Customer Spotlight: University of Arizona Selects Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite for E-Mail, Calendaring and Collaboration Tools


May 26, 2010 — The University of Arizona (UA) today announced it has selected the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite to provide 18,000 faculty and staff members with next-generation communications tools to greatly enhance collaboration on the campus, laying the groundwork for a new cloud-computing approach to higher education IT investment. The Microsoft Corp. online solution is an enterprise-class set of communication and collaboration software delivered as a service, organization-wide. In addition to updating the university’s numerous and antiquated e-mail and calendaring programs to one centralized system, employees will get 10 GB mailboxes and new features such as instant messaging, presence and online meetings with the ability to share their desktop, audio or video with other users on or off campus.

“With Microsoft’s cloud-based service, we found a solution that will essentially bring us into the 21st century for communications tools. We have a complex environment and our employees demand modern-day technologies and Exchange functionality to be successful at their jobs,” said Michele Norin, chief information officer at UA. “We also have federal programs we need to comply with, so meeting ITAR and HIPAA rules is critical, and we came away more confident that Microsoft can help keep us be compliant.”

Microsoft’s online services offer important enterprise depth of features that differ significantly from competitors, including the following:

  • Full two-way synchronization for e-mail, calendaring, contacts, notes and tasks across handheld devices, the Web and desktop.

  • Ability to delegate calendaring and e-mail functions to other users, such as administrative assistants.

  • Archive and backup and restore services as part of the basic service agreement.

  • Better security and privacy features, including encryption and processes and controls for International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and HIPAA compliance.

“We completed an exhaustive study to compare different providers and how their tools integrated with our needs for e-mail and calendaring, which solution offered the best synchronization with a handheld device, as well as security and privacy requirements,” said Derek Masseth, senior director of infrastructure services at UA. “The team at UA was impressed by the depth of the features and the functionality of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. This Microsoft solution was the one offering that truly met the needs of all of our constituents so they won’t feel like they will have a downgrade in service. It will also free up resources to allow the IT department to focus on supporting grants and classroom work that map to the research and instructional missions of our institution.”

The UA also plans to start providing students with the option to sign up for a Windows Live ID on Microsoft’s Live@edu service, offering Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive among other services to deliver an integrated and standardized platform across faculty, staff and students that will enable increased and more efficient collaboration.

“This agreement offers vast benefits to the entire UA community, and other higher education institutions should take notice,” said Sig Behrens, general manager for U.S. Education at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s online services bring an easy, highly productive experience across computers, phones and browsers so faculty and staff will be able to work anytime, anywhere and anyplace with Microsoft applications they already know and trust. As with Arizona’s move to the cloud, this is a unique opportunity for our university customers to save millions of dollars in software, hardware and management costs, while at the same time providing new services to campus without having to install any software locally.”

The University’s migration to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite will begin in the next few weeks with the goal of having all campus employees on the new system by this fall.

About University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is one of the nation’s leading public universities, with a long history of academic excellence, research innovation and a student-centered approach. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, the UA is ranked 16th among public universities by the National Science Foundation with total research expenditures last year of $545 million. With more than 39,000 students across three campuses representing 50 states and more than 120 nations, the UA is on the forefront of discoveries – from the depths of space to the medical and genetic mysteries of life, from emerging trends in climate change to the broad complexities of the human condition. For more information, visit the UA’s website at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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