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Dalhousie University bets its collaborative future on Microsoft Office 365

Leverages power of the cloud to drive efficiencies, focus on core competencies and hold the line on costs

MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Dalhousie University, one of Canada's top research-intensive institutions, is leading the way again as it initiates an aggressive project to adopt Microsoft Office 365 for its entire community of students, faculty and staff. With 20,000 students, over 1,000 professors and another 5,000 staff, the university's shift to Office 365 for its communication, productivity and collaboration needs ranks as one of the more significant cloud deployments in the Canadian education space to-date, and promises to revolutionize Dalhousie's ability to deliver world class education to an ever more diverse and demanding audience.

"This is the best possible news for the university because it'll allow us to focus more on the core benefits and roles of the university rather than having to focus on the day-to day services that our stakeholders demand," says Dwight Fischer, Assistant Vice President and CIO. "Office 365 frees our Information and Technology Services division to deliver collaboration tools at a level far beyond what we'd otherwise be able to do internally."

Fischer says Office 365 lets the university meet intensifying demand for more integrated services over a rapidly proliferating range of online and mobile platforms. Fast-growing remote-campuses are further driving distance education needs. Against that backdrop, Office 365 fills in a number of gaps in ways no other solution can match. Fischer says only Office 365 gets Dalhousie this amount of functionality, within a reasonable timeframe, while reining in costs.

"We lack true collaborative tools in our existing environment. While we do have a learning management system in place, we don't have across-the-board unified communication tools, video, voice, instant message or availability awareness," says Fischer. "We need better document collaboration and common calendaring between all areas of the university. Lync, SharePoint and Outlook, in particular, address these needs in a scalable, secure and manageable way. We also need a fully integrated experience that encompasses the full suite of collaborative tools that students are using today. Office 365 meets our multiple needs."

Office 365 for Education - which includes secure tools such as email and calendaring, instant messaging and web conferencing, online file storage and sharing, Office Web Apps and connectivity from virtually any device or platform - changes the game on a number of levels, all without compromising ITS's ability to meet current messaging, productivity and collaborative needs.

"Office 365 is indeed best-of-breed technology, but it's only the start," says Shann McGrail, Microsoft Canada's National Director, Education Customer Segment. "Partnership is what allows multidisciplinary institutions like Dalhousie to truly realize the transformational value of their investment, and industry-leading partnership is what Microsoft brings to the table. No one is as committed to serving the needs of the education space as we are."

Dalhousie is initiating a multi-phased implementation plan that will ultimately save it upwards of $1.8 million over the next three to five years in reduced data center, operations and capital acquisition costs.

Founded in 1818 in Halifax, NS, Dalhousie is a premier research-driven institution, offering 4,000 classes in over 180 degree programs, and conducting $140 million in funded research annually.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.ca/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

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