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Asia Pacific University completes digital transformation in 18 months with AWS
September 30, 2019 News


Higher learning institutes, be it colleges or universities, want to ensure they have the right infrastructure for their students. Having the right infrastructure means students will have a more studious environment.

But apart from good physical infrastructures like state-of-the-art laboratories, libraries and classrooms, the digital infrastructure needs to be looked into as well. With the current generation of students highly depending on technology, higher learning institutes have also notched up their digital infrastructure.

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. Students today want the information made available to them all the time. Most prefer working on their mobile devices and find researching for articles online within the campus a drag.

Realising this, Asia Pacific University decided to embark on 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 had a lot of legacy operations. They planned to modernise with the same provider, but the cost was high.

But when the approached AWS, the costs were bearable, which made them present to their board and received the green light to migrate to AWS infrastructure. Having started their DevOps transformation in 2017, the entire restructuring of the 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 frontend. 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 realised the amount of time they are able to save when most of their routine work like attendance taking is now able to be automated.

For the students, the response has also been the same. Judging by the positive comments they’ve received on the various platform, the changes made do have a direct impact on how students are doing their studies.

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, a student fails C-programming, the system will recommend to the student what to study to retake the exam in a month.

For examinations in the future, the university is inspired by Amazon Go, whereby they plan to use the same system for students when it comes to their exams. This includes using facial recognition and biometrics to identify the students, the course as well as checks 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 now are 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 and look at how they managed to do it.

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.”