Creating an Innovative Environment

Kurt Madden, CTO, Fresno Unified School District
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Connecting Students through Microsoft for Career Growth
 
We have partnered with Microsoft for the past seven years and have experienced significant efficiency gains in a number of  areas, including email (Exchange and Outlook), Collaboration (Sharepoint, Lync and Yammer), Data Center (SCCM, Hyper-V),  productivity (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote), cloud infrastructure (OneDrive, Office365), application and database  development and operations (Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server). The result of having Microsoft involved in nearly every area of our operations has helped us connect our 10,000 employees to the systems, applications,  communication and services they need to carry out the mission of helping our 72,000 students for their college and career  ahead. This data is based on a survey conducted by Fresno Unified School District in 2011.
 
"The result of having Microsoft involved in nearly every area of our operations has helped connect our 10,000 employees with  our 72,000 students be college and career ready"
 
Decision Making with Microsoft Consulting Services
 
We developed a new Student Information System (SIS) with the help of Microsoft Consulting Services in 2010. It is  foundational to almost everything we do and is integrated with most of our systems to help provide the decision oriented  information that our teachers, principals, district leaders and staff need to improve student achievement for our students.
 
Office 365—Impressive yet Challenging
 
Sharepoint continues to improve, especially with the new version for Office365, We think the new version of Office365 is very  impressive. Prior to this, it was a rather clunky solution, but the new version is very quick. However it is still too  challenging to learn for most of our staff to use as an effective collaborative tool. As a result many of our staff have  migrated to other tools like OneNote, Lync and Yammer for collaboration. OneDrive has amazing speed and the Office  applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote) work well in the cloud. In addition, the ability to quickly share  documents and presentations with others and edit them collaboratively is extremely easy and is changing the way we work.
 
SQL Server—Effective and Easy to Implement
 
All of our ERP systems use SQL Server on the back end which creates tremendous efficiencies in integrating the data for  dashboards and decision-making. We are also utilizing Excel and Pivot combined with SQL Server Management Studio as our  primary data analysis tools—they have proven to be very effective and easy to implement.
 
Develop Partnership for Efficiency
 
We would recommend subscribing to Microsoft’s Premier service. The annual cost will be more than returned in professional  development, a better running data center, and quick resolution of critical problems. A partnership with Microsoft Premier  and Microsoft Consulting Services becomes key to success of Microsoft Solutions in an enterprise business environment. They  help in implementing the solutions beyond the documentation and Premier assists with configuration, tuning and deeper  understanding of the solutions which has led to improved  efficiencies and effectiveness. Don’t just buy their products, but  develop a partnership with Microsoft that can create an environment of innovation and efficiency.

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