Standford University Picks Office 365 & Exchange Over Gmail
Besides my alma mater University of Washington (known to Seattleites and Washingtonians as U-Dub), Stanford University is one of my favorite universities. Stanford is among the top American institutes in so many categories, including education, research, and sports. When they make big decisions, you know they will take them seriously and will think before they act.
As you may know, Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. Because Google has its roots in Stanford, you would imagine they would tend to favor Google products. Obviously, Stanford’s management wants what is best for their college. They have been doing research for several years to evaluate cloud email and calendar systems. The two finalists were Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Office 365. The management decided to settle on a hybrid solution of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange on-premises. According to the University Newsletter, Stanford is taking advantage of the free Office 365 offering. The plan is called Office 365 Education E1 .
Currently Microsoft offers two Office 365 Education plans.
These FREE plans have no user limits and even include unlimited Lync meetings. If you look at these plans they are pretty hard to resist because they include the following:
- Online versions of Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more
- File storage and sharing with 1 TB storage/user
- Business-class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox
- Unlimited online meetings, IM, and HD video conferencing. Includes the Lync app
- Intranet site for your teams with customizable security settings
- Corporate social network to help employees collaborate across departments and locations
- Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph
- Corporate video portal for uploading and sharing your corporate videos across the company
The university has not revealed the details of the research in the newsletter or given the reasons why they picked Microsoft’s solutions over Google when they already use Gmail and Google Calendar. Here’s what the university has announced:
“University IT will provide Office 365/Exchange services and the free Microsoft cloud collaboration suite. Because this project has a very tight timeline, we’re not planning to implement all of the available tools in the E1 offering. Here are the services that we plan to support at the end of the project:
- Office 365 Email and Calendar for the campus community (with exceptions noted below)
- On-premise Exchange mailbox and calendar service for departments/people who request this service
- Gmail and Google Calendar for returning undergraduate students and GSB
- Microsoft OneDrive for campus collaboration (including its cloud SharePoint infrastructure)
- MS Office suite for online document collaboration
- A Google account with Google Drive enabled (remains as is)”
According to the IT Newsletter, the project to implement Microsoft’s solution actually started last November and will continue on through the summer until July/August 2015.
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