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India's premier higher education institution, and one among the top institutions in the world, was using a combination of Google Apps and Dropbox for their document creation, collaboration, file sharing and storage needs. They had no unified solution in place for information dissemination such as campus events, deadlines, holidays, projects. The current manual and discrete data collection methods made it difficult to gather and analyze data. Staff and students were on different directory services. There were no communities and sites, critical digital tools for team and community based interaction and information sharing. These were serious impediments for effective faculty-student interaction.
When our consultants set out to assess and recommend a solution, one key factor that they had to take into account was the diversity of the end user devices – multiple versions of Windows, to Mac OS, Linux, iOS and Android. Data required for institutional processes was collected in various ways – using web forms, Google Docs and Survey Monkey, apart from manual data collection through printed forms. Based on our detailed system study, we recommended a SharePoint based solution to provide a single window solution for their diverse needs, and replace all their unconnected point solutions.
Quadra’s portal solution would enable faculty and students to connect well, store and synchronize documents, keep their numerous projects on track, create and publish professional documents, all in a rich interface, supported by a powerful development platform. With a comprehensive project plan, driven through Microsoft Project, our SharePoint consultants delivered an end to end experience, right from infrastructure review and design, to implementation, customization and end user training.
The unified portal deployment with mixed & multi-mode authentication enabled faculty, students and external users to seamlessly connect and share information, with a uniform look and feel. By moving users from an external cloud based document creating and sharing solution to Office Web Apps on premise, we could enable concurrent editing, co-authoring and collaboration, along with offline editing and synchronization integrated with their on-premises Exchange Server. Searching for information and people was now handled by the powerful enterprise search functionality built into their portal. The solution also enabled electronic data collection, validation, workflow with granular permissions. Most importantly, our deployment helped in powerful community interaction, powered by social tools such as discussion boards, MySites, blogs and wikis – critical for a higher education and research institute.
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