Abilene Christian University is located in Abilene, Texas,
which is about 180 miles west of Dallas Ft.
Worth, and we are a liberal arts four-year undergraduate
Our entire campus, faculty, staff, and students, use
And we've been using the entire suite of products.
I guess we went live, fully, in October of 2007.
We opened it up for people to start
converting over in April.
Email had become a bit of a commodity.
There was an expectation on the part of our users that it
was available 24/7/365, no down time at all, and in our
shop, that was an unrealistic expectation.
We couldn't meet that.
Our email administrator left the university, and so we were
wrestling with, what in the world do we do?
We're a fairly small shop, and so that was a big loss for us.
And as we were wrestling with, how do we digest that loss
from our email administrator, the Google announcement was
fresh in our minds, and we thought, boy, let's--
what does this do?
Really, the decision was pretty easy.
It was one that we looked at.
The cost is certainly easy to get your arms around.
And so once we made that decision to move, it really
went pretty quickly from there.
80% of our students converted the very
first day, which was--
we were blown away.
We had no idea that it would be that high
of an adoption rate.
We were thrilled by that.
Immediately, what they received were some of the
benefits that Google Mail brings to the table.
The ability to be threaded email discussions, and if
you're not a Gmail user, I would encourage
you to go out there.
Once you get used to that, you'll never go back, the
ability to embed chat and to collaborate with each other.
A lot of professors are starting to use Google
Documents, for example, on collaborative projects in
And so the students are working on a paper within
The professor can go in periodically and look at that
paper before they ever even turn it in and make
suggestions on hey, you might want to think about this.
Our registrar's office, for example, has created an
academic calendar for the entire university that you can
subscribe to, that shows application for graduation is
this date, and registration for juniors starts at this
time on this date, and all of those events.
And it's a click away from anybody on campus being able
to see that.
Incoming freshman, starting in the fall, are going to receive
an iPhone or an iPod Touch.
A huge part of us being able to make that happen was
dependent upon Google Apps.
While a number of schools and a number of, certainly,
corporations around the country were stuck with the
Microsoft Exchange integration component with the iPhone,
that wasn't an issue for us at all.
We immediately went past that.
The Google Apps were native to the iPhone almost immediately,
and so we jumped past all of that that.
The email administrator that I told you about that left, we
were able to re-purpose that position over to
a developer's position.
So we have now another developer on our staff.
As opposed to someone babysitting and maintaining an
email system, we have someone that is developing
applications that are used by our students and our
faculty every day.
They're working on iPhone things.
They're working on ways to optimize some of the things
that were working in Google.
They're working on things that add value to the educational
experience for our students.
And that's really the power in that.
The ability to be able to focus our resources on helping
our students be better educated and better learners--
wow, what a huge win.
Every now and then in your career you get one of those
no-brain decisions, and this was one of them for us.
It's been a win all the way around.
We've gotten better functionality, better
security, and able to refocus resources on the things that
really matter, and not babysit an email system.
At the end of the day, students aren't better
educated because you have a good email system.
And so we are thrilled to be able to leverage that power.