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Selecting a suitable Cloud Computing technology deployment model for an academic institute : A case study

Ramachandran N. (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), Kozhikode, India)
Sivaprakasam P. (Sri Vasavi College, Erode, India)
Thangamani G. (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), Kozhikode, India)
Anand G. (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), Kozhikode, India)

Campus-Wide Information Systems

ISSN: 1065-0741

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Cloud Computing (CC) technology is getting implemented rapidly in the educational sector to improve learning, research and other administrative process. As evident from the literature review, most of these implementations are happening in the western countries such as USA, UK, while the level of implementation of CC in developing countries such as India is rare. Moreover, implementing CC technology in the educational sector require various decisions to be made by the managers of the Information Technology (IT) department such as selecting suitable deployment model, vendor providing cloud service, etc. in their respective university or institute. The purpose of this paper is to attempt to address one such decision. Since, different types of CC deployment are available; selecting a suitable one plays a key role, as it might have an impact on the requirements of various stakeholders such as students, teachers, administrative staff (especially the staff members in the IT department), etc. apart from affecting the overall performance of the facilities such as a laboratory. Naturally, a proper decision by analysing multiple perspectives has to be made while carrying out such strategic initiatives by any educational institute.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study methodology has been chosen as the research methodology to discuss and demonstrate the above decision problem that was faced in real time by one of the educational institutes in India, offering high-quality management education. The IT managers of this institute were planning to switch over to CC technology for the computer laboratory and they have to make a decision of choosing suitable alternative CC deployment models such as private cloud (PRC), public cloud (PUC), community cloud (COC), hybrid cloud (HYC), etc. by analysing and comparing them based on various factors and perspectives such as elasticity, availability, scalability, etc. Since, multiple factors are involved in making such a strategic decision, the most commonly used Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) model – namely, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is used as a decision support during the decision making process.

Findings

The team of decision makers, who were planning to implement CC in the case institute, found that PRC is best as they believed that it would provide adequate cost savings, apart from providing necessary security to maintain confidential information such as student's detail, grades, etc.

Research limitations/implications

The results obtained are based on a single case study. Hence, they cannot be generalized for institutions across educational sector. However, the decision making situation and understanding its impact on the stakeholders of the educational institute can be common across various educational institute.

Practical implications

Using a real-life case study of an educational institute, this paper presented a strategic decision making situation, which needs to be considered by the IT managers of the educational institutes when they decide to switch over to CC technology. Various criteria to be considered during the decision making process was identified from the literature review were identified and enumerated. These factors would useful for the IT managers of the different educational institute and they can suitably add or delete these decision criteria as per their requirements and situation at hand. Moreover, the algorithm of AHP, which was used as a decision support, was presented in a step-by-step manner, which should be beneficial for the practitioners to apply the same for similar decision making situations.

Originality/value

It is believed that this paper would be the first to report on a strategic decision of choosing the deployment model for CC technology especially in the educational sector. Similarly, this paper would also contribute to the field of CC, as it lists out the decision criteria that are to be considered for making the above decision, which has not got adequate importance. Lastly, this paper is also unique in the realm of AHP because application for a decision problem in the field of CC especially in the educational sector is least reported.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Many thanks are due to the Creative Decision Foundation for providing the free test version (β) of the software “Super Decisions”, which was used to solve this problem; otherwise it would have been more tedious and cumbersome.

Citation

N., R., P., S., G., T. and G., A. (2014), "Selecting a suitable Cloud Computing technology deployment model for an academic institute : A case study", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 319-345. https://doi.org/10.1108/CWIS-09-2014-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited