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The future of learning

Slalom provides dedicated teams of seasoned technologists, business advisors, data scientists, and change practitioners to help organizations achieve their most ambitious business goals. As an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, we can help you build your future, faster.

Our AWS-related education expertise spans infrastructure, development, and security. We can guide cloud adoption strategy for a more secure and scalable infrastructure. We can develop, modernize, or re-platform your critical applications—and accelerate integration with legacy applications, such as learning management systems (LMS) and student information systems (SIS). We can also support the delivery of education-specific data, information and insights; offer cost-cutting strategies for infrastructure; and enhance the security posture of operating environments via well-architected AWS cloud services. 

Spelling out the data

Slalom helped Atlanta Public Schools (APS) move its Data + Information Group to the AWS cloud and create data dashboards that empower teachers, students, parents, and administrators.


Knowing that the district needed much better insight into its student data, APS brought in a “data visionary” and set up a new Tableau server. Still, the APS Data + Information Group team found themselves struggling with an old SQL server and with having to write all their new Tableau workbooks against copies of the production database. Onsite training in data warehousing and new dashboards solved some of these issues, but inadequate infrastructure and automation soon became a significant challenge.

The team repeatedly ran out of storage space or had trouble getting access to data sources in a timely fashion. They knew the answer lay in moving to the cloud and gaining the flexibility to scale and to push that valuable data out to parents and students, in a confidential way.


Slalom helped the team evaluate public cloud options and select Amazon Web Services. We then worked together to architect and build an end-to-end data platform in AWS using Amazon Redshift and Matillion, a third-party tool that automates ETL (extract, transfer, load) jobs to connect data sources.

Security was, and is, a top priority, especially after a ransomware attack crippled the city of Atlanta. With granular controls in the AWS cloud, Slalom was able to help the team achieve compliance with a rigorous security management standard, ISO/IEC 27001, as well as Center for Internet Security (CIS) AWS Foundation Benchmark. 


The resulting dashboards aren’t just flexible and easy to understand – they're having an immense impact on students, teachers and parents alike. User reports show that people are accessing and using the dashboards from all across the school system and district. Teachers report that the dashboards have enhanced their understanding of students’ needs. One of the most popular dashboards is the Goal Setting Dashboard, which allows teachers, counselors and students to review past performance together and to collaboratively set both life goals and more immediate academic goals for the student. 

Having a secure platform in the AWS cloud also enables integration with the district's confidential student information system. As a result, APS will be able to push out secure student-level dashboards to parents and students in the upcoming school year.

Saving time and money

We helped Georgia State University's technology team lower infrastructure costs, learn how to build serverless applications, and eliminate manual upgrades and patching. Now they can spend less time and money maintaining and more time innovating.


Georgia State's Student Dashboard displays up-to-date information and alerts, so students can perform key tasks such as registering for courses, paying bills, managing financial aid, and contacting advisors. The initial rollout was considered a success, but the university soon saw significant room to enhance the dashboard’s operation. It had been implemented in a legacy student portal that made adding new features and tuning system performance difficult. Additionally, the dashboard relied on the same, on-premises student portal infrastructure, which can cause performance bottlenecks during busy periods such as the beginning of the academic year. 

A recent consolidation with a nearby college presented the perfect opportunity for change. As they rethought IT operations for the merger, Georgia State's technology team also looked for ways standardize their approach to building and maintaining applications.


Georgia State's technology leaders knew they needed to adopt serverless architecture to achieve scalable performance while eliminating infrastructure management. After reviewing the available options, they determined that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the best fit and engaged Slalom to migrate the Student Dashboard to the cloud. They needed help with both architecting the new infrastructure and adopting best practices around cloud solution development and delivery. 

Together, we re-designed the application using Typescript to deliver a mobile and web client based on Angular 2 and Ionic 2. Typescript-based backend APIs, built using AWS Lambda serverless compute service, grab data from the student information system based on the student’s authenticated identity. A custom domain name in Amazon API Gateway routes these requests to Serverless Framework APIs. Static content is delivered via Amazon CloudFront from Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets. AWS CloudFormation simplifies provisioning and management of cloud infrastructure. Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) is used for connectivity to on-premises identity and authentication servers. 


The new cloud-based Student Dashboard application delivers high performance at low cost. In its first month of release, the dashboard supported more than 50,000 students—serving 4.5 million AWS Lambda requests and 8.3 million Amazon API Gateway requests—for a total bill of $375. 

The dashboard also provides single sign-on convenience for students thanks to successful integration with the university's on-premise OpenID service. The application architecture is highly available by default because of the geo-redundant nature of the AWS Cloud, ensuring that it is always there when students need it. AWS frees up time and resources for innovation. The time and effort previously spent patching, installing upgrades, and troubleshooting can now be spent on more high-value projects such as next-generation analytics and rapid and responsive solution development.

Cloud assessment with AMS

We helped an international education publisher and assessment service provider complete a POC and TCO analysis in order to accelerate global expansion and keep costs down.


Our client needed to accelerate expansion into Canada, Germany and Australia, while keeping an eye on cost savings. The company wanted to achieve this via architecture and a complete approach-transformation (driving toward a minimum of a 30% reduction in technology OpEx). A POC of using AMS became the desired approach for driving this path out.

We also needed to enable our client’s executives to make a “go forward” decision after completing an analysis of benefits, costs, and changes required for an operating model leveraging AWS Managed Services (AMS).


The new solution and architecture would enable testing of Application Migration AMS. Slalom partnered closely with the client’s TechOps and Security teams to ensure the cloud environment was set up in a manner to best simulate operational capabilities, data, and system level protective controls. This was a critical element to ensure the POC would most accurately reflect true mass migration scenarios.


The AWS|AMS POC results demonstrated a strong business case to move toward the AWS|AMS hybrid model balancing risk and reward, enabling high availability, stability, and speed to market resulting in a better customer experience for learners and educators. The solution also aligned with the client’s strategy of strong security and risk management; access and outcomes; and 2020 sustainability.

The TCO analysis found that a move to AWS will save the client $18.2M over the five-year period, a savings of 21% compared to investment in the on-premise environment. AWS will reduce annual run costs by $6.7M, with infrastructure operations contributing 77% of the recurring savings.

GuardDuty implementation

We provided guidance and best practices to help a provider of formative assessments implement GuardDuty to monitor CloudTrail and VPC Flow Logs to enable intelligent threat detection.


Our client had a traditional monolithic application and an opportunity to begin using containers with Amazon ECS as a move toward a microservices architecture. The client was also interested in containers to more efficiently utilize their EC2 infrastructure by packing more compute power onto a smaller number of instances. There was also an opportunity for the client to increase their security posture by taking advantage of Amazon GuardDuty.


We implemented Amazon GuardDuty in all regions and emitted alerts to Amazon CloudWatch Events, which are then processed by Lambda to create events within their issue tracking system.  We deployed an ECS cluster which is capable of running multiple production environments from a single cluster of ECS instances.


The client successfully implemented GuardDuty and stated they will now take steps to automate processing of events from the service.  While their application is still mostly monolithic, they have successfully deployed containers to an ECS cluster.