The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) was formed in 1968 to oversee all state-supported higher education in the state of Nevada, including two doctoral-granting research universities, one state college, four community colleges and one research institute.
Approximately 98,000 students attend degree-granting campuses under NSHEs helm while the organization’s administrative component is made up of around 300 employees, led by an elected Board of Regents. 13 Board of Regents officials, each elected to six-year terms, set policies and approve budgets for Nevada’s entire public system of higher education.
From Lotus Notes to Google Apps
After running their organization on Lotus Notes for more than 15 years, NSHE’s messaging system was in need of an overhaul. According to James Unfried, NSHE’s Application Administrator, Notes’ maintenance costs, cumbersome hardware and miniscule disk space sent the organization looking for a new solution.
In 2011, Steven Zink, NSHE’s new Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, arrived with just the solution: Google Apps. Dr. Zink, who had been running his own Apps domain for more than two years, encouraged the organization to ‘go Google.’ Zink knew that Google Apps would provide NSHE with tremendous flexibility and appreciated the suite’s inclusive product offering – services like Google Docs, Drive, integrated Chat and video were enticing motivators to move NSHE to Google and would “help the organization keep pace with modern technology.”
Since its move to Google Apps in 2011, NSHE has enabled virtually every aspect of the Apps suite, including Google+. The organization has also assisted one of its member schools with their migration from Lotus Notes to Google Apps.
Making Managing Google Apps a Snap with FlashPanel
When it comes to managing his domain, Unfried goes straight to FlashPanel, noting that he logs into the application one to six times every day to monitor domain activity, browse the Directory, edit and manage Groups and much more.
According to Unfried, “FlashPanel makes it easy to see a lot of information in one place and I don’t have to go digging for it. Looking up user information is simpler in FlashPanel than in the Control Panel.”
When an employee leaves NSHE, Unfried uses FlashPanel’s deprovisioning workflow. “I love that I can deprovision a user in a wizard because it allows me to easily see and transfer ownership of any Sites, Docs and Calendars. The wizard really streamlines a lot of day to day domain maintenance.”
Unfried also prefers FlashPanel’s Groups management tool to the the native UI. “Looking up Groups in FlashPanel is really nice because, at a glance, I can see how many members are in a particular group and if that group has been hidden from the Directory. Plus, FlashPanel puts Group settings front and center, I don’t have to dig around like in the Google Groups management interface.”
Following a common theme, Unfried also loves FlashPanel’s Drive features, noting that such “granularity is not available in the Control Panel.” Unfried uses Drive features to see who is “hoarding” docs and to reassign ownership of documents after an employee has departed. Unfried added that, “occasionally I’m not notified until after an employee has already left. With the Drive tool, I can transfer doc ownership before deleting an account, which ensures we don’t lose any important information. Using FlashPanel, I’ll export a list of all the documents a particular user owns then see if that user’s manager would like any of those documents reassigned to other users.”
NSHE really takes advantage of FlashPanel’s shared contacts functionality, which allows the organizations to add contacts from its member schools in a snap. “When the Chancellor wants to communicate with a president of one our member institutions, the number can be easily found in shared contacts.”