Learning lessons about the cloud

Deploying a cloud strategy for schools can feel like jumping off a high diving board for the first time. Questions like ‘What’s the risk?’ and ‘Is this going to hurt?’ run through your mind.

Fear not, a new report, Cloud Computing in Educationfrom research company GlobalData reveals:

  • why the cloud is such a draw for education providers –  particularly schools
  • how it is driving digital transformation across the sector
  • ways in which schools can overcome lingering barriers to adoption

Many schools, academies, and similar institutions have already leapt from that diving board. According to GlobalData, 96% if universities and 35% of school have implemented cloud technology. And spending on cloud-based technologies among education institutions will continue to grow through 2020/21.

It’s easy to see why. The research finds that improving cost-effectiveness and reducing capital expenditure (capex) are key motivations for moving to the cloud (see Figure 1).

Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

Figure 1: Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

The report cites the example of the Academies Enterprise Trust. This is one of the largest institutions to adopt Google’s G-Suite and Chromebooks, and the move is anticipated to save £7.7 million over the next five years. Mainly through savings in licensing, power saving, server hardware and maintenance.

The cloud can also help improve your service delivery without significant extra investment. Take disaster recover for example. Your school needs to maintain consistent service delivery, but small-scale cyber attacks remain common. And cash-strapped institutions that opt to sweat older IT systems remain vulnerable. According to the GlobalData report, “tens of schools” in the South-West of England suffered from attacks over the past year. With some paying hackers for the release of data. A cloud-based disaster recovery strategy cost-effectively combats this issue, storing data securely and remotely in UK-based data centres.

Cloud solutions also give schools the flexibility to throttle capacity up or down depending on demand. All done quickly, cheaply, with little or no supplier input and no need for redundant capacity.

And the cloud offers unprecedented opportunity to share services between schools. One example of this involved the joint procurement of a single back office system among eight Sussex and Surrey colleges operated as a private cloud by SISSC Ltd (Shared Services in Sussex and Surrey Colleges). According to the report, “The cloud application of this FE Sussex collaborative project provides the opportunity to make significant cost savings through the reduction in individual college servers, over and above common software savings.”

Make no mistake, cloud computing is a key technology trend across UK education, driven by:

  • the potential cost savings
  • the desire to improve service delivery
  • the drive for a more flexible and scalable IT estate
  • greater collaboration
  • a ‘cloud-first’ attitude

Now is the time for your school to take the plunge. Time to take the leap and benefit from a cost-effective, flexible and secure future.

The full report is available here:
Cloud Computing in Education – the growth of cloud based technologies

Jonathan Smith 
Public Sector Business Unit Leader

Would you like Cloud with that?

Cloud hosting

Exciting news from Konica Minolta – we’ve been awarded a place on the G-Cloud 10 framework and are delighted to support the Public Sector on its Cloud First and digital transformation journey with Managed Cloud Hosting services.

Why the excitement?

Our relationship with Public Sector organisations goes way back in time – to before the existence of the internet and cloud solutions – so we know a thing or two about the challenges they face. That’s why we made it a priority to offer our services on G-Cloud 10 to ensure that we’re in a strong position to help.

When it comes to Cloud adoption in Public Sector, it’s clear from evidence that good intent and desire exists to make this transition however, there’s still a long way to go especially when the all-important governance and security standards, in areas such as justice, education and healthcare, make quick deployment of new technology difficult.

So, while the outlook remains cautious, we anticipate that the uptake of cloud services will continue to increase at pace, based on solid facts and some very reassuring first hand evidence:

It’s a fact. The number of organisations looking at the opportunities cloud brings is growing. A recent study by the Cloud Industry Forum* shows that 82% of public sector organisations have already adopted cloud services, up by 20% on the previous year, demonstrating how rapidly the sector has come to see cloud as an acceptable and essential IT delivery model.

Word of mouth. Every year, Konica Minolta supports around 60 events and exhibitions in Public Sector alone. Increasingly we are asked “can we put that service in the cloud?” and the answer is yes. Yes we can.

In fact, we can answer yes in multiple ways. From a straightforward hosted print solution to being able to provide the highest levels of security with a bespoke engineered model from our technical architects, our focus is firmly on the future and to help Public Sector organisations understand the benefits and take advantage of the many rapid advances in digital technology, including managed cloud hosting services, AI, automation for smarter workplaces, and more.

Learn more about the growth of cloud-based technologies in UK education

3 Reasons why it’s time to revisit the Digital Mailroom

Digital mailroom

The printroom and mailroom should be the heart of any oganisation’s communications strategy.

When combined and optimised effectively these two important assets can become your organisations communications hub, enabling your key stakeholders to streamline processes and communicate more effectively.

Managing incoming mail is a vital aspect of every business, yet in many organisations this process remains too slow, costly and error-prone, significantly disrupting line of business operations, causing further delay and added expense. But help is at hand in the shape of the digital mailroom.

The digital mailroom, or mailroom automation as it is also known, is having somewhat of a renaissance – and when you look closely it’s easy to see why.

Think Bigger

Think about the old fashioned mailroom – which ironically is exactly the thing that many people think of when picturing a digital mailroom. The key point is that the old mailroom processed incoming AND outgoing mail – and a modern digital mailroom should do too. Optimising your inbound mail handling is fantastic – as we’ll see in a few lines time – but it’s a bit half-hearted if you are still sending paper out of the door to other organisations isn’t it!

Go the whole hog and figure out how to do multi-channel output as well as input. Send your invoices electronically, remove the need for pre-printed letterheads, create brand consistency across all outbound communications and much more – truly digitise your business. Not only will you be much more efficient, but your customers and suppliers will thank you to.

Everything Changes

The days of all mail arriving at the office as paper have gone. Content arriving into a business is now quite simply, multi-channel. By that I mean emails, faxes (both paper and electronic), paper, EDI streams, XML files and so on and so forth. So those people that think a digital mailroom solution just handles paper to pdf need to get an update to their thinking.

Kofax describe it well with their “First Mile” phrase – basically anything that comes in the (virtual) door needs to be processed by the digital mailroom. That processing should identify what the content is, extract the relevant information if it can, and then route on to the relevant person or process as quickly as possible. The first mile processing almost becomes ubiquitous – just happening as far as the user is concerned – and needs to happen for all of these multi-channel inputs.

One Thing to Rule Them All

So onto the last reason for looking at a digital mailroom automation solution – efficiency. Not the efficiency of processing the content – which I think is a given – but the efficiency of the business strategy used to select software. Think about it – when looking to optimise business processes most people look at it process by process. AP, or HR On-boarding, or claims management – the list goes on. As these processes are digitised each one will include a capture element, digitising the content that needs to be passed to the process. Unfortunately each one will likely include a separate capture element – not re-using what has already been built for the other processes. A digital mailroom however, can provide content to ALL of these processes, from any of the multi-channel sources that I described above. So not only are you getting the benefits of the digital mailroom, but you’re also getting yourself a long way down the road to digitally enabling all of your other business processes.

But don’t take my word for it – Industry expert, Harvey Spencer, shared his thoughts on this topic in this recent AIIM webinar “Re-imagining the Digital Mailroom for the 21st Century”. The webinar also included expert input from Konica Minolta and Kofax, and customer comment from Winchester City Council. To view the webinar simply follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wV2De4atwE

Hopefully, I’ll have persuaded you that it is time to take another look at digital mailroom automation.

Dave Jones is ECM Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.

Email: dave.jones@konicaminolta.co.uk
Twitter: @InstinctiveDave
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/instinctivedave/

How can we all get into the flow, more often and for longer?

Digital Workplace Initiative

Ever have one of those moments in the office when work seemed effortless and you raced through your to-do list, seemingly without distractions?

You didn’t know it, but you were floworking and a few changes in your office environment could make those moments more frequent.

Floworking is when workers are at their most productive, relaxed and happy in their workspace.

And how often does this happen? Not as often as we all might like. Only 23% of employees we surveyed, believe they perform at their absolute best at least once a day and 4 in 10 believe they perform at their best three times a week or less.

And it seems floworking is a short-lived state for most of us; just over half (58%) said they performed at their best for only two hours or less, at a time.

Our research also points to the fact that where we work, has an impact on how productive we are. British office workers like “nesting” at their own desk; this is where they reach their moments of peak flow and they don’t feel half as productive outside of the office.

So why can’t we get into the flow more?

According to our research, the five biggest barriers standing in the way of workers getting ‘into the zone’,  are constant emails, dodgy technology, colleagues interrupting them and even feeling hungry or thirsty.

We’re developing technology to help the UK get in the flow and be more productive.

To download a copy of The Digital Workplace Initiative report, click: http://digital.konicaminolta.co.uk.

Dave Jones is ECM Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.

Email: dave.jones@konicaminolta.co.uk
Twitter: @InstinctiveDave
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/instinctivedave/

Find out why top UK companies are investing – heavily – in the digital workplace?

Digital Workplace Initiative

In association with Vanson Bourne, the specialist technology market researcher, we surveyed 100 senior IT decision makers and 1,000 office workers at the start and end of 2016, to ask their views on Digital Workplace Initiatives (DWI).The top three DWIs are:

  1. Enabling effective mobile working (62%)
  2. Enabling effective remote working (56%)
  3. Improving collaborative working technology (49%)

What is a Digital Workplace Initiative?

A Digital Workplace Initiative (DWI) refers to how people, technology (devices, software and connectivity solutions) and organisational culture can work together to boost productivity and create more harmonious work environments.

Download the full report to find out:

  • How much UK firms invested in DWI initiatives last year
  • Why nearly three quarters of businesses said the main reason for implementing a DWI is increasing employee productivity
  • What proportion of UK businesses have already invested in a DWI and what they expect to see in terms of return on investment
  • What office workers regard as the biggest blocks to productivity

The report also highlights how large UK companies are handling the challenge of introducing a DWI, the role technology plays in the overall project and who ‘holds the reins’.

You can download a copy of The Digital Workplace Initiative report at http://digital.konicaminolta.co.uk.

Dave Jones is ECM Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.

Email: dave.jones@konicaminolta.co.uk
Twitter: @InstinctiveDave
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/instinctivedave/