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Northern Kentucky University wanted to address students’ email storage challenges without incurring the cost of expanding an existing on-site solution. The university switched to Microsoft Live@edu hosted communication and collaboration services, which it has found to be highly cost-effective to deploy and support. Now, students are enjoying vastly increased storage for email messages and an easier approach to group projects.
Microsoft Online Services Customer Solution Case Study University Supports Learner-Focused Education with Hosted Student Email “We are offering a rich and robust email solution that, Customer: Northern Kentucky University Web Site: www.nku.edu were it hosted internally, would cost us at least Customer Size: 5,000 employees Country or Region: United States $200,000 more per year.” Industry: Education Tim Ferguson, Chief Information Officer, Northern Kentucky University Northern Kentucky University wanted to address students’ email Customer Profile Northern Kentucky University is a four- storage challenges without incurring the cost of expanding an year, fully accredited public institution existing on-site solution. The university switched to Microsoft that was founded in 1968 and is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky. The Live@edu hosted communication and collaboration services, university serves more than 15,000 full- which it has found to be highly cost-effective to deploy and time students. support. Now, students are enjoying vastly increased storage for Software and Services email messages and an easier approach to group projects. Services − Microsoft Live@edu Business Needs Microsoft Exchange Server. The solution − Microsoft Office Live Workspace Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is a served its intended purpose, but changes − Microsoft Office Outlook Live four-year, fully accredited public institution in the way it was being used soon led the − Windows Live Alerts that serves more than 15,000 full-time university to consider another approach. − Windows Live Messenger students from 43 states and 56 countries. − Windows Live SkyDrive So that NKU can offer students what it For one thing, the average size of an email Microsoft Server Product Portfolio calls “a private school education for a message was growing dramatically as it − Microsoft Identify Lifecycle Manager fraction of the cost,” the university is became common for instructors to attach 2007 strongly committed to smaller class sizes slide shows and other large documents to (24 students on average) and a smaller their messages to students. As a result, student-to-faculty ratio (14:1) than most explains Douglas Wells, Associate Director other public institutions of higher learning. of Information Technology at Northern This is part of an academic culture that Kentucky University, many students rapidly emphasizes a learner-focused approach to exceeded their storage quotas on the education, supported by the strategic school’s server hardware, which required application of information technology. them to have another email account elsewhere. For more information about other In the mid-2000s, NKU began providing Microsoft customer successes, please visit: email services for students, faculty, and “To maintain access to their email www.microsoft.com/casestudies staff through a solution based on messages, at least 20 percent of students had to forward messages to other email school-year break. The team used Outlook “Now, students can access shared services, with all the inconsistency that Live Directory Sync with Microsoft Identity documents through virtually any PC, practice entails,” Wells says. “We considered Lifecycle Manager 2007 to provide a mobile device, or browser, and they no increasing storage quotas but were reluct- unified global address list so that email longer have to carry files around on flash ant because of the cost of purchasing and communications between faculty members drives,” Wells says. supporting additional hardware.” (who are still on the Exchange-based solution) and students appear to be A Highly Cost-Effective Solution Another challenge stemmed from the rapid coming from the same system. The team Wells points out that students have been growth in mobile computing. “As the also used Outlook Live Email Migration to able to take advantage of these benefits university sought ways to better integrate migrate students’ existing email, and the with little assistance from IT staff. “Just by mobile calendaring and shared workspaces Exchange ActiveSync technology in clicking around, students are finding more in the classroom, we wanted an email Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to ensure ways they can benefit from Live@edu than solution that could fully support mobile that students could access the service from we even advertised,” he says. “Moreover, technology without requiring a lot of any of the more than 15 different mobile the user interface and sign-in process are hands-on work,” Wells says. “We also devices commonly used on campus. so close to the students’ earlier Exchange- wanted to ensure that students could access based solution that we didn’t have to incur email through a variety of browsers, on Benefits any training costs.” mobile and non-mobile devices alike.” Through this deployment of Live@edu— which includes Microsoft Outlook Live, For Tim Ferguson, Chief Information Solution Windows Live SkyDrive, Microsoft Office Officer at Northern Kentucky University, an Because the storage challenge was funda- Live Workspace, Windows Live Messenger, email solution that helps students commu- mental, Wells and his colleagues wanted an and Windows Live Alerts—Northern nicate with faculty and collaborate with email solution that would be hosted offsite. Kentucky University is achieving a number one another is a powerful demonstration They evaluated Google Apps for Education of solid benefits. Students have more of the school’s use of information tech- and Microsoft Live@edu hosted communi- storage for email communications and a nology to further its learner-focused cation and collaboration services before convenient way of collaborating, and the educational philosophy. selecting the latter. According to Wells, the university is enjoying cost-effective team chose Live@edu for two main reasons. deployment and support. The solution also happens to provide a significant cost advantage. “We deployed “We wanted comprehensive support for Easier Communication and Live@edu for a fraction of what it would moving an enterprise service like email to Collaboration have cost us to deploy an on-site solution, the cloud, and considered the support For Wells, the most dramatic benefit of the considering the additional hardware that available through Microsoft to be stronger Live@edu deployment is the expansion of would require; and maintenance costs are than what was available through Google,” student mailbox capacity. “Storage has lower, too,” Ferguson says. “As a result, we Wells says. “We also wanted a solution that grown from 50 megabytes to 10 gigabytes are offering a rich and robust email solu- would be familiar to first-year students, and per account, which means that students no tion that, were it hosted internally, would Live@edu was that service, because the longer need to forward their email mes- cost us at least $200,000 more per year.” State of Kentucky was at the time moving sages to other email services,” he reports. toward bringing it into grades K-12.” “Students are thanking me left and right, In future plans, the university will deploy now that they can have all their messages Microsoft Office Communications Server Wells and his colleagues launched the easily accessible through one account.” 2007 R2 by the start of the 2010 school Live@edu project in mid-2009 and had set year, and will move faculty and staff up more than 20,000 student accounts by Students also can access their email from members to Live@edu by the start of the the end of the calendar year—ready for any PC or mobile device, and collaborate 2012 school year. students when they returned from the mid- easily through Office Live Workspace. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published June 2010
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