The Cloud Strategy directs our focus to be University First. We will invest in technology that meets the needs of the campus mission for our faculty, students, and administration -- rather than focusing on technology first. For example, in a meeting of Deans, the discussion should not be driven by a question like "What should we do with cloud computing?" Instead, the conversation should be asking "How can we accelerate the pace of our research and tackle problems that today seem impossible?" An administrator seeking to automate the management of a business process should ask: "How can we transform a function (such as student advising, enrollment, travel reimbursement) to make everyone's experience better, faster, and cheaper?" Rather than ask how they can move their workloads to the cloud.
That said, the reason so many institutions have adopted the industry-driven Cloud First strategy, is because it's easy, and if done right, directionally correct. The reality is that when considering a technical solution, the institution should always explore whether a Cloud solution (especially SaaS), makes sense, and adopt cloud solutions where possible and financially sensible given the multi-year trajectory of the IT services market shift to cloud delivery. It is a strategic consideration to avoid being saddled with what will be expensive disjointed legacy technologies down the road. You can become more familiar with the strategy and get a high level view of background, strategy and rationale in UC Berkeley’s Future-Looking Cloud Strategy (PDF).