Major university switches over 35,000 students from Gmail to Office 365

August 14, 2017

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During the initial days of cloud-based productivity suite, Google attracted lots of education customers because of its pricing strategy. When universities and schools were paying for Exchange based email solutions, Google offered their online productivity suite for free. Even though Gmail and other G Suite applications offered poor experiences when compared to Microsoft Office 365, price advantage made them switch.

After years of using G Suite, several US universities like Kennesaw State University are now switching back to Office 365 citing several reasons. Some universities switched to Office 365 because of privacy issues. Some universities switched to help their students get familiar with Office 365 products. When their students leave campus, the likelihood of them to be using Office 365 suite in the work environment is higher than with Google G Suite. In some cases, students demand universities to switch citing advantages of using Microsoft’s suite, as can be seen in this tweet from June this year.

The Kennesaw State University with over 35,600 students is the third largest university in the state of Georgia and one of the top fifty largest universities in the United States. KSU was using Google’s G Suite for its students and  Zimbra for faculty and staff. The good news now is that they are switching to new KSUmail powered by Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite. Students, faculty and staff can enjoy the following new features over their previous email service.

  • Increased inbox size: Faculty and Staff using KSUmail (powered by Outlook and Exchange) have a 50GB inbox size compared to Zimbra’s 3GB default inbox
  • Office 365: Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft’s suite of online enabled productivity applications, launched to campus alongside the new email service. KSUmail features helpful integrations with Office products (for example, sending an attachment directly from the application).
  • OneDrive: Office 365 includes access to OneDrive cloud storage and file sharing. You are able to store and easily share files related to your activities at KSU.
  • Calendar: KSUmail includes a built-in calendar feature for students, faculty, and staff that can be easily customized and shared with other KSUmail users.
  • Collaborate: Students, faculty, and staff are able to easily share calendars, appointments, and folders through KSUmail’s unified address book.

The news brings to mind a similar shuffle by the Munich City Council, who also tried a free solution and found the cost in terms of reduced productivity not worth the price.

You can learn more about Office 365 Education offerings here.

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