Education provider brings the latest productivity tools to more than 1 million students


Education provider brings the latest productivity tools to more than 1 million students

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After education provider Kroton merged with its largest competitor, the organization saw an opportunity to make a fresh start with its productivity tools and standardize on the solution that supported strategic and educational goals. By choosing Microsoft Office 365 over Google Apps for Work, Kroton has new tools to help students get a high-quality education, connect better, and prepare for the workforce. It also meets high security and privacy standards while maintaining the flexibility required to drive innovation.
Choosing the right productivity platform, post-merger
As a distance learning leader, Kroton understands the power of technology to support more effective education for all students. After a merger in 2014 with its key competitor, Anhanguera, Kroton became the largest private education provider in Brazil with about 1.1 million students, 726 distance education learning centers, and 130 campuses spread across all states in the country.
In 2012, Kroton adopted Microsoft Office 365 for staff use, while its students continued to use a mix of learning systems and other productivity tools including Microsoft Live@edu, which was used by approximately 120,000 students. At the time of the 2014 merger, Anhanguera students and staff were using Google Apps for Work. Kroton and Anhanguera agreed that the combined organization needed to standardize on one solution to enhance collaboration and productivity, reduce costs, and simplify management. The merger gave them an opportunity to carefully evaluate their options and determine which technology would best support their strategic goals going forward.
“We performed a very deep analysis in which we defined and analyzed all features of Google Apps for Work and Office 365,” says Mauricio Oliveira, IT Infrastructure and Technology Manager, Kroton. “We cataloged all the features we needed across categories such as collaboration, email, unified communications, and online storage, and gave a grade to each solution based on how well it met our needs. We also went through a proof of concept for both solutions, as well as a financial analysis. After three months, we had a 50-page book describing the differences between the solutions and where each one was better for our company. At the end of our extensive evaluation process, it was clear that Office 365 met all our requirements and in many cases delivered far beyond them.”
Kroton is working closely with Microsoft Services Consulting to ensure the migration goes smoothly. Beginning first with Anhanguera, 17,000 employee mailboxes were moved to Office 365. “Microsoft supported us throughout the process,” says Oliveira. “The migration took place in two weeks’ time, and we were able to move all data without any loss.” The migration of Anhanguera student accounts was performed during the academic break, and in February 2015, 320,000 students started the new year with Office 365 ready to support their success and potential for another 480,000 to adopt it in the future. The next stage will bring Kroton students to the new platform by October 2015, at which point Office 365 will be available to approximately 1.4 million students in total.
Connecting across cultures with Enterprise Social
“We often say there are many Brazils within our country,” says Oliveira. “We want to overcome cultural and regional differences by enabling teams of students to collaborate from states all over the country. We plan to deploy Yammer to help them do that in a highly secure, private social networking environment.”
For example, students are required to develop multidisciplinary end-of-term projects, which are presented to instructors as part of the evaluation process. Currently, these groups are composed of students from one location. Yammer Enterprise will make it easy for students from different states within Brazil to collaborate on these projects and benefit from a variety of perspectives and skills.
Reducing travel by meeting online
Kroton staff has been using Microsoft Lync Online for meetings, internal calls, and presence. “Thanks to Lync Online, Kroton has been able to reduce its travel budget by 30 percent,” says Oliveira. “Lync Online also reduces our need for meeting space in our new offices because people can easily take meetings from anywhere.”
The company is enthusiastic about implementing Skype for Business Online, which integrates Microsoft unified communications technology with the Skype video calling service used by millions of people worldwide. “We are actively testing Skype for Business Online now among our 20-person infrastructure team, including myself. We have already noticed improved call quality and reduced bandwidth consumption compared to Lync Online, which will be a major benefit when we roll it out to the entire organization,” says Oliveira.
Enhancing security and control
Kroton uses its existing Active Directory service to control policies, settings, and identity verification for Office 365. Oliveira says, “This way, we can offer single sign-on for users and propagate all policies to Office 365 cloud services automatically.”
With strict requirements to help protect student privacy, Kroton needed a solution that it could trust with sensitive personal information. “Office 365 met our stringent security and privacy terms, providing a high level of service and support directly from Microsoft,” says Oliveira. “Brazil has a dedicated Microsoft Education team, so we always have the support we need.”
Innovating for student success
Connecting students to real-world employment opportunities is a key Kroton strategy. “We have a platform that enables businesses to publish job openings, which are then automatically matched to student competencies and locations,” says Oliveira. This platform also gives Kroton valuable information about the key competencies that employers are looking for, so the education provider can tailor its offerings to match. The company plans to integrate the employment matching solution with Office 365 single sign-on so students can participate more easily.
Kroton has long been a leader in the use of technology to further student achievement, and Office 365 enables the organization to continue that tradition. “Office 365 will give our students an edge in the workplace, and it plays an integral role in our company’s plans for the future,” says Rodrigo Galindo, President of Kroton. “Bringing more than a million users together on a unified productivity platform is a major undertaking, and the close partnership and support we have from Microsoft gives us the peace of mind that we need to make it happen.”

Microsoft Office 365
The new Office provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications—plus email, calendar, videoconferencing, and your most current documents—on almost any device, from PCs to smartphones to tablets.
For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to: 
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
"At the end of our extensive evaluation process, it was clear that Office 365 met all our requirements and in many cases delivered far beyond them." - Mauricio Oliveira: IT Infrastructure and Technology Manager

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