aid solutions to the market.  This was an historic acquisition for Oracle and as Joyce Kim at Ovum indicated in a recent opinion piece,  “The acquisition of Vocado is not just another solution to build out Oracle’s higher ed technology suite, but a sign that Oracle has an understanding of and investment in improving the overall business – and, more importantly, the experience – of higher education.” We believe that the addition of Vocado’s capabilities for extreme automation, personalization, and transparency to Student Cloud transforms how institutions will manage financial aid and ultimately improve critical student outcomes such as satisfaction, responsible borrowing, and graduation rates. Upcoming Events We'll be heading to upcoming conferences in the US.  Make sure to stop by NACUBO booth, # 1354 and at the upcoming Regional Southwest HEUG Conference.  We look forward to seeing you there!  

An industry leader joins Oracle’s Higher Education Development team I am delighted to announce that Geof Corb has become the newest member of Oracle’s Higher Education Development team as the Vice...

Education and Research

Vocado with Student Cloud Supports the next Generation of Student Success

        Financial aid matters to student success Few things are as exciting as the decision to pursue higher education. Evaluating programs, talking with admissions counselors, and perhaps even taking a tour across an ivy-covered campus.  It is an investment in the future!  However, it is also one of the largest financial investments a growing number of students will make over their lifetimes.  In the US, the average cost per year – tuition, fees, and room & board – is $16,188 for a public institution and $41,970 for a private one.  Assuming 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree and the total cost is $64,752 and $167,880 respectively.  At these levels, it is not surprising that 80% of traditional undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid, totaling nearly $250 billion each year. While state, federal, institutional, and other community financial aid programs have improved the accessibility of higher education, half of eligible students choose not to further their education for financial reasons and of those that do, but drop out, 47% cite similar reasons for not completing their degree. The bottom line?  Financial aid matters to student success. It is not an easy fix Administering financial aid is incredibly complicated.  The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) estimates that the cost of compliance with US Federal regulations represents roughly $27bn annually and that 50% of institutions reported it as largest contributor to a resource shortage in their financial aid offices over the last year. Failing to adhere to federal and state regulations has far-reaching implications, including becoming ineligible to participate in financial aid programs, which would be a catastrophic outcome for nearly all colleges and universities.  Unfortunately, however, the high-stakes nature of compliance makes it difficult for counselors to shepherd students through the process as closely as they would prefer or to financial aid with academic advisement in meaningful ways.  There simply isn’t enough time. Taking a new path Given the critical importance of financial aid to student success, Oracle decided to make a major investment to bring bold, innovative, and complete capabilities to institutions in this area and to do it far earlier in the maturity of our Student Cloud solution.  Financial aid matters, and thus mature capabilities shouldn’t be at the far, right corner of an SIS product roadmap.  Earlier this month we announced our acquisition of Vocado, which The Tambellini Group cited as a "game changer" for higher education.  The authoring analyst, Mary Beth Cahill, wrote, “With Oracle accelerating its Student Cloud general availability timeline, those institutions looking to replace their legacy SIS will now have another viable choice in the near term…”  Certainly, advancing the maturity of Student Cloud is a priority, but it is also about shifting the paradigm for financial aid solutions in important ways. Vocado, which will be rebranded as Oracle Student Financial Planning, brings unprecedented automation, transparency, and configurability to the financial aid process.  An institution currently using the solution achieved a 93% reduction in overall processing time per student, a 50% increase in responsible borrowing by students, and 24% financial aid-related improvement in student satisfaction.  Vocado had a material impact on the ability of this institution to support students across the lifecycle more effectively and ultimately put a well-earned diploma in their hands. While Vocado is a core component of our Student Cloud, institutions can also implement it as a stand-alone solution regardless of their current student information system.  Oracle is deeply committed to delivering a practical path to the cloud, where institutions can choose when and how they migrate applications. I hope that you will join us for a webinar on June 19, where we will discuss how institutions can leverage financial aid more effectively to drive student success and demo the Vocado solution.  And if you are attending the upcoming NAFSAA Annual Conference, we are a Platinum Sponsor, so please check out our sessions and exhibit hall booth (#441) - we would love to see you!

        Financial aid matters to student success Few things are as exciting as the decision to pursue higher education. Evaluating programs, talking with admissions counselors, and perhaps even taking a...

Bridging. Innovating. Engaging. Evolving…Coming of Age.

No, I haven’t gone into overdrive with the thesaurus function! Although it might look like that from the eclectic mix of verbs in the blog title. This is in fact a mash-up of the themes of three conferences – one in the recent past and two coming-up at the beginning of June: EUNIS Rectors’ Conference, in Porto, April 26-28 EUNIS Congress, in Paris, June 5-8 Future Edtech Conference, in London, June 12-13 I am delighted that Oracle is one of the main sponsors and supporters at each of these key events. There are so many opportunities and threats facing education and research institutions. However, by attending these conferences, we hear different perspectives, needs and requirements. It helps us shape and identify how Oracle solutions can support institutions in their endeavours. Solutions for the entire student and research lifecycle. Presidents in Porto If my memory serves me correctly, there were 29 countries represented at the bi-annual EUNIS Rectors’ Conference. Furthermore, although the ‘E’ of EUNIS represents the word ‘European’, there were representatives from Angola, East Timor and the USA. Probably some other far-away places too. This all adds to the rich tapestry of perspectives. I had some very interesting conversations with many Rectors and Presidents from a wide-variety of countries. Some of the challenges and opportunities were common across all regions. Some were very different. What a privilege it was to listen to Carlos Moedas - the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. He made a very good point that any research should be undertaken with a very clear mission and that students should be given the space and opportunity to explore and investigate. It was inspiring and slightly tear-jerking (happy tears) listening to and speaking with Dr Paul J. LeBlanc - President at Southern New Hampshire University. They launched a major initiative to bring university degrees to refugees in the U.S. and around the world. The first pilot, in Rwanda, was a success and now they are planning further projects in many other countries. I enjoyed listening to Dr John O'Brien – President and CEO of EDCAUSE – talk about how technology got us ‘here’ but it is people and processes that will get us ‘there’. Collaboration is paramount; I couldn’t agree more John. I had fun getting to know John better at the wonderful gala dinner, where port and great wine were in plentiful supply. Well, we were in Porto after all! We wrapped-up with an insightful keynote from Professor Ronald Barnett - Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at University College London, Institute of Education. Ronald unpicked whether ‘the university’ can survive. The conclusion was – yes – but it requires a quite new understanding of leadership which comprehends the difficulties, and imaginatively sees the possibilities. I could have a paragraph for each the fascinating conversations with the highly respected Presidents and Rectors’ at this event. I learned a great-deal from speaking to each and every one; whether they were from Finland, Portugal, Poland, Serbia, Norway, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Germany, etc. Paris next, then London So whilst the European Presidents return to their institutions, it’s the turn of the IT Leadership to meet in Paris, in early June, at the annual EUNIS Congress. As it is in Paris – lovely environs and easy to get to for most – the organisers expect a bumper turn-out, from about 30 countries. I am delighted that Oracle is a platinum sponsor and even more delighted that the second keynote will be delivered by Nicole Engelbert. Nicole is a very engaging and insightful speaker, with in-depth knowledge of the industry, acquired throughout her career. I am thrilled that she is making the trip over to Europe to support this conference. Thank you, Nicole. Nicole doesn’t stop there and neither does Oracle! The following week we will attend the Future Edtech conference in London. This conference attracts attendees from all over the world. Now what’s interesting for Nicole is that for the last few years Nicole has been the driving force and host of Future Edtech, when she worked at Ovum. This year, she returns with an Oracle badge, having joined us in January. Nicole will introduce a keynote session delivered by Tahir Yousaf. Tahir is helping to lead the transformational change at Birmingham City University. He will talk about the transformation and how Oracle Cloud solutions are fundamentally supporting it. Tahir is a first-class speaker and very entertaining. I promise you will learn, and laugh, a lot. So, if you are reading this and are not already firmly committed to other things in early-mid June, I highly encourage you to consider joining us in Paris and London. You won’t be disappointed!

No, I haven’t gone into overdrive with the thesaurus function! Although it might look like that from the eclectic mix of verbs in the blog title. This is in fact a mash-up of the themes of three...

Learning to Adapt to a New Higher Education Environment

  A university’s primary mission is to provide students with a quality education. Doing that requires high-quality faculty members. Human resources (HR) departments in higher education institutions today face a big hurdle when it comes to hiring and keeping faculty: They’re hamstrung by outdated tools and systems. When potential recruits attempt to explore possible faculty positions, they too often run directly into an old-school experience that can discourage them from persisting through the process. The Changing Face of Higher Education The traditional higher education experience has become increasingly uncommon. Institutions are shifting away from set curricula and time-bound degrees taught by traditional, tenured staff. Today you find more continuing education programs, typically taught by adjunct faculty, who practice in the fields in which they teach. These professionals expect to see the same type of technology-enabled conveniences and services offered by their organizations’ HR departments. They are often disappointed. Institutions are beginning to overcome these problems and improve faculty hiring and retention through cloud-based human capital management (HCM) systems. These systems bring all the common benefits of cloud-based solutions, including streamlined IT infrastructure and resource requirements, scalability, access from anywhere, and greater flexibility. Cloud solutions focused on higher education add other benefits unique to this market’s needs, including the ability to support emerging revenue streams in the industry. Furthermore, the ability to integrate multiple HR activities, including recruiting, benefits, and staff development, simplifies processes and provides faculty with a personalized and seamless experience. New Generation Needs, New Generation Solutions As millennials’ share of the job market continues to grow, colleges and universities need to do a better job of attracting them to teaching positions. Legacy HR recruiting and onboarding applications are ill-suited to meet their needs, whereas cloud-based HCM systems include the social and mobile tools seen as requisites by the current generation of faculty recruits. Potential faculty members can, for example, complete the entire application process through their mobile devices. Once on staff, they can continue to rely on mobile interfaces for routine transactional tasks like checking their vacation balance or exploring other roles within the institution. Cloud-based HCM systems open new channels, like chatbots, that provide a faster and more convenient way to complete these interactions and reduce demands on HR staff. The cloud also supports retention efforts. Through communication and collaboration tools, faculty become strongly connected to the institution, their peers, and their students—a particularly important function with so many adjunct faculty. Cloud-based HR systems also provide a delivery channel for comprehensive development tools, customized to faculty members’ personal- and career-development aspirations. The current generation of cloud HCM systems provide advanced capabilities that are creating better experiences for managers, employees, and students at many institutions. For instance, adaptive intelligence capabilities can identify strong candidates for open positions from within the current faculty, based on their skills, performance, and interests. Adaptive intelligence can also identify faculty members who are likely to leave the institution. Vanderbilt University recently embarked on a transition to Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud, with the goal of modernizing business processes for its more than 6,000 employees and 3,000 student workers. The transition will provide Vanderbilt with integrating apps for a streamlined user experience and data management. Vanderbilt will also benefit from the twice-yearly updates and enhancements to Oracle’s HCM and ERP platforms, giving the university automatic access to continuous innovation. Kentucky State University relies on the same two systems—Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud—for insights to support its operational needs. Employees now have clearer visibility into financial, procurement, and grant information, as well as access to new self-service channels—which, in turn, help faculty and staff deliver a better student experience. Retooling Higher Education HR Systems With modern, cloud-based HCM system, HR teams can make an important shift: They can move away from seeing faculty as employees to be managed and toward seeing faculty as customers with needs and expectations that must be met over the complete span of their careers. HR teams in higher education now have the tools to find, grow, and retain the best talent; enable collaboration; provide complete workforce insights; increase operational efficiency; and make it easy for everyone to connect on any device. As higher education institutions continue to evolve to meet the needs of their faculty and students, while achieving their admissions and operational goals, they are increasingly relying on more flexible and agile cloud-based solutions.

  A university’s primary mission is to provide students with a quality education. Doing that requires high-quality faculty members. Human resources (HR) departments in higher education institutions...

Celebrating New Beginnings and Recognizing Exceptional Contributions

I recently spent a week in Salt Lake City with more than 3,500 customers and over 100 partners from around the world at the annual Higher Education User Group Alliance Conference. What a difference a year makes. This Alliance conference was a buzz with cloud this year, where last year customers were concerned with the long term viability of their on-premise technology investments. With 3 times more cloud sessions and 5 times more cloud session attendees, cloud adoption is on the horizon for our customers. We continue to make it easier for education and research to innovate with the latest technologies such as chatbot, adaptive intelligence, and autonomous database. The anxiety of change has subsided as our customers have embraced our modern best practices to map their journey to a modern campus ranging from cloud at customer to full SaaS and PaaS deployments. One of the greatest benefits of the Higher Education User Group is members sharing their successes with other members. Hear from and read about cloud customers like Konyang University and University of Western Australia about their path to the cloud and how it is helping to enhance learning and student experiences at their universities.  Also, watch this video to learn how Penn State University Researchers turn to Oracle's higher performance computing (HPC) on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. As more and more institutions are making their journey to the cloud, Oracle is here to help.  Join us on Wednesday April 11th to learn how to Transform Your Campus: Finance and HR Together in the Cloud. During this webinar, we will review specific case studies and how Oracle ERP and HCM Cloud customers are leveraging emerging technologies like adaptive intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics to achieve even greater results on campus. The Higher Education User Group is a wonderful group that has helped us to get better connected with you and there is probably no one in the Higher Education User Group community that demonstrates that collaboration more than Lew Conner. Lew has been a staple of the Higher Education User Group for over 20 years. On behalf of Oracle, I would like to thank Lew Conner for his many years of service and outstanding contributions to the Higher Education community.  

I recently spent a week in Salt Lake City with more than 3,500 customers and over 100 partners from around the world at the annual Higher Education User Group Alliance Conference. What a difference a...

Oracle Education and Research

Big Data - How can we succeed?

Data. It’s big. It’s getting bigger. In fact, it’s growing exponentially. It’s produced by more and more people. It’s created by an increasing number of things – commonly called devices. It is becoming more varied and more unstructured. About 5 years ago someone said 90% of the world’s data had been generated in the previous 2 years. That’s astonishing. So, how do we keep-up? Can we indeed keep-up? Can we make use of this data? Are we deriving insights from the data? I have lots of questions and I cannot profess to have all of the answers. Nevertheless, recent advances in technology appear to be paving the way. Big Data in Research Data is critical to all organisations, but to varying degrees. Think about the research industry though. The ability to efficiently collect, manage and analyse data is critical. Accelerating scientific discovery is not only dependant on researchers with brains the size-of-planets. There is also a clear dependency on enabling researchers to easily and efficiently access all required technology tools and infrastructure. In my previous role, I worked at one of the world’s leading research intensive universities - Imperial College London. There I had the privilege of interacting with many researchers. Before this I had some semblance of the technology researchers need, but the reality was far greater. Every academic department and research group had significantly more data and more technology needs than I envisaged. I knew that would be the case in Medicine, with techniques such as genome sequencing producing an eye-watering amount of data. However, I also saw this across all of the engineering disciplines from aeronautics to mechanical, the Natural Sciences disciplines and even the Business School. Big Data at CERN In the research world, big data really is big; none more so than at CERN. The volume of data produced and the scale of analysis at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are astounding. 40 petabytes was produced by the LHC experiments in 2017. Within the LHC, there are up to 1 billion particle collisions per second (yes, per second!) that are filtered down to approximately 100,000 and sent for digital reconstruction. More detailed algorithms whittle this down to around 100 ‘events of interest’ per second. Now that’s big data discovery and analysis in action. When people ask which customers use Oracle Big Data technology, I always cite CERN and not surprisingly, no further examples are requested.    Storing Data Storing research data is a major challenge, particularly as the capacity needs fluctuate considerably over the lifetime of the project, and beyond. Yes, storage costs are declining but the volume of data is anything-but. Managing a datacentre must be a headache for organisations now, but imagine the migraine in 5-10 years’ time. Cloud storage is the only way to go, surely. Yes, there will be some data that organisations will not, under any circumstances, allow to be stored off-site. Yes, there are data-residency regulations requiring that all data be stored within the country, or region. However, cloud companies like Oracle are providing the flexibility to meet these requirements. For example: Oracle is opening 12 new datacentre regions, across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Oracle Cloud at Customer delivers Oracle Cloud services in your data centre. Deriving Insights Storing the data is one thing, but data is only helpful if you can effectively derive insights from it. With all this data, how do we go about making sense of all the data and finding out what’s useful. After-all, big decisions and big discoveries are derived from data. Humans can’t keep-up, so various technologies play a key role; including machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). These tools enable insights to be derived automatically. Data scientists fine-tune algorithms to optimise the analysis and insights derived from data. Nowadays though, ML and AI help them focus their time and expertise on specific data and insights that really accelerate discoveries. Advances in autonomous cloud services are a giant leap-forward. Oracle is applying AI and ML to its entire next-generation Cloud Platform services. Oracle’s Autonomous Database was introduced at OpenWorld. However Oracle recently announced autonomous capabilities for many other Cloud Platform services – including analytics - are scheduled to be available in the next 12 months. Self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing. Surviving and Thriving So, the 5 V’s of data - volume, variety, velocity, veracity and value – are on the increase, big time. More and more devices are doing more and more things. It’s becoming easier to create and publish content. Discovery and innovation are critical in a world with so many threats and opportunities. I could continue this list, but I’m sure you get the picture, so let me stop there. After all, I don’t want to be guilty of creating more data than is necessary! So, data is here to stay and set to increase; what we do with it, is critical. Cloud technologies for storage, compute and analysis are paramount. Furthermore, if these technologies are embedded with machine learning and artificial intelligence; the greater our chances of surviving and indeed thriving, in the deluge.

Data. It’s big. It’s getting bigger. In fact, it’s growing exponentially. It’s produced by more and more people. It’s created by an increasing number of things – commonly called devices. It...

Student Success Should Be Ubiquitous

  Student success is now the focus of every institution and student success initiatives and programs are being implemented across many departments.  This landscape is getting cluttered and confusing to the point that the #2 issue of the 2018 EduCause Top 10 IT Issues is “Managing the system implementations and integrations that support multiple student success initiatives.” Student Success should be an enterprise wide coordinated focus to build with every student experience and touch.  In short it should be ubiquitous. We recently delivered a web conference to over 230 attendees highlighting the delivered and future capabilities of Oracle Student Cloud.  The key take away is that every touch, activity and experience will be supporting the success of the individual student/learner.  Student Cloud is delivering this by combining and harmonizing multiple capabilities such as embedded analytics, artificial intelligence, nurturing, termless enrollment and open credentials.  Students and customers have been providing guidance about the student experience expectations today and in the future.  These insights have guided the continual evolution of the Oracle Student Cloud solutions are readily apparent in both the current release and the future direction.  To learn more, view the replay of this webinar. If you happen to be in Chicago in April, join us at Oracle Modern Customer Experience, April 10-12 in Chicago, IL.  Gain inspiration and fresh ideas from over 300 customer speakers and product experts, and unforgettable customer experiences.  We hope to see you there!    

  Student success is now the focus of every institution and student success initiatives and programs are being implemented across many departments.  This landscape is getting cluttered and confusing to...

Oracle Education and Research

Join our Blockchain Revolution

Join our Blockchain Revolution The last time this happened me was when I walked into one of our conference rooms at Sun where a student from the University of Illinois was giving a demo of something called "Mosaic". Well, we all know how that one turned out with the new metaphor of the browser and web radically changing the way we communicate, learn and do business. Recently, I got the same feeling after looking into use cases in education for our upcoming Blockchain Cloud Service offering at the BlockchainConnectSF conference. I felt the same energy in the room where both technical and creative people were talking in an entire new language about thetrust protocol, ICOs, Miners and Exchanges all of which just happens to be only 8 years old and mysteriously invented by someone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. After a few months of checking out the scence I thought I'd highlight just a few of the ways Blockchain could potentially be the next big thing in edtech transformation and finally fix the one thing the World Wide Web was never inherently designed to do (Hint: On the internet know one knows you're a dog). Distributed Trust. And, as Marc has said this time around, "the blockchain is one of the most fundamental inventions in the history of computer science". So, while Bitcoin is the first killer app transforming commerce here are the key areas where our efforts are focused today in education and research: Transformational Use Cases Student Records and Distributed Credentialing Trusted Peer-to-Peer Payments and Smart Contracts Digital Content and Rights Management and the future of publishing, libraries and archives Learning Marketplaces - Anyone can learn anything in a token-based knowledge exchange. Learn to Earn as envisioned by Jane McGonigal at the Institute for the Future and famous talk at SXSWedu. Check out new example ICO's like LiveEDU,  ODEM and Bitdegree. Academics and Coursework: Interdisciplinary is the new norm for the gig economy and schools are modernizing curriculum and offering new Blockchain certifications combining Law, Business, Economics and Computer Sciences. Check out the great work Adam is doing for example with the new certificate program at the Berkeley Center for Law and Business and bringing our Cloud into the classroom. Student Developers and Startups: They are taking charge of their own destiny and creating their own communities and even companies at the epicenter of innovation. Oracle and our partner Aurablocks are helping to bridge the chasm between transforming industries like Financial Services and Education with our sponsorship of the upcoming Carolina FinTech Blockchain Hackathon and the #generationblockchainchallenge. Student startup initiatives are now open for business at places like Blockchain@Berkeley, Cornell, MIT Digital Currency Initiative and innovative Community Colleges like Central New Mexico. Be sure to check out Oracle's new Startup Cloud Accelerator Program looking to help lower the barriers to innovation and foster industry adoption. Open Source - Oracle Autonomous Blockchain Cloud Service is based on the Hyperledger Fabric governed by the well respected Linux Foundation. A perfect technology fit for Education as an industry used to transparency and shared innovation.  So, what's coming up next? We'll be at the Alliance HEUG Conference in Salt Lake City presenting and meeting with customers & partners at the end of March. Oracle is launching our Blockchain Autonomous Cloud Service this summer and we are hard at work with our interactive discovery workshops to  explore use cases in academia, proof-of-concept and pioneering implementations. My friend Mark lays out the enterprise story  and as he said to a customer the other day on a briefing call, "Everything is there pre-built for you. It's like buying a car. You just get in and drive".  So, let me know at kevin.roebuck@oracle.com if you want take a test drive!

Join our Blockchain Revolution The last time this happened me was when I walked into one of our conference rooms at Sun where a student from the University of Illinois was giving a demo of something...

Education and Research

An Inspired Leap to Oracle Higher Education

First, I want to thank the entire Oracle community for its warm welcome and to all my colleagues in the higher education industry who have extended congratulations and well wishes. One of the questions I have been asked in many of these exchanges has been, "Okay, so why Oracle?"  It wasn't a decision that I took lightly, so I thought I would shed a bit of light on why. Change is accelerating for higher education & technology There is a profound business model change on the horizon for higher education.  It is in response to a myriad of macro and micro factors, not least of which are rapidly changing student expectations, intensifying cost constraints, and growing economic volatility.  Policy analysts will look back on this period a decade from now and speak of it as the time higher education took a pivot and where some institutions flourished and others failed. It is not just the emergence of transformational technology such as IoT, connectivity (5G), and AI, but also the model by which it is delivered (cloud) and the speed at which innovation with it is occurring.  Innovation and disruption cycles are happening more frequently and with greater impact.  I have seen other periods of technology-led disruption, there is something different this time, perhaps it is a watershed moment where technology finally moves from other, to extension, to indistinguishable from the human experience? A calling to take the leap Earlier in my career, I left a great position as the associate dean of a small business college in New York.  It was gratifying work, making a real difference with first-generation college students.  However, it was the dot-com era and I could see that technology would/could have a profound impact on the delivery of instruction and institutional operations.  But I wouldn’t see the bleeding edge from within the institution, I needed to go out and immerse myself in the “possible” – it was a terrifying leap, but I spent 4 years at an online test preparation company and it radically changed the course of my career. Once again, I found myself in a similar position.  The last decade has been spent advising institutions on their IT strategy at Ovum.  It was deeply satisfying and intellectually engaging work.  But given what is happening in higher education and technology today, once again I felt the pull to make a change, to get closer to what is happening and shape how higher education will use technology to transform itself. Where to leap? The question became for me from where could I have the most impact?  I’m a researcher by training, so I set out a list of characteristics. Deep technical expertise and commitment to R&D The rate of technological change is staggering.  Institutions will need partners that bring far more than sparkling features and functionality – they will need a robust, constantly evolving stack.  Oracle’s investments in R&D are massive and the fruits of those efforts are displayed across the IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS solution suites.  This also gets into unanswered security and privacy questions and I wanted to be at a place where the full force of the organization was committed to addressing them in a proactive, sustainable way. A commitment to higher education Yes, Oracle is enormous and supports some of the largest and most complex enterprises in the world.  But education is an important industry to the firm.  The opening of Design Tech High School is certainly evidence of this, but one cannot overlook that Oracle has higher education customers on nearly every continent (not Antarctica!) and this footprint has grown steadily over the last decade.  Not just with Campus Solutions, but with Oracle’s full suite of solutions, from infrastructure all the way through enterprise applications such as ERP, HCM, and CX as well.  Growth is often an undervalued characteristic when selecting a solution provider. But growth brings resources, which benefit institutions through better solutions & services.  Over the last year, the higher education team at Oracle has grown substantially.  In fact, my own role is an investment rather than a replacement position. I should also note that Oracle has an impressive record regarding women in leadership.  Safra Catz has blazed an historic path.  Moreover, when I look around the table on the higher education development team, Vivian Wong, Susan Beidler, Yvonne Baur, Cat Boroff, and Melissa Gena offer incredible role models of what women in tech can and should be. A vision and tactical capability to bring technological innovation to higher education Many firms that have solid technology, higher education expertise, and deliver value to institutions, but to leave a job I love, I needed to know that it would drive real transformation. Over the last 18 months, Oracle has launched a development effort to bring an entirely new student system to market – Student Cloud.  Continuing education and recruitment are available now, with significant releases later in the year.  Watching its accelerating progress and paradigm-shifting vision inspired me to take the leap!  If you would like to be part of a conversation on how we can transform higher education together, please reach out via Twitter or LinkedIn and of course follow our progress with Student Cloud.  

First, I want to thank the entire Oracle community for its warm welcome and to all my colleagues in the higher education industry who have extended congratulations and well wishes. One of the questions...

Education and Research

The Disruption in Higher Education Continues - Are You Positioned to Meet the Challenge?

The disruption of the business model in Higher Education continues at a rapid pace and is driven by a variety of factors. Schools continue to face funding shortages, and funds are increasingly tied to student performance rather than the old metric of attendance. Tuitions are rising, so students are scrutinizing the value of their degree more carefully. The modernization of the consumer experience has changed expectations of how faculty, staff and students interact and transact on campus. And new learning technologies and companies are challenging long established belief that a quality education only comes from earning a degree at a traditional 2-year or 4-year college. Meeting these challenges requires a complete overhaul of IT infrastructure to leverage the modern technologies required to create the university of the future.  It is no surprise that campus leaders are looking to cloud to replace outdated systems, and particularly to cloud providers that offer a complete, integrated suite of applications, platform and infrastructure to improve business processes, lower costs, provide critical insights, and engage faculty, staff and students. One example of this transformation in action is Pittsburg State, an institution located in southeast Kansas with 7,000 students and 850 faculty and staff.  Learn how their implementation of Oracle will help them improve operational excellence, reduce costs and provide a scalable, flexible platform needed to modernize their campus. Click here to learn how Oracle is transforming Education and Research. We also invite you to join us at  Alliance 2018, March 25-28, in Salt Lake City, UT.

The disruption of the business model in Higher Education continues at a rapid pace and is driven by a variety of factors. Schools continue to face funding shortages, and funds are increasingly tied to...

Get Out of the Business of Running Infrastructure

Colleges and Universities are dependent on their administrative systems to run their Institutions – from recruiting students, faculty, and staff to alumni relations and everything in between – applications from Oracle and from Oracle partners run the business of higher education for thousands of institutions and millions of students! I hear from many CIO's that “we need to spend less time running applications and more time differentiating our institution to be competitive”. As a former Higher Education CIO, I was responsible for a number of implementations and data center consolidation projects. I focused my time on transforming IT to support the mission of the university. I was always looking for opportunities to get out of the business of running infrastructure.  As institutions look to their future in a SaaS based world – they need an option today to run their current applications on their path to the cloud. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Cloud Platform provide the stepping stones along the path to the cloud.   Any on-premise applications you depend on today from PeopleSoft, Ellucian, SAP or the myriad of applications supporting facilities, housing, reporting – any of these workloads can be moved to the Oracle Cloud. With agile, scalable and cost-effective cloud services, institutions are adopting Oracle’s Cloud in the way that fits their campus IT strategy and path to cloud: Some institutions have adopted a strategy of running development and test in Oracle’s Cloud Platform – the ability to quickly spin up an environment to test new application features and upgrades can drastically shorten project timelines. See the University of New South Wales story Other institutions are on a path to running not only development and test, but production applications in the Oracle Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. The Tambellini group recently blogged about the potential for Ellucian Banner customers to run in Oracle’s Cloud – an option that numerous campuses are evaluating and planning for today. Still other institutions are taking advantage of the unique capabilities oracle offers with our Cloud@Customer solution. You can subscribe to Oracle Cloud services and Oracle can put a part of its cloud in your own data center – to meet data residency or other requirements for your campus and constituents. See The State University of New York press release about their adoption of the Oracle Cloud Machine. For all of our PeopleSoft higher education customers – did you know PeopleSoft runs better on Oracle Cloud than on Amazon AWS? Learn about the advantages of running your PeopleSoft applications today on Oracle’s Cloud as part of our integrated set of cloud services! As your campus develops and evolves its IT strategy to meet today’s demands – and looks to build a path to the cloud – consider the Oracle Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to be your solution to move on premise applications to the cloud.    

Colleges and Universities are dependent on their administrative systems to run their Institutions – from recruiting students, faculty, and staff to alumni relations and everything in between...

Education and Research

The Education Industry Will Lead Technology Innovation

When I started my career in the education industry over 20 years ago, colleges and universities were leading innovators in the use of technology. Since that time, the education industry has fallen behind in its use of technology. The education industry is being forced to shift focus to leveraging technology and innovating to support strategic initiatives. At the start of the New Year, I was reflecting on 2017 and thinking about the future of technology in Education and Research. I can't believe the education industry is still talking about digital transformation. This has been a topic in the industry for the same 20 year period that the industry was lagging on the use of technology, so it makes sense why the education industry is still focused on digital transformation. What started with email, portals, and online learning has transcended to blockchain, chatbots, and artificial intelligence. So what can we expect from technology in 2018 and beyond? We will see most major educational institutions kick off an initiative with these technologies to reduce costs, improve student experience, or support research. See Oracle's cloud predictions for 2018. We have an exciting and interesting year ahead as colleges and universities around the world get back into leading technology innovation to improve student and administrative systems, accelerate research, and personalize the student experience. Learn how colleges and universities can use blockchain to secure research data and verify student information. Intelligent bots will improve the student experience through conversational interfaces to a broad range of services and information. Hear how we have incorporated these technologies into our Student Cloud to deliver a personalized student experience.     

When I started my career in the education industry over 20 years ago, colleges and universities were leading innovators in the use of technology. Since that time, the education industry has...

Education and Research

It’s all about partnerships, in Education & Research

Oracle engages in numerous partnerships across all industries - at least 25,000 according to the latest version of the Oracle Fact Sheet. Partnerships with customers, partnerships with industry organisations, philanthropic partnerships and so on. However collaborating and partnering in the Education and Research industry is of paramount importance. In my mind, there is no other way. Surely one of THE MOST inspiring partnerships Oracle is currently engaged in is the BLOODHOUND project. On the face of it, one would think this is just about Oracle supporting the endeavour to build a car capable of travelling at 1,000mph, and thereby set a new land-speed record. But, it’s much more significant than that. As announced recently, it’s about inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Helping students build critical engineering knowledge, data analysis, and programming skills. Equipping them with the competences they and the world need today and certainly tomorrow. Watch this and be inspired! I am delighted that Oracle recently became a partner of HEPI – the Higher Education Policy Institute. As the UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education, HEPI are highly regarded as the go-to organisation for views on higher education policy. Their publications, blogs, media-work and events are frequented and cited by politicians, the media and the leading officials within higher education institutions. The partnership provides privileged access to HEPI’s high quality information and advice, as well as opportunities to engage directly with key people throughout the industry. We are kept abreast of the most significant changes in the HE sector, in Britain and abroad; we participate in stimulating discussions with key players, and can suggest topics for future research and debate. One of the ways we partner with our customers is through the Oracle Education and Research Industry Strategy Council. The Council met earlier this month and you can read all about it in a recent blog by Keith Rajecki, Senior Director, Education and Research Industry Solutions at Oracle. In my opinion this was the most interesting and valuable Strategy Council meeting I have attended. Oracle and the customers gained an enormous amount of high quality insight; from the presentations, discussions and interactions. I wanted to finish by mentioning four other organisations that Oracle enjoys a close partnership with and are fresh in my mind having attended recent conferences: HEUG (Higher Education User Group) is the largest independent user group that Oracle works in partnership with. They have over 32,000 members from Higher Education institutions across the world. The partnership stretches back over 20 years and the close collaboration provides an invaluable set of interactions between Oracle, the institutions and IT partner organisations. When I worked at Imperial College London, I participated in many conferences, I chaired two of the product advisory groups and I saw first-hand the significant benefits of being involved with the HEUG. We look forward to the next Alliance conference, 25-28 March and continuing the great collaboration. EDUCAUSE is a higher education technology association and the largest community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. Oracle has been a long-time member and one of the main sponsors of their annual conference; the 2017 edition didn’t disappoint. Here’s a quick recap by Keith Rajecki. Oracle has been a Gold member of EUNIS (European University Information Systems) for many years. EUNIS, provides a forum for interaction between universities across Europe. Oracle is a loyal supporter of their Annual Congress and in 2018 we are proud to also be a Gold Sponsor of the EUNIS Rectors’ Conference, in Portugal. UCISA (Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association) - UCISA is a member-led, open, impartial and representative association for higher and further education institutions in the UK and Ireland. I often describe them as the glue between technology partners - like Oracle - and the educational institutions. Oracle has long-since been a corporate member and a regular fixture at their conferences; providing a valuable opportunity to hear from and speak with many institutions about the sector. Through these partnerships – the publications, events and interactions – the Oracle Education and Research teams gain critical knowledge and contacts within the sector. This significantly assists us to understand and articulate the industry challenges and opportunities; thereby helping to shape the Oracle solutions that support the strategy of so many institutions, worldwide. There are many more partnerships I could discuss, but these are top of mind and long may they continue!

Oracle engages in numerous partnerships across all industries - at least 25,000 according to the latest version of the Oracle Fact Sheet. Partnerships with customers, partnerships with industry...

Enabling Research Without Boundaries

Many people associate higher education with the traditional aspects of learning and teaching. At its core, students attend classes and lectures, carry out projects in labs, and participate in practicums, enabled by a vast university IT infrastructure.   However, there is another, less visible component of academia – the research arm – that requires a more massive and synchronized network of computing power. At more than $68B, the annual U.S. expenditures on university research far outstrip student tuition and fees revenue. However, spending for research and development is concentrated among the top 20 schools, accounting for more than 30% of all research expenditures, according to data from the National Science Foundation.  Research, by its very nature, positions universities on the leading edge, with technology an integral partner in the drive to solve some of the world’s most critical issues. With the recent advancements in cloud computing capabilities, the fundamentals of research are changing.  Historically, researchers leveraged computing power in two ways: The data center: a centralized, pooled capacity requiring massive capital investment and skilled personnel. Often, the hardware becomes obsolete months after installation. Local commodity servers: stand-alone machines stuck under a desk or in a closet. These servers lack the computing power, scale and security required for research. Today, advances in the cloud computing service model and capabilities are disrupting the underlying tools of research by introducing near-infinite scale and bursting capabilities, allowing researchers to collaborate globally, while anonymizing data as necessary. At the same time, researchers can gain enhanced security, control and governance while taking advantage of the power of Big Data, culling key results from a vast array of disparate data sources and using the power of predictive analytics to create new insights previously not possible. With more than 11,000 higher education customers, Oracle is a longtime partner to the industry. Our Higher Education Enterprise Cloud, offering a complete stack of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS capabilities, is perfectly suited for scale-based research. Penn State University’s Institute for CyberScience (ICS) has successfully prototyped the use of Oracle’s cloud-based infrastructure with a hybrid bursting model. The system is designed to give researchers the tools to do what was previously impossible: take advantage of high-capacity computing with virtually unlimited capacity to model highly sophisticated problems, from weather patterns on Mars to the protein production inside our own bodies. “Now that it has proved its worth, we are working to develop our ability to make it available to our faculty,” says ICS technical director Chuck Gilbert. ICS achieved this high performance computing environment by placing workloads on “bare metal,” directly onto a server without hypervisor software to run at full computing speed. “Really, we're talking about nanoseconds and microseconds, and that little bit of jitter can make all the difference in a simulation being correct or not correct,” says Gilbert. “We are literally extending our data center footprint out to the cloud,” he said in a recent article for OracleVoice on Forbes. Technology has always been an important and necessary research driver, from exploring the unseen world of the atom to improving the highly tangible need of solving our world’s food supply. For more than 30 years, Oracle and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have collaborated on some of the most respected, cutting-edge research performed worldwide. Recently, CERN has worked with Oracle to deploy physics workloads on over 9,500 cores via the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute environment. CERN has also been using Oracle’s data analytics technologies in a reliability assessment study for a potential successor accelerator to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. .   And at North Carolina State University, Oracle is working to crack the code on “smart farming” techniques, collecting data from field-based sensors, drones, tractors and other sources to make better decisions about irrigation, fertilizer and weed and pest control solutions. Through collaboration with agriculture and agribusiness leaders as well as university scientists, Oracle is applying expertise in data management, analytics and artificial intelligence to facilitate better crop outcomes in a world of finite resources. There’s no question that this level of high performance computing will continue to improve, opening the door to creative solutions that will impact generations to come. For those institutions who aspire to expand their research capabilities, an investment in high performance computing may be mandatory. This is the new research: a virtual platform that knows no physical boundary. Patrick Mungovan is the group vice president for Oracle Public Sector U.S. Higher Education, Research and Academic Medical Center Technology Sales.    

Many people associate higher education with the traditional aspects of learning and teaching. At its core, students attend classes and lectures, carry out projects in labs, and participate in...

Educause 2017 Recap

The Educause Annual Conference continues to be a great gathering of educators, administrators, and technologists sharing ideas and collaborating to solve some of the most complex problems facing education and research. While "cloud" has certainly become more relevant in the discussion, cloud sessions doubled at the conference this year from last. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous databases found their way into sessions and discussions throughout the conference. We are just beginning to see how these technologies are going to transform education and research. Artificial intelligence will have a more profound impact on education than the electronic student record and learning management system combined. Institutions need to prepare themselves for these new technologies by first rationalizing their existing IT. Think datacenter consolidation in the cloud. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, chatbots, and virtual reality are all coming to a campus near you. Even if you don’t want it, your students, faculty and staff are beginning to experience these technologies in their everyday lives. Your institutions are developing weekend intensive certificates and degree programs around these technologies to support the next generation of skilled workforce. These technologies will become a game changer for innovation and differentiation at your institution. In addition to making all these technologies available in the Oracle Public Cloud, we have already begun delivering functionality in our HCM Cloud, ERP Cloud, and Student Cloud based on these technologies. We are leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to modernize and personalize the student journey, improving experience and outcomes. Is your institution prepared to transact with students through chatbots from their mobile device?

The Educause Annual Conference continues to be a great gathering of educators, administrators, and technologists sharing ideas and collaborating to solve some of the most complex problems...

Higher Education

Untangle Your Web of Applications

There are few more challenging industry topologies for integration than a higher education institution. Even more so than a commercial enterprise, a campus is like a small city when it comes to services, infrastructure, data requirements, etc. It has the full scope of HR and financials use cases, coupled with all of the administration and services (often heavily regulated by governmental oversight) of the student lifecycle and learning management, recruiting, marketing and sales, supply chain management. Many institutions even generate and provide their own power and other utilities! And just like in any enterprise, all of the systems that manage all of those business units and processes need to operate together. Seamlessly. (Well, that's the ideal, anyway.) Traditionally, this meant a spider web of point-to-point integrations that connected Application A to Application B, Application A to Application C, Application B to Application C, ad infinitum (and, for campus IT staff, ad nauseum). Whether that is through nightly data loads that replicate and move data between solutions, or more contemporary mechanisms that either move payloads transactionally in real or near-real time or even transiently without replication, exposing data on demand and for the duration it is needed to complete a business process, that translates to a huge, and hugely complex, effort to create and maintain these required interactions. And make no mistake—these interactions are required. Data MUST be able to flow freely across the enterprise. Service level expectations have progressed rapidly in this era of web-based consumer-oriented experiences, and end-users (administrative or student) don't care where the data lives or how it gets from point A to point B, only that they can complete their task quickly and easily. So how do we rationalize and enable the integrated campus ecosystem? Standards are a good place to start. Whether those are technical standards and non-proprietary methodologies like the use of REST or SOAP in service oriented architectures, or industry standards like those from IMS Global and the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) in the Higher Education space, standards allow us to apply a consistent pattern in integration methodologies, facilitating the ability of all of the solutions in the topology to talk to each other. But a lingua franca opens up the channels, it doesn't untangle the spiderweb. To do that, we need something that gets away from point-to-point integrations, that allows us to "black box" each system while still allowing the free flow of information between them. This is where an interesting new category of solutions comes into play. To the increasingly familiar acronyms SaaS ("software as a service") and PaaS ("platform as a service"), add iPaaS: Integration Platform as a Service. Where PaaS solutions essentially provide development tools, toolkits, and environments in a cloud-based subscription model, iPaaS does the same for integration: it provides a cloud-based solution that shifts deployment and maintenance to the vendor while leveraging increasingly standardized integration methodologies to allow customers to rationalize their integration topology. Oracle's Integration Cloud Service (ICS) is a good example of the growing capability and popularity of iPaaS solutions and how they help simplify the integration challenges on campus by abstracting the artifacts of integration. ICS, for example, starts with the concept of an adapter, essentially a code library that defines in an agnostic fashion an endpoint (independent of any solution it might be used to connect to) for an external solution to talk to ICS and vice-versa. ICS includes general technology adapters, like the delivered REST adapter that simply "understands" REST and therefore can be used to connect ICS to any solution that provides or consumes REST services; this means that any solution that can talk to one of these technology adapters (REST, SOAP, FTP, File, Database, etc.) can play. Or adapters can be "bespoke" or solution specific, whether at a suite level (for example, a Peoplesoft adapter that simply interrogates a Peoplesoft application instance to expose underlying web services/APIs); or at a solution level, like the forthcoming Campus Solutions adapter, which will expose specific business entities and business processes and transactions to allow for an easy, wizard-like experience in defining an integration. These adapters, then, are used to define a "connection," a specific instance (including URL or other deployment-specific information) of an adapter. At its simplest level, this model means that each solution participating in the integration really only needs to be able to talk to ICS; ICS then handles the process of closing the loop between the solutions. (Of course, if you are trying to get Application A to talk to Application B for a particular transaction—say, publishing and mapping some data between the systems—you have to ensure that whatever connector you're using for Application A exposes the data you need for Application B. ICS is powerful, but it's not magic!) ICS closes that loop through an integration or integration workflow. As with most iPaaS solutions, that means a drag and drop visual interface where you select an integration pattern (simple data mapping to service orchestration), select the actions and data mapping you want to occur, and you're ready to go. It's that easy! (Or, it can be—you can also create more complex integrations and use scripting tools if you want to or your requirements demand it). What does this mean for integration on campus? It means that for those 80% or so of integration use cases that are straightforward, like publish/subscribe patterns or simple service orchestrations, ICS can provide the ability for "citizen developers" or non-specialized line of business users to create and maintain integrations, often while dropping the required person-hours to build that integration from weeks to days or even hours, and freeing up senior or specialized IT staff to focus on other mission-critical undertakings. And ICS's cloud deployment model means we may even be able to deliver not just adapters, but actual pre-defined integration workflows, so that all a customer needs to do is define the connection particulars, and the rest is already taken care of. From there they can modify, enhance and extend as their campus ecosystem requires. Delivered, supported integration—that's the goal. Integration on campus has been a challenge from the earliest days of the use of enterprise software. We've made it (mostly!) past the era of printing out a spreadsheet from one application and typing that information into another application. We're making our way through the "nightly batch" phase, and the growth of standards and the introduction of new solution categories means we're actually poised for a generational step forward in making data truly interoperable and transparently portable. Learn more about Oracle's Higher Education solutions. Come see us at the Educause Annual Conference from October 31 to November 3 in Philadelphia, PA.

There are few more challenging industry topologies for integration than a higher education institution. Even more so than a commercial enterprise, a campus is like a small city when it comes to...

Higher Education

Oracle Student Cloud: Leverage Social Insights to Improve Your Student Engagement

According to the Pew Research Center, almost 70% of the American public uses some type of social media. For younger adults the percentages are even higher: 86% of young adults aged 18-29 and 80% of those aged 30-49. And these users are active and vocal; a recent study by Statista estimates that young adults aged 16-24 years old spend almost 200 minutes per day on social media via mobile devices. And we probably all know someone who loves to Tweet or post things to Facebook or online reviews because they want to be heard or because they want a business or service provider to respond to an issue or complaint. That is the power of social media—its ability to provide everyone with a voice and a venue to be heard and to influence others with our opinions, ideas, and concerns. So, do you know what your students and community are saying about your institution on social media? Clearly they are out there and they are talking! Are they praising your academics, instructors, residence halls, and dining options, or are they telling their friends and networks problems they recently had enrolling, or complaining about a recent policy change, or problems in the residence halls, or parking (well of course, everyone complains about parking)? These postings—both good and bad—have potentially enormous impact as they get multiplied by the possible number of viewers. The average Facebook user has 155 friends (and don't kid yourself, Facebook is still highly influential, with over three-quarters of teens and adults using it regularly), and the average Twitter user has over 700 followers! The potential reach of these posting, especially the negative ones, is astronomical. How are you going to manage these? Many Higher Education institutions monitor social media and track the number of "Likes" or the number of "Shares" or "Retweets". But more often than not this is done site-by-site and on an ad hoc basis. But modern institutions need more. They need the ability to view and understand both the content and context of the messages and posts to understand which are real concerns versus simply excitement over last weekend's football game. Oracle Student Engagement provides modern institutions with exactly this ability. With Oracle Student Engagement institutions can: Monitor hundreds of thousands of social sites. Create multiple keyword search topics and refine those results using semantic analysis to filter out "noise" or false hits. Understand the sentiment, location, source, and demographics of social messages and posts and drill into the actual messages and posts to see the exact content. Respond to individual messages and posts via the same media and engage the submitter in a productive dialogue and to resolve any issues or problems they were having. Enhance collaboration across campus by forwarding messages to other campus experts for follow-up with the submitter. The result is a truly new and modern means of engagement with your students and all constituents, via their chosen mode of interaction. Today's modern students have high expectations for how they communicate and interact with each other and with the various organizations and institutions in their lives. And at the same time, the pressure for Higher Education institutions to meet these expectations, to improve student outcomes like retention and graduation rates, and to recruit more and better students has never been greater. Modern institutions can achieve these goals with a new strategy and new tools. Oracle Student Engagement is one of these modern tools institutions need to distinguish themselves by meeting student expectations and improving student engagement. Meet our experts and hear more about Oracle's Higher Education solutions, including Oracle Student Engagement. Come see us at the Educause Annual Conference from October 31 to November 3 in Philadelphia, PA.

According to the Pew Research Center, almost 70% of the American public uses some type of social media. For younger adults the percentages are even higher: 86% of young adults aged 18-29 and 80% of...

See What You Missed in Oracle Student Cloud at OpenWorld

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 was a tremendous event, taking over 4 or 5 city blocks in San Francisco with an estimated 60,000 attendees! If you didn’t make it to San Francisco for this year’s event, you missed out on some great technology updates, customer stories, and networking with your peers and Oracle experts. Here are some of the highlights from our Student Cloud analysts, customers, and Oracle experts. It’s a Win for Shawnee State University Congratulations to Shawnee State University for the 2017 Oracle Sustainability Innovation Award! The award recognizes organizations who are taking an environmental lead as well as to reduce costs and improve business efficiencies using green business practices. Not only is Shawnee State engaging students with Oracle Student Cloud, but they are helping to make the environment better too. Pictured above are: Rishi Mashur, Senior Director, Client Partner, Drivestream, Jeff Henley, Executive Vice Chairman, Oracle, and Elinda Boyles, Vice President of Administration and Finance, Shawnee State University. Analyst Coverage Our analyst community were busy presenting, attending sessions, and sharing the latest industry trends with our Oracle team. During their busy week, Ovum’s Nicole Engelbert and Dr. Joyce Kim also spoke with our customers to chart their path to the cloud in their sessions and observations. Dr. Kim’s comments were very complimentary of Oracle’s latest Student Cloud developments. “Perhaps of most interest to institutions pursuing competency-based models, Student Management enables the user institution to define its own academic time periods (instead of the standard semester term), which accommodates flexible or continuous learning activities. Moreover, it has extended its definition of curriculum offerings beyond credit-based courses to encompass competencies and work experience, and credentials beyond degrees (like badges and certificates). In doing so, Oracle is expanding the ways in which institutions can improve educational access and enable further personalization in the student learning environment.” In Nicole’s joint session with Oracle’s Keith Rajecki and Vivian Wong, the title of Nicole’s section summarized it well: “The Great Cloud Migration: Charting a Practical Path that Delivers True Institutional Value.” We were so pleased that Nicole liked what she saw from Oracle’s offerings in Higher Education. Customer Engagement And finally, our customers gave us great feedback during sessions and in the demonstration area about the latest developments in the roadmap, updates from campus, and the path to the cloud in Education and Research. “Great to see how much progress you’ve made in the Student Cloud” “We’re working on our upgrade to Campus Solutions 9.2 now but we’re excited about the prospect of leveraging some of the Student Success components Oracle has released” “We’re moving to Cloud solutions and like the efficiency we gain from delivered integration within the full Oracle Cloud suite for Higher Education—ERP, HCM and now Student Cloud.” Pictured are Oracle’s Student Cloud team in the Student Cloud demonstration booth: Boon Oupaxay, Susan Hoagman, Susan Beidler, and Jim McKendree Find Out More It’s not too late to catch up though—you can access the replay of the executive sessions and keynotes here, in the comfort of your own office. You’ll also be able to download the presentations from the OpenWorld session catalog, including these sessions: “Oracle’s Path to the Cloud for Education and Research” with David Wilkin from Birmingham University, Troy Haan from Boise State, and Nicole Engelbert from Ovum, along with Oracle’s Keith Rajecki and Vivian Wong. “Student Cloud Roadmap - Innovation and Modernization” with Vivian Wong and me focusing on the imminent release of the Student Management component “Student Cloud: Update from the Campus” with Huron Consulting, Shawnee State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison “Student Cloud: Designs To Empower Student and Institution Success” with Liz Jones and Jim McKendree We’re not done yet. The Student Cloud team is earning our frequent flyer points this Fall, hopefully coming to a town near you! We hope to see you over the next few weeks at the Midwest Higher Education User Group in St. Charles, IL and at the EMEA Alliance in Barcelona, Spain as well as Educause 2017 in Philadelphia. Coming close on the heels of the Educause conference is a trip to carry the Student Cloud story to the Alliance Down Under 2017 conference in Brisbane, Australia. See you soon!

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 was a tremendous event, taking over 4 or 5 city blocks in San Francisco with an estimated 60,000 attendees! If you didn’t make it to San Francisco for this year’s event,...