Part nine of the series of Top 10 ICT Money Saving Tips for schools, based on my BETT 2010 presentation
When the DCSF issued their "Securing our Future" Discussion Guide (download the PDF version), it was accompanied by dire headlines in the papers warning of the need to save £750 million pounds in school budgets. Although the headlines were strong, the advice in the document was focused on practical things that schools could do to save money. And there were a number of examples of ICT driven savings, including the example of the London Grid for Learning:
|London schools have reduced their ICT costs by adopting shared ICT services through London
Grid for Learning (LGfL). In addition to broadband and learning platforms, shared services now
include remotely hosted email accounts and personal server space for all staff and students, thus
removing the need for schools to host their own exchange servers. Compared to school-hosted
email services, schools save upwards of £10 per user per year – more than £11 million for London
Which leads me directly my Money Saving Tip Number 9 - endorsed by the civil servants of Whitehall (okay, that’s a bit cheeky, but hey, this is a blog!)
Switch off your email servers!
Did you know that instead of running your own email servers, or paying somebody to run an email service for you, you could simply just switch to our free cloud-based Live@edu service? In the past we've offered this to local authorities and to your Regional Broadband Consortium-which is exactly why it's been featured as a London-wide solution - the LGfL switched last year.
Here's the bullet point version of what it is:
- Provides a co-branded hosted Exchange solution at no cost with Outlook Live (10GB mailbox per user)
- Equip your students for the real world with Microsoft tools
- Help to keep your students’ data private and promote online safety
- Excite students with 25GB of free file and document online storage on Windows Live SkyDrive
- Simplify online collaboration and document sharing with Office Live Workspace
- Give your school a reliable and easy-to-manage Microsoft solution with enhanced security
- Supported on all popular browsers on Windows or Mac, including Firefox and Safari
And now you can sign up your school individually, and not have to go through your local authority. So if you're spending money on email for your students (or not using email as much as you want with students because of the cost implications) then here's what you do:
- You register for a trial on our website
- We'll then setup the system for you, with an Exchange sever in Dublin doing all the work,
- You can then access your email. from the web (using the 2010 version of Outlook Web Access), or from your existing email client (such as Outlook) or from other devices (like your mobile phone)
- You can keep your own email address and domain (like email@example.com)
- And if you like it, you just keep using it. Free. Forever.
It really is that simple.
Now I reckon at this point you'll have some questions. So let's see how well l do at answering them!
- No, there is no advertising on the email
- Yes, really, it's free
- No, your data doesn't take a transatlantic trip we keep it in our EU-based data centre in Dublin.
- Yes, your students can each have a 10 GB mailbox, not 109B divided amongst them all
- No, we don't scan the email for targeting adverts (see above!)
- Yes, you can set it up so that email is filtered for banned words (or even set it up with a third-party system to do email filtering etc - as LGfL have done)
- No, we don't charge anything. It's free.
So what should you do next?
- If you're in London, talk to LGfL to find out when your school is scheduled to be switched on.
- Otherwise, you can sign up for a trial (and I'd also recommend in parallel finding out if your local authority or RBC plans to roll this out).
How much will it save?
The DCSF Discussion Paper estimated a minimum of £10 per user per year-meaning £11m across London. But it might be different (or more) in your school, so here's the costs you might save:
- Server licences (Darn it, that's normally Exchange and Windows Server as a minimum!)
- CALs (if you don’t know the acronym, CAL=Client Access Licence, then I recommend staying blissfully unaware, and leaving it to your network manager!)
- Server hardware
- Power for the server (24 x 365 could easily be £1,500+)
- Cooling for the server
- Support contract for the server
- Filtering and spam-handling software
- Technician time to keep it running and management time too
- Backup devices
- Backup media
- …and I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things
Instead, we take of all of that stuff (including server maintenance, backup and disaster recovery). If we use DCSF’s £10 per user per year, then that could mean a typical secondary school saving nearly £10,000 a year. And savings of £2,500+ for a primary school.
What’s not to like?
A little bonus - a little later this year will be announcing the addition of new SharePoint Online based collaboration and productivity services tailored for students as part of the Live@edu online service. Based on the next version of SharePoint Online, these new services will be available to customers starting in the second half of 2010. Click here to learn more.