Marist Partnership with IBM Provides Advanced Analytics for Education and Research

Providing technology for education and research

Regarded as an innovator for integrating technology and education, Marist is constantly looking for new ways to use technology to expand upon the educational services and courses it offers. Recognizing analytics as a powerful capability that could play an important part in the future careers of its students, Marist sought to make its existing business analytics technologies available to students and professors in a variety of academic and research programs. The college also sought to provide analytics capabilities and supporting compute resources to small businesses and other educational institutions across the US.

Importantly, from the very beginning of its initiative, Marist identified a challenge that had cropped up in its previous efforts to provide analytics capabilities to students—faculty members were spending excessive amounts of time setting up and configuring systems and software to deliver analytics technologies. According to Bill Thirsk, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Marist College, “Professors were spending more time acting as helpdesk support than actually teaching.”

This issue prompted the college’s IT management team to begin looking for a more cost-efficient way to provide access to analytics—a solution that could reduce the amount of technical support and the associated support costs.

Taking advantage of a flexible infrastructure

With a mission to create a new model for delivering analytics technology to a worldwide audience of users, Marist worked with IBM to create a solution. Taking into consideration needs for power, efficiency and flexibility, the logical conclusion was to use cloud computing.

Fortunately, the college had previously implemented a cloud infrastructure to support its administrative and educational systems. Based on this foundation, IBM worked with the college to implement an IBM SmartCloud solution, providing a cost-effective way for the college to deliver analytics capabilities using its existing cloud. “This is a great example of how a business or a college can take advantage of an opportunity if they are cloud-enabled,” says Thirsk.

Currently, the college’s cloud helps to provide analytics technology to a wide variety of programs, including technical disciplines and also business, liberal arts and communications programs. “Students learn how to apply analytics and use them as a tool in their field of study—discovering how to use the technology to solve business problems,” says Roger Norton, dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics.

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Excerpt courtesy of the IBM Systems and Technology Smarter Computing article “Marist College gets the most out of its cloud environment” Copyright IBM Corporation 2012.

For More Information

To learn more about Smarter Computing from IBM, visit:
To learn more about IBM SmartCloud solutions, please visit:
For more information about Marist, please visit:

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