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Northern Kentucky University - DOC


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.

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									                                              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
                                              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
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

Document published June 2010

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