Computer Generated Solutions (CGS) and Microsoft have a synergistic relationship based on their compatible cloud-based offerings: Unlimited Mailbox and Microsoft Live@edu. By providing both migration services to Live@edu and email-archiving capabilities with Unlimited Mailbox, CGS offers additional value to education customers that want cloud email but need eDiscovery capabilities. Since 2010, CGS has increased business in the education sector by 80 percent. Business Needs
The Project Services division of Computer Generated Solutions (CGS) offers Unlimited Mailbox, on-premises software for email archiving, electronic discovery (eDiscovery), regulatory compliance, and cross-platform migration that is popular within the public and education sectors.
Approximately 40 percent of CGS customers in the Project Services division are in the education sector. “In the last two years, we have noticed an increasing need for email-archiving and eDiscovery solutions among our education customers,” says Kevin Roskot, Senior Account Executive, Education Solutions at Computer Generated Solutions.
The company recognized this market’s need for email-archiving and e-discovery solutions. However, it faced an obstacle to sales growth: the emergence of cloud-based services. With increasingly tight IT budgets, many education customers are choosing cloud-based services instead of on-premises solutions that require physical infrastructure and additional IT staff to install and maintain them.
“It came down to choice: Our education customers needed an email-archiving, retrieval, and eDiscovery solution to comply with increasingly complex government regulations, but they wanted more flexibility in how they acquired that solution,” says Roskot. “To tap into this market, we needed to develop a cloud-based version of Unlimited Mailbox that interoperates with the most promising email and collaboration solutions in the education sector.”Solution
In late 2009, Computer Generated Solutions, a Microsoft Partner Network member since 2004, decided to design its cloud offering to work with Microsoft Live@edu, a no-cost suite of cloud-based communication and collaboration services.
||With Unlimited Mailbox, we’re winning customers back to Microsoft and building our business. Seventy-five percent of customers migrate from a competing platform, and more than 50 percent engage us for further work.
Senior Account Executive, Education Solutions, Computer Generated Solutions
“Live@edu has more potential than Google Apps for Education because of its interoperability with Microsoft desktop tools,” says David Wallen, Director of Marketing at Computer Generated Solutions. “With Google, you are forced into an ‘all-cloud or nothing’ decision, but Microsoft gives customers the choice of subscribing to Live@edu for students and retaining an on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server–based solution for faculty and staff, or moving everyone to Live@edu.”
In 2009, Microsoft had approached CGS to learn how its archiving solution could enhance the value of Live@edu. “Some customers were interested in Live@edu but couldn’t move their faculty to the cloud because they would not be able to comply with archiving requirements,” says Roskot. “Both parties saw that our products working together would add value for our customers.”
In February 2010, CGS announced its cloud-based version of Unlimited Mailbox, targeting the education market. The solution offers archiving capabilities in the cloud; migration services that move existing, on-premises email repositories, regardless of the source system, to Live@edu; and robust eDiscovery tools that enable quick and cost-effective compliance with public record regulations and requests. To match the flexibility of Microsoft cloud and on-premises communication and collaboration offerings for the education sector, CGS ensured that a single instance of Unlimited Mailbox can be used concurrently with a Microsoft Live@edu scenario for students and a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 implementation for faculty.
“Unlimited Mailbox greatly enhances our Live@edu solution by providing educational institutions with vital resources, including comprehensive email archiving, cross-platform migration, and a complete eDiscovery toolset that is critical to help schools comply with ever-increasing government regulations,” says Jonny Chambers, STU Manager for Live@edu, Microsoft. Benefits
Computer Generated Solutions and Microsoft are benefiting from a synergistic relationship that continues today, as Microsoft introduces its latest suite of online services, Microsoft Office 365. Unlimited Mailbox is fully compliant with Office 365 for migration, archiving, and eDiscovery.
“With Unlimited Mailbox, we’re winning customers back to Microsoft and building our business,” says Roskot. “Seventy-five percent of customers migrate from a competing platform, and more than 50 percent engage us for further work. The Dallas [Texas] school board wanted to migrate 150,000 students and 21,000 staff from Novell GroupWise to Live@edu, but it was Unlimited Mailbox that closed the deal, enabling the customer to comply with state retention policies.”
New Revenue Streams
By offering Live@edu and Unlimited Mailbox together, CGS gained a strong go-to-market strategy that generates new revenue streams. “We can help customers provision their entire Live@edu environment and set up Unlimited Mailbox, whether it’s archiving and migration or just migration, from any email platform,” says Wallen. “Or, as we did for the University of Tampa, we can configure and set up archiving to connect with an existing Live@edu environment. Live@edu opens the door for us to build service revenue around additional Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.”
Increased Market Share
Since partnering with Microsoft, CGS has seen an 80-percent increase in its education business. “We have been part of the biggest deals in the United States—for example, 20,800 users at the Dallas Independent School District,” says Roskot. “We are now in the Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner program because we are providing a wide range of cloud consulting, integration, migration, and deployment services—all new business for us. We presented at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, explaining how Live@edu and Unlimited Mailbox can benefit schools around the world. The opportunities are tremendous.”
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