HEC is the regulatory agency for higher education in Pakistan. Its primary focus
is to help build a knowledge-based economy by developing the country’s universities
into highly respected centres of education and research. The commission has always
led by example, supporting the use of IT in education by implementing cutting-edge
technology and making it available to institutes of higher education. In fact, HEC
takes pride in being one of the first organisations in the government sector to
use the latest advances in IT.
In recent years, HEC has reformed the way IT is used in higher education by setting
up a programme of e-reforms. These reforms provide guidelines on technological infrastructure
and address issues such as plagiarism and inefficiency of IT systems. Infrastructure
projects that are part of e-reforms include a digital library containing a wide
variety of locally and internationally published journals and papers, as well as
digitised versions of papers published by PhD scholars in Pakistan.
The commission had a fairly robust IT system with a high-speed network, local area
network connectivity and security, data centres, and proprietary in-house applications.
However, it was difficult to respond to increasing demand for user services because
of the lack of integration between applications. For example, the organisation used
two parallel systems for local and international e-mail. Moreover, it relied on
a third-party audio and videoconferencing solution, which didn’t provide single
sign-on, and the cost of which was high. Due to these challenges, only a limited
number of users were provided with collaboration services.
The commission also needed to replace a paper-based filing system that was prone
to human error and delays, with a structure that would increase productivity with
automated systems. Above all, any system implemented needed to be easy to adopt,
allowing users with a wide range of technology skills to interact with each other
seamlessly through a common interface.
HEC initiated the process of reforms through a thorough evaluation of solutions
available, and signed up for a School Agreement with Microsoft Pakistan in 2008.
HEC became the first public sector organisation in Pakistan to use the Enterprise
Client Access Licence Suite, giving employees access to multiple business productivity
applications within a single system.
In 2009, the IT team worked with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Expert Systems
and Microsoft to roll out a centralised infrastructure based on the Windows Server
2008 R2 operating system with Windows 7. Anwar Amjad, Director General, Information
Technology, at the Higher Education Commission, says: “When I was introduced to
Windows 7, I was so impressed with the performance that we’re now encouraging our
universities to adopt it.”
The solution included the familiar Microsoft Office Professional 2007 suite of applications,
along with Unified Communications. Users who are geographically dispersed can now
access conferences, workshops, and meetings from virtually anywhere. The use of
Microsoft Office Live Meeting to host training for capacity building of remote users
from the HEC head office has also helped cut costs and boost productivity. HEC is
also using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to publish its external Web site
and automate multiple business processes through an internal portal.
Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V cut the number of physical servers
in half, from 30 to 15. Through more efficient use of its servers, HEC now has the
ability to offer a rich set of services to end users without incurring additional
hardware and real-estate cost.
Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V is a key part of the commission’s
strategy to provide the latest technology to universities. This stable environment
for vital services improves communications with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface
for executives and operational staff.
- Improved communication. Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and Windows 7 integrates
existing technologies and provides a stable environment for Microsoft Office Communicator
2007 R2. Geographically dispersed team members can now easily communicate through
audio and videoconferencing. Help-desk staff can solve user problems in seconds
without moving from their seats through the Desktop Sharing feature in Office Communicator
- Reduced server footprint. Virtualisation ensures physical server requirements are
cut by 50 per cent, reducing the cost of acquiring and running a system that is
easy to build on as needed.
- Enhanced security. Windows Server 2008 R2 integrates seamlessly with existing systems.
Amjad says: “We already had security mechanisms set up, but Windows Server 2008
R2 combined with Windows 7 gives us an even more efficient way of securing data.”
- Cutting-edge technology. As the governing authority of higher education in Pakistan,
HEC can now provide universities with access to the latest technology and modern
interfaces university students expect.
- Reduced travel expenses. Videoconferencing has significantly lowered the cost of
travel among five offices in four provinces. “I used to travel at least twice a
month,” says Amjad. “Since we installed Office Communicator, I’ve had to travel
only once in the past six months.”
- Increased productivity. Productivity has increased at least 40 per cent since implementing
the technology. Amjad says: “The bottom line is that a computer needs to meet the
speed of a human working. Windows 7 is an operating system that helps us keep our
For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit:
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES,
EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.