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  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    So Microsoft, what is Software + Services?


    A common question I’m asked and one I’m always happy to answer.  There is also this video on YouTube.  It neatly summarises the problems faced by IT departments with changing business needs and provides some insight as to how to strike the right balance.  Additionally, it contrasts SaaS with S+S and helps to illustrate how an S+S strategy brings benefits to all parties in the solution.  It’s about choice.

    For more detail on this, we have this link which demonstrates a S+S solution for providing a strategic communication platform for your institution

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Ultimate Steal finishing soon


    Don’t miss the boat – Office for £38.95 is ending soon

    If this is your last year at Uni or College, don’t miss out on this special students-only deal on Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for only £38.95. You can only get it at and only while you’ve got a valid .ac email address. So before you leave and lose your email address get online and get genuine non-pirate software you can trust. You’re going to need reliable and genuine software for those times you bring work home, and you might as well make it the latest versions.

    You have to be quick as this price is ending on 30th June 2009 and you’ll hate yourself if you miss out.

    Look at what you get: the latest Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook as well as Publisher, Access, Groove and OneNote. At £38.95, that’s 90% off estimated retail price. But you’ve got to have a student or faculty email address with a domain from a UK higher education institution.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Gartner Case Study on Unified Communication in Higher Education


    conference call Thanks to some research I’m doing on behalf of a university in North East England, one of my colleagues in the US passed on details of the University of Kentucky and the project to implement a unified communications platform.  This has surfaced both a Microsoft and Gartner case study.

    In summary the Gartner study shows how the university implemented a Unified Communications solution to:

    • Cut costs – no surprise there
    • Enhance communications
    • Provide a uniformity for communications across the university

    The Gartner case study is stated as being explicitly for the UK, which is interesting to note.  Naturally, the technology deployed is my current favourite – Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.  In the UK, getting on for forty universities now have the software licences to deploy OCS across their campus which means that these could already be achieving the savings, efficiencies and enhancements that is written about in the case studies.  In addition to this, those universities could also federate to enhance communication and collaboration with other HE institutions, research partners/funders, employers and students.

    Gartner’s assessment is here:

    Microsoft’s write up is here:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft announces Exchange 2010 Beta


    Brief Description

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 helps you achieve new levels of reliability and performance by delivering features that help to simplify your administration, protect your communications, and delight your users by meeting their demands for greater business mobility.

    There’s also an excellent post from the VP of Exchange with more details about the Software + Services nature of Exchange 2010.  Did you know we already have 5 million plus users on the platform and I guess many of those are students on live@edu.


    Get downloading now

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Identity Management and Access for Education including live@edu






    Microsoft’s partner, Oxford Computer Group, is running a seminar in Reading on 4 June, details below:

    Seminar: Identity and Access for Education, including Live@edu, ILM ‘‘2’’ and IAG

    Attend this free seminar to learn about Live@edu and solutions for identity and access management in Education.

    Held in partnership with Microsoft and Oxford Computer Group (OCG) this seminar shows the technologies and services being used by leading education organisations to optimise and support infrastructure services for messaging, collaboration and identity and access management.

    At this event we will provide an overview of Microsoft’s Live@edu services and show how these can be easily integrated with your existing infrastructure using Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007. We will then demonstrate how you can leverage this platform and implement a feature-rich solution for identity lifecycle management that works with Live@edu and your existing systems.

    We will also cover solutions for secure remote access, showing how Microsoft Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) enables you to set up and manage remote access to your systems for students, staff and partners without compromising security.

    When and Where?

    Thursday 4th June 2009. Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG.


    09:00 – 09:45 Identity and Access for Education – Optimise your current Infrastructure (Microsoft)clip_image002[4]

    09:45 – 10:45 Overview of Live@edu & Outlook Live (Microsoft)

    10:45 – 11:15 Connecting Live@edu with existing Platforms and Systems (OCG)

    11:15 – 11:30 Break

    11:30 – 13:00 Identity  Lifecycle Management for Education with ILM “2” (OCG)

    13:00 – 13.45 Lunch and Q&A

    13.45 – 14.45 Secure Remote Access with IAG (OCG)

    14.45 – 15.15 Customer Case Study - University of the West of England (Customer)

    15.15 – 15.45 Q&A and Close


    Please confirm your attendance by emailing Bonami Meredith (  This event is limited to 20 attendees.

    About OCG

    Oxford Computer Group (OCG) is a Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in Identity and Access (IDA) Management. OCG has an enviable repository of expertise, solution components and training courses from 300+ enterprise-wide identity and access deployments and from training 3,000+ people on Microsoft IDA technologies.  Customers include King’s College London, the University of Reading, Royal Holloway University of London, University of the West of England and many more.


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft talks to the BBC about spam


    There’s a new article on the BBC website today including interviews with Cliff Evans, head of security and privacy for Microsoft in the UK, and Ed Gibson who was with us at this year’s UCISA conference.  There are one or two conflicting statements from others in the industry but Microsoft claims that around 97% of email sent over the net are unwanted.  The good thing is that for many these go unnoticed thanks to advanced screening.

    Ed follows on from the theme of his talk at the UCISA conference saying that the rise in spam is occurring because organised crime is moving from “exploiting software vulnerabilities” to focusing on the “weak link that is you and me”.  Put another way, as I’m sure Steve Riley did a couple of years ago at IT Forum, “it’s a shift from hacking silicon to hacking carbon” or words to that effect.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Using Photosynth to show off your Campus


    Just in case your applicants are wondering how great your campus is over Easter, why not use Photosynth to remind them and stick some images on your website?

    Here’s one I did of Sheffield Hallam University’s student union building:

    Perhaps it’s best to wait for the sun to shine and the white vans to get out of the way first though.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Funding available for CRM in Higher Education


    This is great to see and also very interesting that the JISC is getting directly involved with a project that is so closely linked to revenue-in for a university.  What is it?  The JISC is looking for institutions for submit a proposal for a series of pilot projects in Relationship Management.  What’s more they have £900,000 GBP to spend on the projects.

    You’ve not got long to get a proposal in though, the deadline is the 18 May.  For more information look here.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Office Live workspace moves up a gear


    This is such a useful service that keeps getting better and better.  With the addition of Silverlight we can add so many more capabilities to improve OfficeLive.  If you’re already a user then you’ll have seen some news today of the latest developments.  If you’re not then you’re missing out on one of the hottest on-line collaboration services there is but don’t worry, you can sign up now.

    We’ve recently changed OfficeLive to include:

    • Folders
      • Multi folders in the workspace will be a massive bonus
    • More storage
      • 5GB of storage
      • This is on top of the 25GB storage in Skydrive
      • Which is also on-top of the 10 GB storage on Live@edu or 5GB if you’re a hotmail user
      • This is on-top of the 5GB of Mesh storage
    • As well as more storage there’s now a multiple file upload and here’s how you do it

    For more information about what’s new check here

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Live map updates on the London G20 visit – geospatial display


    Whilst checking the latest news on the G20 meeting at I came across a link with live information displayed geographically.  It contains photos, video and text of what’s going on and the BBC is using Microsoft’s virtual earth platform to deliver this.  Have a look:


    (not sure how long the BBC will maintain this link so be quick)

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