Are Office 365 and SharePoint comprehensible enough for educational institutions? Many schools are looking at the possibilities of the free Office 365 licences for Education to replace their file servers, however, there are schools that maintain their local file server. Why don’t these educational institutions, often with a limited IT budget, choose Office 365? Of course, there are multiple reasons; here you’ll find a few important ones.
The interface of a file server vs. Office 365
What is the convenience of a file server? In most cases, you reach files on a file server through the Windows file explorer. This means that you click a folder from the desktop or task bar, after which both your personal and shared folders will appear on the left.
Even though you have several ways to set up Office 365, you usually log in to the mailbox. To get to your files, you have to click the links in the top menu. Here’s the biggest difference: a user has to choose here between OneDrive (your personal files) or Sites (SharePoint for shared files). Consequently, they navigate to their files a lot slower and there’s a lot of explanation necessary to learn the difference between Sites (SharePoint) and OneDrive. The interface differs too much from what they’re used to.
The power of Office 365 & file servers in Workspace 365
By simplifying SharePoint, OneDrive and the file server, Workspace 365 helps educational institutions to use the complete power of Office 365. By combining the user-friendly overview of file servers with the powerful online possibilities of Office 365, we’ve created a Documents app in Workspace 365.
With this, you get SharePoint, OneDrive and the file server in one consistent user interface, so that people can start working with their files without any training. Because of this simplification and other simplifications, including adding a close button to files, everyone can work easily.
Setting up workspaces in Office 365 vs. Workspace 365 with Azure
As Office 365 admin, you have limited influence over the app menu of the users. You can only influence the Office 365 apps through issuing licences. Has Microsoft developed a new app? Then they’ll push it to everyone’s home screen without warning. Users have to add any other application themselves through the app menu.
For this reason, we provide the Workspace 365 admins with the ability to easily set up the workspaces of students, teachers, classes and more, with App Group Management. By synchronising with the Azure Active Directory, the management remains in one location and all users and groups are available in Workspace 365.
Subsequently, you can add any type of web and legacy application to an app group and make them visible on all dashboards of students, classes, teachers or other employees within an app group with just one click. This makes it possible to give all students access to certain group apps, but also to create a tile to a certain folder for a specific class or year with Workspace 365.
The legacy applications can be added as hosted applications (through for example Clientless RDP or Citrix XenApp) or as locally installed applications. By connecting with the Azure Marketplace it’s possible to offer Single Sign-On on more than 3,300 web applications.
Specially for education
With educational institutions, software developers and our partners we research the ideal workspace for students, teachers and employees. As an independent party, we want to look at options to integrate and simplify several services (like AFAS, ParnasSys, Magister, etc.) in a browser based workspace, together with educational institutions. Do you want to know more or do you want to participate in this research? Visit our Workspace 365 for Education page. Do you want to experience Workspace 365 for yourself? Try the free demo.
Gijs van Hees
Gijs van Hees