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Microsoft Office 365 for Education Customer Solution Case Study University of West London: Using the Cloud to Start a Life-Long ConnectionOverview ―At the end of the day, students come to UWL toCountry or Region:United KingdomIndustry:Education prepare themselves to get jobs. If we are to help them, we need to ensure that they are proficient andCustomer ProfileUWL has approximately 14,000 accustomed to using the tools they’re going to beundergraduate and graduate students, aswell as 1,000 faculty and staff members. using in the workplace, and that means Microsoft.‖It offers degrees in subjects ranging from Paul Hopkins, Interim IT Director, University of West Londonbusiness to music technology, from lawto the culinary arts and from engineeringto midwifery. The University of West London (UWL) needed to meet its students’ expectation for modern, high-quality IT services, thatBusiness SituationThe University wanted both to modernize equipped them with the industry-standard tools to help themits existing student email system and to study and collaborate (not only with the university but with eachcreate a collaboration infrastructure thatwould enable students and staff to other and also with prospective employers). Investment in ITinteract more effectively through a infrastructure had not kept pace with user demand particularlypersonalized gateway to the informationthey need. over the past few years. Rather than attempt to improve what it had, UWL decided to play ―leap frog‖ and provide its studentsSolutionUWL carefully considered its options and with the best possible environment for learning. A task force atchose to adopt Microsoft Office 365 for UWL examined the options for a more modern messaging andeducation. collaboration environment and a product that was sufficientlyBenefits flexible to provide a gateway to all the information students Prepares students for the workplace Improved accessibility and availability need. As a result, the University chose to adopt Microsoft® Enables IT to add value elsewhere Office 365 for education. Not only has UWL gained a Facilitates a life-long connection Improves communication and collaboration environment of greater sophistication than any it collaboration has had before, but it has also gained a tool for engaging with students that goes far beyond what it had initially anticipated.
Situation Docs and Gmail versus Microsoft Office 365 Server. Its faculty, staff, and students relied for education. While there was support on Microsoft Outlook® for an email client, among members of the task force for both Microsoft Word for word processing, as cloud-based options, the University made well as other applications in the Microsoft the decision based on the needs of the Office suite. Additionally, the university students themselves. relied on a number of other applications that it integrated with these core Microsoft ―At the end of the day,‖ says Paul Hopkins, applications on an ad hoc basis. But the the former Interim Director of IT at UWL, University’s IT team was having to spend so ―Students come to UWL to prepare them- much time maintaining this environment selves to get jobs. If we are to help them, that it was preventing the team from get- we need to ensure that they are proficient ting ahead on projects that were of higher and accustomed to using the tools they’re value both to students and administrators. going to be using in the workplace, and that means Microsoft.‖―This isn’t just about Furthermore, the environment that had been in place was designed to support An integrated, cloud-based solutioncollaboration while students and faculty on-site only. Neither Microsoft Office 365 for education faculty nor students could access the combines the familiar Microsoft Officethey’re studying at infrastructure from home or from a mobile desktop suite with online versions of next-university—it’s about device. Looking around at the degree to generation Microsoft communications and which the world was becoming more collaboration services, including:creating a life-long mobile and demanding access to systems and services at any time, from anywhere, Microsoft Exchange® Online for email,connection between the and from any device, the University knew it shared calendars, and shared addressstudents and the needed to make changes in a number of books. Microsoft Lync® Online for instant dimensions in order to remake theUniversity.‖ University’s IT infrastructure into one that messaging and online video would truly support and enhance the conferencing. Paul Hopkins, Interim IT Director, UWL Microsoft Office Web Apps for online overall education experience that they access to Microsoft Office files. wanted to deliver. Microsoft SharePoint® Online for collaboration, resource sharing and Solution generating an integrated and UWL created a task force comprised of personalized portal. students, faculty, IT staff, and administrators. Together this team created These applications run in data centers a requirements document that outlined the owned and operated by Microsoft, and features and functions that a more modern Microsoft maintains the servers and the IT infrastructure would need—to support software on a day-to-day basis. This frees IT students, to facilitate learning, to enable personnel at UWL to devote their time and better collaboration between staff, students attention to activities that are more and faculty, faculty and administration, and strategically valuable than maintaining the more. Then, the team sought out solutions email infrastructure. And, because that could meet those requirements. Microsoft keeps the Office 365 for education software up–to–date on the back After weeks of review, the task force end, users are always working with the created a short list of contenders: Google
latest software releases—without the local they will use most commonly in the IT team having to oversee server migrations workplace, even as it provides full and upgrades. immersion into the online community at UWL. Building out a new collaboration environment For faculty, Office 365 for education Mauli Arora, a Project Manager in the IT enables a wide range of new ways to department at UWL who has considerable interact with students and colleagues. experience working with Microsoft Faculty members can distribute class SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online, materials through SharePoint Online—and undertook management of the project to those materials could range from bring Office 365 for education into the documents to videos to code samples to University. ―She undertook this project with fully compiled software packages. Students passion and zeal,‖ says Mr. Hopkins, ―and and faculty even gain the ability to interact she created prototype solutions that she using Lync-based video conferencing,―All the companies demonstrated to dozens of groups on which provides an entirely new way forwhose products we use… campus to create an atmosphere of excitement about this.‖ individuals and groups to interact at the University.understand that this is Ms. Arora’s demonstrations—which can be For the IT organization at UWL, Office 365where the future is going viewed on YouTube—succeeded in for education offers a significant andand they want to be sure generating considerable enthusiasm. In particular, she devoted considerable time tangible return—time. Because Microsoft maintains the software and the serversthat their tools can to showing the kinds of interactions that supporting Office 365 for education, the IT SharePoint Online would enable—including team at UWL can focus on other activitiessupport institutions personal pages on which students could that they might have been unable to get tousing Office 365 for present themselves and their portfolio of work, connect with classmates, collaborate as quickly because of the time necessary to maintain the old email infrastructure.education.‖ on projects, and much more. Connecting existing applications to the Paul Hopkins, Interim IT Director, UWL Beyond the personal page, which she refers cloud to as ―the Facebook of UWL,‖ Ms. Arora’s UWL is working closely with a number of demonstrations went on to show how organizations to bring other applications students and faculty would be able to use into the online environment created by SharePoint Online to share class materials Office 365 for education. Oxford Computer and presentations, as well as how they group helped UWL move its existing could use this collaboration environment to student and faculty mailboxes into the work on group projects, from anywhere cloud. Fulcrum Worldwide is helping the they happened to be. With Office 365 for University connect other critical education, students and faculty can interact applications—course scheduling tools, its at any time, from anywhere, and from any Capita student record-keeping system, and device—which is exactly the interaction other applications—into this infrastructure model that students and faculty wanted. so that students and faculty can connect with all the tools they need in one place. Benefits Office 365 for education does provide full ―All the companies whose products we use immersion into the software products that want to be involved,‖ says Mr. Hopkins.
For More Information ―They all understand that this is where the Microsoft Office 365 forFor more information about Microsoft future is going and they want to be sure Educationproducts and services, call the Microsoft that their tools can support institutions Microsoft Office 365 for education bringsSales Information Center at (800) 426- using Office 365 for education.‖ together cloud versions of our most trusted9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft communications and collaborationCanada Information Centre at (877) 568- ―What you have to understand is that at a products—Microsoft SharePoint Online,2495. Customers in the United States and certain point the University is a supply Exchange Online, and Lync Online—withCanada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing chain, and you have to think of it with that the latest version of our Office desktopcan reach Microsoft text telephone in mind. We spend a lot of time thinking suite and companion web applications for(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. about how best to support the students educational institutions.Outside the 50 United States and while they’re here, but we also have toCanada, please contact your local think about how to bring students in and Office 365 for education helps save timeMicrosoft subsidiary. To access how to ensure that they stay closely and money, and it frees up valuedinformation using the World Wide Web, connected with the University once they’ve resources. Simple to use and easy togo to:www.microsoft.com graduated.‖ administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99For more information about University of The combination of CRM and Office 365 for percent reliability. Office 365 for educationWest London products and services, visit education provides an extraordinarily features robust security, IT-level phonethe website at:www.uwl.ac.uk powerful way to do that, he goes on to say. support, geo-redundancy, disaster ―In the future, the instant a prospective recovery, and the privacy controls and student contacts the University to make an standards that you expect from a world- inquiry about courses, we’ll set up an Office class service provider. 365 account for them at UWL, and that will be captured in the CRM system. We can For more information about Microsoft send them information via email, we can IM Office 365 for education, go to: them, have video chats in Lync. They can http://education.office365.com meet students and faculty online and get a very good feeling for the community—even before they’ve enrolled. We can use it as a conversion tool, effectively. ―Once they graduate, they can maintain that Office 365 account through the University for life. We can continue to supply them with information about the activities of the University, help them find their second job, their third job, and so on. This isn’t just about collaboration while they’re studying—it’s about creating a life- long connection between the students and the University.‖ Software and Services MicrosoftOffice 365 for educationThis case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published June 2012