4-page Case Study - Posted 6/30/2013
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Office 365 delivers lifelong email service for students and teachers
||In the past, the university had invested one hundred million won to run its old email server. Considering that the number of student accounts is much larger than that of staff, Office 365 practically reduced the cost of providing email
service for students to zero.
| Do-Yeon Kim
Dankook University Division of Information & Communications
Dankook University has been providing the new email service for staff and students from the first semester of this year. The university previously had an email server capable of supporting about 40,000 users with a solution which was developed by a domestic
company in 2006. Then in 2012, the university decided to adopt Microsoft Exchange Server-based groupware in order to improve the work efficiency of university staff.
With the decision made to push forward with the groupware project, Dankook University was faced with a difficult choice: whether to bring in new equipment and a new solution to the existing computer center located on campus and thereby integrate the email
service to both staff and students; or, whether to instead adopt a hybrid-model whereby a separate server would be implemented for the staff email service, given that it requires a higher level of security compliance, with a separate public cloud used for
the student email service.
In the end, the decision to go with the hybrid model was an easy choice for Dankook University to make. In terms of security, operation and cost, the combined use of Microsoft Exchange Server with Office 365 seemed to be the most reasonable investment in
the long-term. In fact, the hybrid model-based email service was an ideal way to solve many of the problems extant in the old environment.
Dankook University was all too aware of the root cause of the inconveniences users faced with the existing email service environment. There were frequent complaints from users about how the existing university email account supported only POP3, meaning that
to use email on devices such as smartphones or tablets, they had to go through a complicated configuration procedure, rather than simply being able to install an app and go. Another frequent gripe was that many pages did not display properly on mobile devices
as there was no Active X support available. The problems users ran up against with the now old system caused extra stress for the university administrators in terms of then having to regularly clear up the many accounts made dormant through users which switched
off through frustration and inconvenience.
As well as lack of mobile device support, the existing email service lacked support for multiple languages. With education being the global industry it is today, professors frequently need to communicate and cooperate with countries across the globe, whether
for education or research. As of 2011, for example, Dankook University had a sisterhood relationship with 190 universities throughout the world. Though the existing email server was good in terms of features and UI from the perspective of domestic users, in
terms of global support, it lacked the multilingual functionality. Those who communicated with overseas on a regular basis frequently complained of text in emails becoming rendered unreadable in garbled Cyrillic.
Though such problems were not critical in themselves, when examined against a backdrop of a continuing rise in demand for email accounts, there was a clear business need to solve them. Dankook University used to offer university email accounts only to those
who explicitly wanted them, given that many accounts were simply left unused. What the university saw, though, was an increasing number of students actively using the email account. Dankook University pointed out that the reasons behind this popularization
of emails were the various promotions it entitled users to access, and the community support provided by companies through email authentication. As to the latter reason, this followed on the back of the Personal Information Protection Act, which meant companies
were forced to prove people’s identity, given that they had to prevent the leakage of personal information such as name, address and phone number.
In this respect, it became common among companies to ask for a university email address when promoting marketing campaigns targeting university students. For example, companies typically ask for an email address with the school domain when providing a community
service for students on Facebook or other forms of social media. Plus, Microsoft asks students to prove their identity with their school email address as a way to access student discount promotions for Windows, Office and DreamSpark, a service offering the
development tools and software students need at no cost. Given the direction in which the university web ecosystem is evolving, delivering a better user experience for university email is must. Dankook University was able to achieve this with Office 365.
In late 2012, Dankook University pushed forward Office 365 project in cooperation with Microsoft Korea's partner, LimeOrange.Com. This project was carried out under a two-phase plan: account creation and the transfer of the existing mailbox. In this respect,
LimeOrange.Com established a framework for the hybrid email service operating model in such a way that the account information of staff and students are managed through the same Active Directory with the help of groupware provider. Meanwhile, the information
of students and retired school personnel is linked to a public cloud service: Office 365 Exchange Online.
This framework is designed to provide a ‘lifelong account’ to students and staff. In other words, staff get registered with Exchange Server and, when they retire, their accounts are not phased out, but rather reassigned to Office 365. Such they ever be reinstated
as active staff members in the future, they do not need to be allotted with a new account, but their identification in the Active Directory is simply changed and assigned with a mailbox in the on-campus server. For example, when a student rejoins the school
as a member of faculty after graduation, their account information remains the same, but only their identification is changed on the Active Directory. In effect, the link for the email account is changed from Office 365 to the on-campus Exchange Server.
Likewise, identification and the mailbox can be easily transferred between the on-campus server and the cloud. "With the use of the same Exchange API on both servers, data can be easily exchanged. Plus, there are various means of transfer which can be used
for this, including Outlook PST file and IMPA connection”, said an official from LimeOrange.Com.
Dankook University and LimeOrange.Com cleared from the list of 40,000 accounts any dormant accounts which had been left unused for a long time. They subsequently chose mailboxes of about 20,000 users who actually use their account for migration. In doing
so, mailboxes of staff were migrated to Exchange Server and those of students to Office 365 Exchange Online. Upon successful completion of this project, Dankook University was able to provide its new email service from the beginning of the first semester in
2013, which started in May.
Significant reduction in cost
The greatest benefit Dankook University acquired from using the public cloud for students’ email service is a significant cost reduction. In the past, the university had invested one hundred million won to run its old email server. Considering that the number
of student accounts is much larger than that of staff, Office 365 practically reduced the cost of providing email service for students to zero.
The use of Office 365 has led to a reduction in long-term cost equal to that of initial cost, in terms of storage. The size of student's mailbox provided in May 2013 is 25GB. From the viewpoint of students using tens of GB on web, a mailbox with a GB in
single figures is simply not enough to exchange the data they want. In that respect, the university needed to provide a mailbox of at least 10GB to each student. However, this is prohibitive when calculated in terms of a direct investment. Moreover, the storage
costs a fortune to provide an email service for hundreds of thousands of both enrolled students and graduates.
Interestingly, though, despite the significant cost reductions, this is not the area on which Dankook University attributes the greatest value in Office 365. That is, the use of Office 365 has opened up a new range of possibilities for providing a lifelong
email account service to hundreds of thousands of users. Though it became easy to store the list of contacts in several forms of devices or services and social media has made it possible to find friends, bonds made at university can quickly weaken once people
lose touch with each other. In this regard, Dankook University expects this email account to remain as a digital-based form of personal identification way into the future, akin to a student ID, enabling students and graduates to liaise together and thus bring
the Dankook University community together.
No effort required for management
With the combined use of Exchange Server and Office 365 Exchange Server, Dankook University IT managers were able to focus on the management of the staff email service, which requires a high-level of security and quality. In other words, they were able to
leave the management of the service for students that accounted for nearly 90% of email accounts to Microsoft. In terms of the latter point, there is nothing for IT managers to do except setup the system when issuing a digital ID and maybe an email account,
on a case-by-case basis, once the ID number for the staff member or student is issued.
In addition, IT managers now don’t need to concern with the upgrade of email server. When Dankook University adopted Office 365, Exchange Online was based on Exchange Server 2010, but as of February 28, 2013, an Exchange Server 2013-based service was launched.
Consequently, the university's email service for students will be provided based on the latest server version. This is a great time-saver for IT managers, who have nothing much to do with this, given that they can concern themselves primarily with the area
of the greatest need, upgrading the staff email service, with Microsoft managers being responsible for updates to the student email service. Dankook University expects that the upgrade to Exchange Server 2013 will make it much easier for students to use the
Office 365-based email service. In particular, those students using the latest PC or laptop with Windows 8 installed will be able to make better use of the university email account through the new and improved Outlook app.
Email account as a means of communication and collaboration
Dankook University is now using only Office 365 Exchange Online. It plans to the leverage the benefits already accrued to further exploit collaboration features such as SharePoint Online provided through Office 365. After adopting Exchange Online, an increasing
number of students began to use not only email, but also schedule management on their smart phone or tablet. In this regard, Dankook University will observe their use of Exchange Online and draw up an integrated communication and collaboration model best suited
for the university using Office 365.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications
for businesses of all sizes. For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to: www.office365.com
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