By Raquel Durá, Public Relations Manager, Microsoft
- More than 15,000 students enhance their collaborative skills thanks to various Microsoft Office 365 features like Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync
- Microsoft was selected over its competitors due to its versatility, assurances of compliance, and easy adaptability to the mobile environment
Microsoft continues to gain the trust of new institutions in the field of education. Recently, the University of Cantabria (UC) has implemented Microsoft Office 365, which includes Exchange Online, Sharepoint and Lync functionalities. Thanks to this project, more than 15,000 students at Cantabrian University now take advantage of the connectivity, security, and flexibility associated with cloud computing technology.
By betting on Microsoft Office 365, UC students now benefit from more modern and high-capacity tools, similar to those used by their teachers: “Students will begin to get familiar with the applications they will encounter in the vast majority of companies, as they join the workforce” said Javier Crespo, Responsible for Systems Infrastructure of the IT Service at the University of Cantabria.
For the university, the most immediate benefit was the ability to free up resources for other computer science tasks which are more directly linked to teaching. Added to that, the leadership of the Centre was very pleased to offer its students a high quality service at a very good cost.
On the other hand, the European Space for Higher Education recommends that students complete a larger volume of work and projects in groups. “Thanks to Microsoft Office 365 features like Lync Online and SkyDrive Pro, the University can offer its students a set of modern collaboration tools that can help complete these sort of tasks” says Javier Crespo.
The large deficiencies of the student e-mail system led the IT Service department to look for an appropriate solution that could raise the quality of the services offered to the employees of the university and, at the same time, optimize students’ online space. The former platform offered a limited mailbox capacity (300 MB per user) and an obsolete user interface and functionality. Added to these obstacles, there was a lack of a full integration with mobile environments and a scarcity of collaborative and personal assistance tools (agenda of contacts, calendar, etc.).
The IT Service department at the University considered various possibilities to renew the students’ email services, in the end they chose to outsource and embrace the cloud services, provided by Microsoft. “Microsoft Office 365 was not only the most economical and functional solution, it also allowed us to free up resources for other tasks within the corporate information systems”, Crespo details.
The professionals in the IT Service department at the UC already knew Microsoft technology in-depth, treasuring years of experience with the Exchange System. “Migration was not only easier, it also allowed us to create a hybrid environment for future scenarios, that included local users and users hosted in the cloud,” reveals Javier Crespo.
Microsoft Office 365 caters perfectly the needs of some users to connect to their e-mail from their mobile devices. Besides technological motivations, compliance with the legislation became a decisive factor, in the words of the technical specialist: “We were very interested in t strictly maintaining the rights and privacy of our users, as well as respecting all national and European regulations. In that sense, besides sufficient guarantees, Microsoft was also flexible with the contract, including additional clauses that our particular case required”.
Rapid and efficient implementation
A Microsoft engineer was laid at the disposal of the Cantabrian University who facilitated the implementation of the Microsoft Office 365 project from a technical point of view. Also, this professional served as support in case any incidents arised during this phase. In any case, it was a simple process, carried out entirely by the University and divided into three phases: migration and implementation of Exchange Online, activation of Lync Online, and finally, activation of SharePoint Online. During all of these phases, the IT Service department created technical documentation and video tutorials which facilitated their entry into production.
Currently, the University of Cantabria enjoys different features of Microsoft Office 365, which will likely be extended in the future. Exchange Online was launched in March, 2013; Lync Online in May 2013; and Sharepoint Online, in October of the same year. The academic institution is convinced to continue putting their trust in Microsoft solutions: “in the future, we are interested in further expanding the use of collaborative work tools, as well as communication and cross dissemination of knowledge among our students. Therefore, we are interested in exploring what enterprise social networks such as Yammer can provide in this regard,” concludes Javier Crespo.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the world leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses develop their full potential.
About the University of Cantabria
The University of Cantabria is a public institution, whose main objective is to contribute to social progress through its commitment to teaching and scientific excellence. To achieve its aims, it seeks a constant improvement of the quality of its work, which results in a process of review and improvement of all its teaching, research and administrative activities. Web site: www.unican.es