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Juliane von Bülow

Managing Director of BetterSchool Internatsberatung

BetterSchool organizes placement at English-speaking boarding schools and junior language courses in the UK, US and Canada for international students. We have been providing our service for more than 12 years and have helped more than 7000 families during that time. Our customer parents trust our expertise and deep knowledge of the various educational pathways to help decide which one is right for their child—we always find the best school for the most precious members of a family, their children.

In conversation with Juliane von Bülow, Managing Director of BetterSchool Internatsberatung

Please introduce yourself

My name is Juliane von Bülow, I am the founder and Managing Director of BetterSchool Internatsberatung.

Please describe the company you work for

BetterSchool organizes placement at English-speaking boarding schools and junior language courses in the UK, US and Canada for international students. We have been providing our service for more than 12 years and have helped more than 7000 families during that time. Our customer parents trust our expertise and deep knowledge of the various educational pathways to help decide which one is right for their child—we always find the best school for the most precious members of a family, their children.

Our partner schools trust us due to our extensive knowledge of their offering and who would be best suited to strive at their school. And our children (we call them “our children” during their time at a boarding school) rely on us to guide them through the jungle of the many possibilities—not every option is the best one for their future!

In what ways do you deal with cloud computing in your occupation?

During the first months after starting our business, we did everything using Excel sheets. It soon became obvious, however, that we needed more powerful tools.

Because standardized solutions for our purposes are not offered on the market, we developed our own student-parent-school relationship management system. We spread out to satellite offices in 2008 and began to migrate our system into a web-based solution at a time when cloud computing as such was not yet a common concept or term.

Why do you think that cloud computing can or will play an important role for your company?

Cloud computing is THE backbone of our business. Without it, we would not be the market leader for school placement in German-speaking countries. It guarantees access to all relevant data for our consultants—wherever they work or travel—as well as for our school partners and parents.

Have you already developed a cloud strategy describing your company’s basic path into the cloud in the coming three years? If yes, what is your strategy?

Very easy: continuous improvement to set the state of the art in a continuously changing IT world. Serving our clients faster and more reliably to the highest standards. Integration of services that are already on the market into our setup .

What cloud, if any, is already in use at your company?

It is a hybrid cloud, developed by our partner Bitobito according to our needs and using services from 1und1 and Datev.

How do you handle the many concerns voiced in regard to the cloud? How do you achieve TRUST in CLOUD?

The only concern we hear from our parents is the security of their highly confidential data like contact details, report cards and psychological reports on their child, and credit card details. The GDPR is an important issue for all of these aspects. Since our partner Bitobito is well-known for its concept “Privacy by Design”, development of our cloud applications followed the highest security requirements from the very start. We establish trust among our parents with our parent portal, which is used extensively during the application process. Our parents have faith our end-to-end encrypted platform services.

How do you ensure that your individual departments know which aspects of cloud computing are allowed or forbidden?

Trust is not about cloud computing exclusively—it is about every interaction with any kind of private or confidential data. We have developed guidelines for the entire team, and all our team members are aware of these rules and have to act accordingly.

How do you ensure that your employees have the necessary knowledge to handle a complex sourcing arrangement like cloud computing (selection, contract, SLA management)?

Training of each our employees is a vital part of our routine. The Microsoft Patch Day is usually the day for updating our systems—and our team. We teach our staff what to use and how to use it as well as what is against our regulations, always with respect to current requirements and use-cases.

What qualifications do you think a new IT employee needs in order to meet future IT and specialist requirements, particularly in regard to cloud computing? What kind of people and skills are you looking for?

A new IT employee should possess a whole range of abilities: we need agile thinking, curiosity, expertise in data protection as well as data-based technologies and development, e.g. XP by Scrum. And of course fluent English!

How to you verify the quality of a potential cloud service before putting it to use?

We check every service we need for its compliance with legal regulations. We also work exclusively with an EU-based cloud provider. In the case of Bitobito’s cloud service, we perform code inspections and intensive testing before going live. As a result, we have never had a serious incident with our cloud service during the past 10 years.

Trends/developments: What general future trends in cloud computing do you expect in technical as well as organizational terms?

Cloud computing will be the future—but only if managed in a Trusted Cloud. Microservices designed according to the needs and specifications of a company are safer than the large providers. We do not trust global monoplayers and will therefore avoid them wherever possible.

What

The intention is to motivate decision makers to examine possible solutions, build up their own know-how and conduct test runs. This way, unwarranted blockades can be broken down and an atmosphere of competent and critical discussion established. In other words: Motivating reports by trailblazers persuade other decision makers to relinquish uncritical “no-go” positions.

The ECE Stream “Trust in Cloud” introduces cloud customers and their strategies and experiences with cloud migration projects. This serves to allow other organizations to learn from these experiences. Some of the cases focus on companies at the beginning of their migration projects, while others illustrate the successes achieved and experiences made.

All TiC stories follow a strict principle in that they are not marketing stories; no advertising for any products or businesses is allowed. The essential information is the experience that others can learn from.