As school IT administrators start planning for summer technology projects, they continue to be challenged with budget cuts and the pressure to deliver more new and innovative services. As they deal with this “new norm,” I think we will see more schools leap to the cloud in the coming year.
More than 22 million students, faculty and staff already use Live@edu. In one year, we’ve doubled our usage making Live@edu the most widely used cloud productivity service for education. There are so many criteria schools list when choosing a cloud provider. Last month, Microsoft partnered with Wired Magazine to survey its community to see how Office 365 and Google Apps stack up against those needs. Learn more here about why Office 365 was the people’s choice.
We are starting to roll out Office 365 with Georgia State University being the very first deployment. Today, I am excited to announce the following schools are also moving to Office 365.
University of Nebraska: Nebraska is currently migrating to the cloud from Lotus Notes to Office 365, and cites that Microsoft provided the best proposal to meet the University’s overall requirements relating to superior web-based interface, better functionality, security and cost.
Tulane University: Tulane is in the process of migrating its faculty and staff from on premise Exchange to Office 365. They wanted a cloud solution to help reduce hardware and other costs, and they chose Office 365 not only because it helped reduce their total cost of ownership, but because it delivered a seamless collaboration environment with all the functionality end users were already used to.
University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA): UTSA is moving to Office 365 to reduce hardware and datacenter costs and ease administration without sacrificing the service levels and security it had come to expect from Exchange Server. Read the full case study here.
Kentucky Community Technical College System (KCTCS): KCTCS chose Office 365 to provide its 110,000+ students a true collaborative environment that will facilitate personalized learning across the system. They will continue to provide on-premise Exchange and Lync as a voicemail replacement solution to their faculty and staff and will eventually integrate with the Lync services the students will be utilizing.
University of New Mexico: New Mexico’s flagship university chose the Office 365 platform for its security and interoperability for 45,000 students, faculty and staff. UNM needed a mixed solution of both hosted Exchange and on premise presence with collaboration tools and an identity management solution to address their diverse needs across campus, yet still be able to deliver a unified experience to all.
Customers are choosing Office 365 over competitors for our deep expertise in developing productivity tools with world class security, privacy, compliance and accessibility features. Addressing accessibility is not only an important human challenge; it is also one that for many of our customers can carry significant legal penalties if not dealt with appropriately. No provider, including Microsoft, will ever be perfect as far as accessibility is concerned, but Microsoft has a long track record of investments in the provision of enabling technologies across our product set. If you take the components of Office 365 as just one example you will find detailed documentation on what we have done. For those public institutions that need to comply with ADA/Section 508, the VPATs we provide go back many years.
Microsoft has also made deep investments in security, privacy and compliance to help schools move to the cloud with confidence. Office 365 is the first and only major cloud vendor to meet the rigors of U.S. HIPAA requirements. Microsoft is the only vendor to proactively offer a business associate agreement as part of the service terms.
A lot of universities doing research or managing sensitive intellectual property still want to keep data internal and don’t want that data in the cloud or being transmitted into the cloud. We have a rich co-existence story and so for those schools who want to keep Exchange on premise and run it in hybrid with the online environment; we have by far the best experience.
Some will say you don’t need a rich client to do everything in the browser, but that’s not true. With Office 365, you keep the Outlook client people are used to, so you don’t have to retrain people and relearn how Outlook works in some competitive workaround that really doesn’t provide the full functionality of Outlook that people have come to rely on. File fidelity is also important. For those institutions that have a deep investment in Office, they don’t want to lose years of documentation and coursework.
Office 365 is now available for schools via our EES program. Check out the trial and let us know what you think.