Leading a team of campus IT professionals, Director of Student Technologies and TechZone David Greenfield and Director of Infrastructure, Operations, and Networking (ION) Craig Jackson first turned to Office 365 with a familiar need—they wanted to foster campus-wide communication. Traditionally, ISU relied on an on-site network for student email while faculty and staff utilized a variety of providers—complicating communication between students and teachers and impeding collaboration in the process. Greenfield and Jackson sought a consistent solution that allowed for flexible access across campus and empowered users with multiple mobile options to better fit the mobile nature of students’ lives. They found that solution in Exchange Online.
“Exchange Online allowed us to be able to get all faculty, staff, and students on one system so we could easily exchange information, schedule meetings, and enhance collaboration,” Jackson explains.
But communication wasn’t the only hurdle for ISU’s team. In the 2015-2016 school year, funding for Illinois state colleges fell 61%, a trend reflective of the state’s decade of financial struggles. ISU was one of 12 Illinois public universities struggling to make the most of a very limited budget. Fortunately, they found an estimated $250,000 in savings just by transitioning its email system. That transition away from on-site hardware and server management has also benefited the university by allowing those network professionals to focus on more value-added tasks. Together, the Office 365 solution has empowered ISU to increase their digital offerings and use their resources more efficiently despite state-wide cuts.