Nile Hits Bullseye in Educause’s 2023 Top 10 IT Issues List

Nile Hits Bullseye in Educause’s 2023 Top 10 IT Issues List

Shortly after Educause’s annual conference, a select group of higher education thought leaders was asked to identify “Educause top 10 issues of the year”. This year the selected group further divided the list into three foundation models: Leading with Wisdom, the Ultra-Intelligent Institution, and Everything is Anywhere.

Leading with Wisdom

The group’s summary of the Leading with Wisdom category states, “Technology leaders need wisdom in order to inspire, lead, and manage their institution, IT organization, and workforce”, and identifies three of the top 10 as belonging in this foundation model.

  • A seat at the table
  • Evolve, Adapt, or Lose Talent
  • Enriching the Leadership Playbook

To become an equal partner in campus strategic planning, IT leaders must first fulfill their operational responsibilities. This not only entails managing day-to-day tactical duties, but also nurturing the next generation of IT leaders, creating growth opportunities for staff at all levels, and implementing measures to retain IT talent.

As we adapt to the changing landscape of work, IT leaders must confront new challenges, such as accommodating employees' desire for greater flexibility, developing professional opportunities, and preventing talent loss. The cost of recruiting new talent has risen, while higher education's ability to compete with the private sector has diminished as the talent pool shrinks.

Nile aims to achieve simplicity across all aspects of its business and the customer operations. By adopting a single network architecture, the company can effectively reduce operational complexity and significantly lower costs, while also unlocking new opportunities for its staff. As a forward-thinking CIO, it is important to seize this opportunity and impart the proven “keep it simple” (KIS) principles to your team. This not only fosters staff growth but also reinforces the institution’s commitment to investing in its educational mission.

Create one simple network architecture

Legacy NaaS vendors typically deploy numerous devices that encompass multiple generations and variations of operating systems. To support these devices, a team of network architects and engineers must design and maintain thousands of unique networks. This results in a highly complex environment that demands significant human intervention and resources, diverting resources from the educational goals of the institution.

In contrast, NaaS by Nile utilizes a single network architecture for all customers, featuring a single access layer switch, one distribution switch, one indoor and one outdoor access point. Embracing a vision of simplicity, this approach provides an opportunity to shed legacy constraints and rethink the purpose of network infrastructure. Ultimately, the function of network gear is to securely transport data between edge and servicing devices, making it unnecessary (and counterproductive) to design a customized, one-of-a-kind network architecture for each customer.

Imagine the difference between contacting tech support and immediately addressing an issue versus being required to provide a network map, device configuration, OS version, and logs before support can even begin (a process that can take hours).

Removing the operational complexity

Legacy NaaS vendors have a very large number of configuration and hardware permutations, which leads to overly complex environments that are difficult to operate efficiently. It is not unusual to develop a matrix of which OS works with which AP or switch and when calling tech support, to find out that some upgrades are needed before the troubleshooting can begin. 

In contrast, the Nile solution has one OS with a very small footprint that only captures the necessary features required for today’s networks. This approach creates an opportunity to eliminate problems before they impact the network and automate solutions to avoid affecting networks in the future.

Through its service offering, Nile relieves the campus network team of low-level tasks that can be automated or eliminated altogether. This approach creates numerous opportunities for employee professional development, fosters a healthier work-life balance, and allows IT to devote more attention to high-level requirements or improve services that align with the educational mission of the institution.

Now the CIO is free to think strategically with the campus senior leadership, at least from the network perspective.

The Ultra-Intelligent Institution

The group’s summary of The Ultra-Intelligent Institution category indicates that “Data and analytics can provide institutions with intelligence offered through ongoing, useful, and increasingly sophisticated insight”, and identified four of the top 10 as belonging in this foundation model.

  • Privacy and Cybersecurity 101
  • Smooth sailing for the student experience
  • Expanding enrollment and the bottom line
  • Moving from data insight to data action

Nile has established a core security strategy that rests on zero trust access and a unified authentication, and authorization protocols for every user including their devices.
This approach effectively minimizes the daily risks faced by students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, Nile's operating system is notably smaller than typical network OS, with a reduction of 80-85%. This smaller size means that there are fewer security vulnerabilities in the system, thus lowering the likelihood of breaches.

Nile enhances security and protects the online experiences of its users by applying zero trust access, which allows students to focus on their studies and increases their likelihood of academic achievement. Additionally, with the insights gained from analyzing network data, Nile is able to optimize operations and enhance efficiencies.

Everything is Anywhere

The group’s summary of the Everything is Anywhere category points out that, “with the institution no longer confined to the physical campus, leaders must find new strategies for supporting technology everywhere and anywhere” and identifies three of the top 10 as belonging in this foundation model.

  • The new era of IT support
  • Online, In Person, or Hybrid? Yes.
  • SaaS, ERP, and CRM: An Alphabet Soup of Opportunity.

Nile's campus NaaS implementation proves highly effective in reducing the workload of the campus helpdesk. This translates as enhanced capacity for the helpdesk team to provide better services, such as supporting new classroom technologies, hybrid teaching and learning tools, automation of other services, and more. By using Nile's solution, institutions can allocate freed-up resources to assist researchers and professors in developing new VR content, tackling similar challenges, and addressing any other institutional priority.

The Nile portal transforms the campus support model, shifting from a reactive helpdesk-centered approach to a faster, more efficient user-centric model. This results in a faster and better user experience, reduced IT workload that can spark or expedite a cultural shift toward automation and efficiency.

Unlike situations in which institutions adopted new SaaS or ERP solutions, only to realize that they did not work as advertised due to poorly designed, implemented, or operated networks, Nile eliminates such risks and simultaneously enhances the value of previous technology investments. Our technology comes with SLAs which guarantee reliability and efficiency, along with financial commitment.

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