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Asia Pacific University Completes Digital Transformation in 18 months with AWS


Over a decade ago, universities that offered free pubic WIFI, have an online database of e-journals and modern IT laboratories were considered top-notch. Today the demand for technology has gone beyond that. As today’s general public, students today want information available to them quickly, all the time, on any mobile device, wherever they are.

With this realisation, Asia Pacific University began their digital transformation journey. Being a university that focuses on technology and design courses, their aim was simple; to ensure software and application is delivered to meet the highest quality.

According to Reza M. Ganji, Digital Transformation Lead, Asia Pacific University, the university initiated a small move and decided to migrate their applications to AWS. Prior to this, the university operated on legacy systems and programs. They initially planned to modernize with the same provider, but the cost was high.

When they approached AWS and found that the costs were bearable, they put forth a proposal to their board and received the green light to migrate to AWS. Having started their DevOps transformation in 2017, the entire restructuring of their infrastructure and migration was completed in early 2019.

“Migrating our services to AWS has increased our efficiency by 116 times. We have 103 AWS Lambda services running. 100% of our infrastructure runs on AWS, from the backend and front end. Everything is faster, cheaper and more scalable on AWS.”

Today, the university uses technology in every aspect possible. From attendance reports to library services to taking exams, Reza pointed out that the drive behind this successful transformation was also the change of mindset among their staff.

Getting lecturers to use technology in teaching is no easy feat, but Reza said they were able to reduce negative responses by 75% since implementing various applications and services. The lecturers appreciated the automation of some of their daily routine tasks, freeing them of the more mundane, time-consuming tasks such as attendance roll-calls.

For the students, the response has also been the same. Judging by the positive comments they’ve received on various platforms, the changes made have shown a direct impact on student learning.

With AI being a trendy topic, APU is working with AWS AI specialist to embed AI into its learning environment. Using the example of e-journals, Reza said the university plans to use AWS to pull results of searches and compare with what students want and recommend a journal. For example, if a student fails C-programming, the system will recommend what to study to retake the exam in a month.

The university also has plans to use Amazon Go for examinations, taking advantage of the facial recognition and biometrics processes to identify the students, the course, as well their eligibility to take the exam.

When it comes to innovation, Reza commented that 60% of the students and employees are working on research development programs with AWS. For the students, the courses are 100% free at the AWS Training Centre.

Since working with AWS, Reza added the university has joined the Amazon Partner Network in 2018 and are now an AWS Public Transformation Partner as well. Through this, the university helps governments, education and non-profit organisations in their transformation journey. At the same time, he added that other universities and industries have also come to APU to see how they have digitally transformed.

As Reza puts it, “Speed and agility are key to run this program. AWS has a wide selection of services. We didn’t face any problems and used all the services available. AWS is way ahead of the pace in innovation, ensuring our journey was smooth from start to finish.”