RMIT University has shifted more than 100,000 staff and students to Microsoft’s Office 365 under a project focused on improving collaboration.
The project, which began in July last year, was completed earlier this month when 90,000 students transitioned from Gmail to Microsoft Outlook for email and calendar.
It follows the University’s 11,500 staff and faculty users who made the jump to the O365 platform late last year.
The move is aimed squarely at simplifying and streamling the student experience and promoting collaboration with staff, in line with the RMIT's November 2015 ‘ready for life and work strategic plan’.
Chief information officer Paul Oppenheimer said the move represented a “key plank” of the five-year strategy – which sets out the University’s vision until 2020 – by creating “excellent learning, collaboration and work environments for the whole RMIT community”.
“We want our students to have access to a rich and immersive digital experience; one that uses technology to enhance creativity and collaboration, and provides the foundation for simpler, quicker and more reliable operations,” he said.
“The transition to Office 365 plays a central role in achieving that ambition while ensuring a cost-effective solution for the University.”
While the move to Office 365 was initially focused on consolidating email and voice communications across the University, RMIT had since extended this to include “all the Office 365 functionality, Windows 10 and enterprise mobility and security”.
Microsoft said the project is the largest 365 advanced A5 deployment – which covers the largest range of services offered to education providers by the vendor – to have occurred in Australia so far.
It is also using Microsoft security tools through Office 365 to consolidate its cyber security efforts.
Microsoft Australia’s director of education Steven Miller said the move would allow RMIT to “work more collaboratively, streamline operations and at the same time reduce their support costs and annual licensing costs”.
“There are also significant security benefits for RMIT through its adoption of Microsoft 365 which helps to rein in the risk of data loss,” he said.
RMIT is now looking to integrate Microsoft Teams within its Canvas Learning Management System to improve collaboration and allow blended learning to occur between students and lecturers.
Canvas is used by students to access course content and announcements, submit assignments and receive grants and other course feedback.