Case Western Reserve University is in the process of adopting Google Apps for Education.
Google Apps consists of a number of different applications such as e-mail, calendars, document preparation, Web sites and more.
"Google offers these services for free to educational institutions," said Jeffrey Gumpf, chief information technology architect at Case Western Reserve. "Google Apps is implemented in the 'software as a service' (SAAS) model. In a SAAS model, the vendor operates and maintains the software applications, which comprise the service as well as the systems (servers, storage, data centers, etc.) on which the applications run," he explained.
One of the advantages of Google Apps for Case Western Reserve is that Information Technology Services (ITS) does not need to maintain the application software, infrastructure or data center environment required to run these services. Another advantage to the SAAS model is that the vendor can more easily update and improve its services than would be possible if the services were implemented locally.
Google regularly updates and adds functionality to the services it offers.
"This is particularly useful in the situation where the service is essentially 'commodity,' which means the service is widely used and universally available and not something that is specific to the institution," Gumpf said. "ITS can free both human and fiscal resources from supporting these commodity services. We can spend those resources instead to support services that are more unique to CWRU and that aren't cost effectively available otherwise."
Gumpf said ITS consulted with the Council of Technology Officers and explored a number of alternatives for collaborative environments supporting these services before selecting Google Apps.
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