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How We Sharpened Our Agility with Cloud and IT

Ashish Jain, Chief Technology Officer, CalSTRS
Ashish Jain, Chief Technology Officer, CalSTRS

Ashish Jain, Chief Technology Officer, CalSTRS

An essential function of any organization is to periodically evaluate its IT infrastructure in relation to its business needs, drivers and priorities. CalSTRS has three high-priority business drivers: mitigating operational risks, transforming stakeholder experience and controlling costs. CalSTRS is addressing its highest priorities by implementing a hybrid cloud IT infrastructure model that will provide cost-effective security, agility, usability and flexibility as a critical foundation for fulfilling its enterprise strategies.

CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world today, and the second-largest pension fund in the U.S. Our top priority is safeguarding and supporting the business operation that contains our educators’ data and delivers their pensions. 

With more than 960,000 members and beneficiaries, CalSTRS is committed to providing the best possible digital experience to our stakeholders by leveraging technology to securely transform business and service delivery models to maximize operational efficiency. This digital transformation is part of the CalSTRS Strategic Plan adopted in 2019.

To effectively control the total cost of ownership of IT assets, it is imperative to contain and optimize the IT operational cost by establishing a flexible framework. CalSTRS can then use multiple options to control better the cost for fulfilling an availability requirement of a business operation, as well as having the ability to timely and swiftly optimize its capability to support on-demand services.

  ​CalSTRS has adopted a cloud-smart policy during the past few years, especially when needing a new system  

IT is meeting CalSTRS’ top business needs by becoming an agile provider of solutions and services to its business stakeholders, as well as serving as the owner/operator of the organization’s IT infrastructure. To achieve our goal to become an agile provider, we must take measured steps and follow a controlled process to ultimately establish a Data Center as a Service (DCaaS) model to business stakeholders. A large portion of the CalSTRS IT portfolio is already hosted in third party data centers, and some are also in varying forms of cloud solutions. CalSTRS has adopted a cloud-smart policy during the past few years, especially when needing a new system. Because of our three high-priority business drivers, CalSTRS is preparing to migrate critical or high-priority on-premises applications to a hybrid cloud solution (or multi-modal data center) which provides flexibility that enables CalSTRS to timely mitigate risks, support CalSTRS enterprise strategic goals, and establish a flexible framework for cost containment and capacity optimization.

Once the DCaaS model is established, IT will be in a better position to deliver the right services, at the right times, at an optimized cost. It is critical that the selected multi-modal data center solution can uphold CalSTRS’ security and privacy standards, mitigate risks in a timely way, support its digital transformation initiatives, control and contain cost, as well as meet all service level agreements. We are confident in our strategy and the built-in flexibility in our approach to further enhance business resiliency and operating efficiency.

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