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A Business Case for Google Apps for Education

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Problem Statement

Goldfarb School of Nursing (GSON)’s lack of technology enhancement is a weakness. This weakness causes problems with: accreditation organizations, students’ satisfaction, aspiring nurse preparation, budget management, student retention, and student recruitment.


Analysis of Situation

BJC’s GroupWise email and messenger limit communication and collaboration among GSON stakeholders. GroupWise Messenger is not accessible outside the organization firewall, nor are students able to connect to the organization’s email system using a mobile device without incurring a cost. Because instant communication is lost and external communication is limited, students may be dissatisfied. Student dissatisfaction may have an effect on student retention, student recruitment, and the reputation of the organization. Moreover, the technology enhancements could allow better user experiences, like students learning in the way they want to learn, with technology.

Beyond email and messenger, other innovative communication mediums exist. Documents can be shared and collaborated on in real time and videos can be shared, as with YouTube. These same approaches can be used in an educational environment to enhance operational efficiency as well as teaching and learning. Document sharing would allow students to collaborate with their peers and professors on projects or homework assignments. Video sharing can be used for nurse preparation, student orientation, or to share information related to drug or alcohol abuse, which is a compliance requirement for Title IX.

Because GSON is limited by the lack of technology enhancements, third party solutions have been considered for procurement. For example, Mediacore, a video sharing product, was reviewed. The purpose of the product would be to share videos among different stakeholders throughout the College. Various departments would have the ability to share videos. While this is a great tool, as you will see in the cost benefit analysis section of this document, sound fiscal management would be remiss.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an accrediting body of the College, requires a plan for innovation and technology.

1. Criterion/standard 5.C.5 states: Institutional planning anticipates emerging factors, such as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization.

2. Criterion/standard 3.D.4. states: The institution provides to students and instructors the infrastructure and resources necessary to support effective teaching and learning (technological infrastructure, scientific laboratories, libraries, performance spaces, clinical practice sites, museum collections, as appropriate to the institution’s offerings).

To address the problems presented in this business case, Google Apps for Education is recommended.



The solution to the problems presented in this business case is to implement Google Apps for Education (GAE). GAE is chosen because it addresses the main problem and sub-problems initially presented in this business case.

Student mobile access – The issue of mobile access for students will be addressed because this platform allows for access at no cost to students. This solution also mitigates BJC’s risk because stakeholders’ email will not be going through the main email system.

Increases stakeholders’ use and return on investment (ROI) – The benefit is twofold. We hope to capitalize on stakeholders’ prior knowledge and use of Google Apps that way we increase our return on investment. The ROI would be faster because time to full implementation would be less.

Purchase of third party platforms – Google Apps for Education provides similar solutions to those we are seeking from third party vendors. This allows us (Administration) to be good stewards of our budget.

Mission of College/Teaching and Learning – Teaching and learning / nurse preparation is why we exist. Today’s students are tech savvy and want to learn that way. To that end, this solution addresses this problem because it provides a platform for 21st century teaching and learning to take place. In addition, because of our ability to better prepare aspiring nurses, there may be a positive impact on the College’s reputation that would help sustain and increase our market share and create a competitive advantage.

Accreditation – This problem is addressed by GAE creating an environment that provides students and instructors the infrastructure and resources necessary to support effective teaching and learning.

Table 1 is a snapshot of how Google Apps for Education addresses the problems presented in this business case by app.

Table 1

Current Structure vs. Google Apps for Education with benefits

Applications Current Structure Google Apps for Education Benefits
Email X X Adds familiar platform stakeholders know – increase use / ROI
Email mobile access X – cost for students X No cost to students
Messenger X – not external X Increases communication by adding external access
Video Conference – Google Hangout X Eliminates need for third party platform / decrease budget implications
Shared Documents anytime /anywhere X Increases collaboration among stakeholders
Video Sharing X Eliminates need for third party platform / decrease budget implications
Calendar X X Increases use among stakeholders because users have prior knowledge of the system
Appointments X Eliminates need for third party platform / decrease budget implications


To implement this solution change would have to take place from structural, human resource, political, and symbolic perspectives.


To implement this project the following platforms or utilities will be needed:

Google Apps for Education (GAE) – is the platform that allows us access to the different apps that address the problems presented in this case.

Google Active Directory (GADS) – is a utility provided by Google that allows user accounts to be created using automation. At a given time, the GADS tool will execute by looking inside of the designated OU in Active Directory. Then, any changes will be synced with GAE. This process is encrypted.

Google Apps Password Sync (GAPS) – is a utility provided by Google that automatically keeps your users’ Google Apps passwords in sync with their Active Directory passwords. Whenever a user’s Active Directory password is changed, GAPS pushes the change to Google Apps immediately

Active Directory (AD) – AD is used throughout the organization for access control. Our students complete clinical experiences throughout the BJC system; therefore, they still need network access. For Google Apps for Education, we would need a student’s “mail” attribute to end in barnesjewishcollege.edu.

Domain Name Services – In the domain control panel for barnesjewishcollege.edu, the MX record would need to be changed to point to Google’s mail servers. These mail servers are provided once we are approved by Google. We would also need the CNAME setup that points to webmail.barnesjewishcollege.edu.

Website – The website is used to verify the barnesjewishcollege.edu domain.

Additional Deployment Information:


Human Resources

At this point, no new employees are needed; however, technical and non-technical stakeholders will be affected by this change. The technical stakeholders are:

1. BJC IS Security – We will need them to make sure that the risk to BJC infrastructure will not be compromised.

2. BJC IS Email Server Group – We will need this group to make sure our approach to adding GAE as an email platform will not interfere with GroupWise.

3. BJC IS Domain Name Services Group – We will need this group to make the domain changes to the barnesjewishcollege.edu domain.

4. BJC IS Help Desk Group – This group will need to understand how to help a student calling for support due to migrating over to GAE.

5. GSON – Angela Trower – She has access to make changes to the College’s website.

6. GSON – Information Systems – Information Systems will need to understand the technology implications as they relates to GAE.

7. GSON – Instructional Technology – Instructional Technology would be responsible for communicating the change and developing a student and faculty training program.

8. GSON – Administrators, Faculty, Staff, and Students


The two key political areas that need to be addressed are:

1. BJC IS approval to implement the proposed solution.

2. GSON stakeholders’ attitude toward change.

To address issue one, this business case has been submitted, and we are having monthly meetings with BJC IS to work through the details and build relationships. Issue two will be addressed by developing a communication and training plan that addresses GSON stakeholders’ concerns.


Part of the communication plan created by the Instructional Technology department will mentioned how making this change prepares the college for future and allows 21st Century teaching and learning. Change champions would also be identified to help with this transition.

Cost benefit analysis (CBA)

The cost benefit analysis includes quantitative and qualitative benefits.

Quantitative Benefits

The cost for not changing our current practice will be a $66,118 initial investment. Every year after until year 5 will cost 49% of the initial investment or $32,728. Year 5, the cost will increase due to the SharePoint server equipment replacement cycle. See tables below.

This CBA does not include labor; however Google Apps compared to our given structure (GroupWise) and third party applications is the most appropriate. The fact that GAE is free is not the only reason for this choice. GAE meets our needs.

Table 2

Current Structure with Third Party Calculations

Applications & Hardware Use QTY Year 1 Cost Comments
BJC Email Mobile Mobile Email 800 Students X $10 $8000 1. Recurring cost for new students each year.

2. Paid by students

Mediacore Video Share 1 $30,000 Annually
BJC-SharePoint Server Document Share 1 $15,000 Every 5 years
BJC-SharePoint Cals Document Share 1000 ($11) $11,000
BJC DropBox Document Share 1 $390
Appointments e-Appointments 1 $1728 Annually
TOTAL $66,118 Does not include labor
Table 3

3 Year Cost Forecast

Application Year 1 Cost Year 2 Cost Year 3 Cost Comments
Email Mobile $8000 $1000 $1000 Recurring cost for new students each year
Mediacore $30,000 $30,000 $30,000 Annually
SharePoint Server $15,000 Every 5 years
SharePoint Cals $11,000
BJC DropBox $390
Appointments $1728 $1728 $1728 Annually
TOTAL $66,118 $32,728 $32,728 Annually


Qualitative benefits

The qualitative benefits gained from this implementation are satisfied students and increased student learning outcomes. These qualitative benefits also have a positive effect on data required by the accreditation agencies, student recruitment, and GSON’s reputation.


Total Cost of Ownership

I do not have the labor costs; therefore, I could not determine the TCO.


Conclusion – What is the impact of not implementing this new application?

The price for not addressing these problems presented in this case study may have an effect on the College:

1. Accreditation;

2. Student experience and satisfaction;

3. Market share and competitive advantage;

4. Over spending; and

5. Antiquated teaching practices


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