Innovating NTU seizes cloud moment with Microsoft

Innovating NTU seizes cloud moment with Microsoft

University rolls out Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone.

Alvin Ong (NTU)

Alvin Ong (NTU)

Credit: NTU

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is moving ahead with a cloud-first strategy designed to maximise hybrid working and collaboration through a deepened partnership with Microsoft in Singapore.

Shaped by smart campus ambitions, the university has rolled out Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone to “accelerate innovation and thrive” post-pandemic as digital ambitions become a market reality.

As of January 2022, NTU has converted over 2600 fixed phone numbers to the Microsoft Teams Phone system, leveraging cloud-based technologies across all internet-enabled devices. In addition to cost savings, key motivations include the need to ensure employees remain productive while also housing the ability to transfer calls across multiple devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

“We previously deployed Microsoft 365 to enable productivity on an intelligent and secure cloud,” said Alvin Ong, CIO at NTU. “As it turned out, Microsoft 365 became indispensable during the COVID-19 circuit breaker season and now serves as the foundation for hybrid learning and teaching experiences that benefit both our faculty and our students.”

As outlined by Ong -- recently recognised by IDG as a CIO75 honouree in 2021 -- the system was first adopted in 2019 when NTU rolled out Microsoft 365 -- which includes Microsoft Teams Phone -- to enable hybrid learning and remote work.

At the height of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the transition to Microsoft 365 enabled NTU to successfully shift within one week from more than 1000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students.

“Innovation has always been core to the university’s DNA,” added Tan Aik Na, senior vice president of Administration at NTU. “This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences.”

Technology plays a key role in powering the 200-hectare campus, which includes a living lab of digital experiments -- from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore’s airspace. This forms part of the global university’s 2025 vision in equipping its smart campus with cloud-first technology and agile infrastructure.

“Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore,” said Lum Seow Khun, director of Public Sector Group in Singapore at Microsoft. “Universities like NTU are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce.”

Beyond Microsoft Teams Phone and Microsoft 365, the university also plans to roll out its new cloud-based student management system built on Microsoft Azure, amongst other ongoing initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI.

“With a partner like Microsoft, we are confident of achieving our ambitious agenda in our NTU Singapore 2025 vision,” Ong outlined.

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