July 6, 2011
Like many educational institutions, the University of Nebraska (NU) had been looking to make a cloud move away from its old and busted IBM Lotus Notes messaging deployment. Naturally, Google and Microsoft cloud solutions were audited, and NU found both offered superior web-based interfaces. But Microsoft Office 365 offered the superior pricing scheme, apparently — although the $250,000 Microsoft paid out for the choice was probably a nice sweetener.
Apparently, the $250,000 came from a little-known Microsoft initiative called the “Business Incentives Fund.” According to InformationWeek, which first noted the deal’s mention on NU’s Office 365 migration FAQ, the Business Incentives Fund is a slush fund meant to help Microsoft partners and customers add extra incentive when it’s the difference between making or breaking a deal.
So what’s the money going to be used for? Here’s what that NU FAQ says:
Microsoft is providing $250,000 in Business Incentive Funds to help us migrate from Lotus Notes to Office 365. That funding will pay for some consulting and licenses to convert a large percentage of our users from Lotus Notes to Office 365. We will also use that funding to pay for a Microsoft Premier Support agreement covering email and Microsoft Office applications for the entire University.
When the migration finishes over the next 12 to 18 months, every NU campus will be getting Microsoft Exchange Online mailboxes and Lync Online instant messaging — except the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which is keeping its legacy e-mail thanks to HIPAA compliance concerns.
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