REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 10, 2012 — The Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (EPHEC), a university college renowned for its business curriculum, wanted to prepare its business students to work in a world where more and more activities take place online and in virtualized settings, and they needed to do this without making huge investments in technology. EPHEC found the perfect solution to this challenge: Microsoft Office 365 for education.
More than 4,700 students are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at EPHEC, and the university college occupies three separate campuses in and around Brussels. The university college’s email infrastructure consisted of a single aging server, which provided email support only to the faculty and administrators. Before the Office 365 for education implementation, EPHEC did not offer its students any formal email services or electronic collaboration infrastructure. Although faculty and students discussed the move to cloud-based business infrastructures, online collaboration and other forms of instant communication, the students were still unable to work remotely on projects with classmates and professors.
“Today’s students are mobile, flexible and impatient,” said Vincent Fievez, lecturer in IT at EPHEC. “We wanted to use technology to communicate and interact with our students in new ways — and Microsoft Office 365 for education is the perfect solution.”
Office 365 for education provides secured, anywhere access to email, calendars, Office Web Apps, Web conferencing and file sharing. Because the cloud-based services run in datacenters owned and operated by Microsoft, which maintains the servers and the software on a day-to-day basis, EPHEC was able to free up the three IT personnel who had been supporting the email infrastructure to devote their time and attention to other activities.
And because Office 365 for education is offered at no cost to educational institutions, the move from its old email infrastructure effectively eliminated the expense of maintaining that infrastructure, saving EPHEC €7,000 each month.
“Saving money each month is great, but that was not the primary motive for moving to Office 365 for education. The primary reason was to adapt to a changing world,” Fievez said. “We needed to provide an infrastructure that would help prepare our students for the world outside EPHEC. We needed to have them using online services, shared calendars, online collaboration tools and more.”
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