The pandemic has not only transformed the ways of working and living, but fundamentally affected the ways of learning as well. Educational institutions found themselves in the need of rapid digitalization in order to provide learning and training processes remotely. Like many universities around the world, Universidad Minuto de Diós (UniMinuto) based in Colombia wasn’t prepared to meet the changing business and market requirements.
UniMinuto is helping 100,000 underprivileged students in over 220 operating sites and 35 cities in Colombia. The pandemic caused the university to come to a halt with inability to handle capacity for remote operation. Their challenges included:
- Outdated video and voice infrastructure based on legacy (old PBX) and analog/digital infrastructure completely on-premises and geographically tied
- No automation of tools and processes to handle student registrations online
- Lack of processes established for streamlined online communication, especially audio/video capabilities, meeting rooms
- No tools and processes to run virtual classes were established
The university was in a need of a powerful, yet simple and affordable solution. Following the initial discussions with Microsoft, Softline planned and supported the adoption of Microsoft Teams University and implemented its proprietary TotalVoice solution to bring true digital transformation from envisioning to reinventing the business processes of the university.
TotalVoice to manage costs
TotalVoice is an Azure application developed by Softline allowing any organization to migrate their voice network to the cloud with strict budget politics. The application is integrated into Microsoft 365 to obtain all the necessary telecommunication data. The cloud-based solution provides the deployment of a flexible and scalable phone service solution and guarantees fast migration time allowing integration with the current solution without significant costs.
Through TotalVoice the university is able to digitalize education nation-wide and to connect all the administrative areas streamlining communications. With direct routing certified devices were used to connect their trunks and current PBX to allow their collaborators to use the telephone service and provide operational continuity from home.
Microsoft Teams for virtual classrooms
In addition to TotalVoice, UniMinuto implemented Microsoft Teams University in collaboration with Softline and Microsoft. As a result, all the classrooms have been integrated into Teams as online meetings enabling for more than 100,000 students nationwide to get back to learning in 15 days. As a part of the process automation, Softline created digital Microsoft Forms integrated into Teams to provide students the opportunity to register for classes online, speeding up student registration from 5 days to 4 minutes.
Throughout the phases of deployment, Softline followed adoption and change management practices to ensure that all participants and end users understand the solution and the usage of the new technology implemented.
The ability of providing hybrid learning was an important factor giving more opportunity to the university. Softline equipped them with Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub devices pre-configured for Microsoft Teams Rooms. It is an automated, easy-to-use tablet with built-in camera and microphone allowing the institution to combine traditional classroom experience with digital course delivery. The equipment works in all the classrooms of the university ensuring low-cost endpoints with automation and native Teams integration. UniMinuto now has the option to have either a virtual or a hybrid class with easy administration - one employee can set up and run the class onsite, while everyone else is connected remotely.
Softline’s TotalVoice Solution integrated with Teams not only helped transform the organization but also enabled faculty and students remain connected in their communities.
- With the help of Softline, UniMinuto successfully adopted Microsoft 365 and cloud telephone solution. Now, it uses Microsoft Teams to create a more secure and high-performing remote learning environment
- Single solution with Microsoft Teams as central platform to manage all the administrative and educational processes
- University was able to sustain helping underprivileged children and give them high quality learning tools with Microsoft Teams
- Students were able to continue learning, and socially interacting with teachers and other students, as well as learning Microsoft tools in the process
- Softline enabled registration for classes with omnichannel communication (Whatsapp, email, social channels). Digital Microsoft Forms integrated with Teams sped up student registration, from 5 days to 4 minutes
- TotalVoice (Teams + Phone System) has allowed the university to improve their work with greater efficiency, customer service and business continuity.
“We transformed the way we interact with our students. Our classes did not stop for a single day and the lockdown didn’t interrupt our being together. Today we have robust platforms enabling us to work 100% remotely. Students, administrative staff and teachers can use the platform from anywhere. For UniMinuto the classroom is now Microsoft Teams. There we have all the meetings, we track all projects, with Power BI dashboards, and our information is centralized in Sharepoint. We really enjoy all these collaboration and productivity tools” - Said Saul Reyes, UniMinuto Director of Technology and Information Systems.
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