UniMinuto (Universidad Minuto de Diós) stands in English for University the Minute of God, was founded in 1970 by a Catholic Priest, looking to help the poor population in Colombia to receive higher education. Today in Colombia, illiteracy rates are still high, and only 20% of adults earn a college degree. Being a non-profit institution, UNIMINUTO has been concerned about the social transformation of the country since the inception as it has a social responsibility to deliver quality education and raise the standards in the country of 50 million citizens.
Currently UniMinuto is helping 100,000 of underprivileged students in over 220 operating sites and 35 cities in the country. Additionally UniMinuto decided to take the education and social component strategies branch in Africa in Costa de Marfil (Ivory Coast) to Eudist Technological University Institution of Africa.
For the past 4 years the university has been digitally transforming and adopting Microsoft technology. They have developed alliances with global leaders such as Microsoft and Softline and this enabled Unuminuto to bring true digital transformation from envisioning to reinventing their business processes.
Challenges with COVID-19 Pandemic
Just like many universities, UniMinutio was not ready to face a situation such as COVID-19 pandemic. Most affected population during pandemic was the most remote/poor population in the country, which is also the focus of the UniMinuto. Pandemic got the university to come to a halt with inability to handle capacity for remote operation.
UniMinuto faced many challenges such as 1) old Video and voice infrastructure based on legacy (old PBX) and analog/digital infrastructure completely on-premises and geographically tied; 2) No automation of tools and processes to handle student registrations online (previously only physical sites and physical documents for registration). At the point everything was still being done with paper and in person 3) There were no processes established for streamlined communication, especially audio/video capabilities, meeting rooms 4) No tools and processes to run a virtual classes were established to conduct the classes in the productive manner.
When university came to Microsoft looking for solution that is robust, but simple and affordable, Microsoft recommended working with Softline, as a trusted partner to deploy TotalVoice solution.
Softline’s goal was to bring UniMinuto a strategy implementing TotalVoice in which we would integrate all workflows of the university with an easy-to-use dynamic 100% cloud solution. A crucial part of the solution was to deploy a flexible phone service solution with capacity for scale and guarantee fast migration time allowing integration with the current solution without significant costs.
Inclusive Teams Space powered with Cloud
To solve its business challenges UniMinuto in collaboration with Microsoft and Softline implemented Teams for Academic, in addition Softline TotalVoice on Microsoft Teams Phone System through direct routing configuration including Genesys an omnichannel contact center integrated with Microsoft Teams as well as Lenovo Hub devices and endpoints for the classrooms and meeting rooms. 100% of their classrooms have been integrated into Teams Meetings. Teams Academic features enabled more than 100,000 students nationwide to get back to learning in 15 days.
Throughout all phases of deployment we have been following change management practice using Prosci ADKAR methodology.
Accessible In Remote Sites
TotalVoice’s integrated Genesys Cloud Onmichannel Contact Center served as a lobby immediately at the beginning of the pandemic and helped UniMinuto to stay connected with students. Students were informed by using their mobile phone to get them connected. Contact center was used to provide simple steps in URLs for students, whether it would be staying informed, class registration or accessing Microsoft Teams virtual classrooms. Once students were using Microsoft Teams, they were 100% connected. As a part of automation of the processes, Softline created Digital Microsoft Forms integrated in Teams to provide students’ ability to register for classes online, which sped up student registration from 5 days to 4 minutes.
Softline enabled Direct Routing as a way to provide a PSTN (public switched telephone network) connection to Microsoft Teams users so that they can make and receive external phone calls on any device using Teams. This provides call control and PBX capability in the cloud with Microsoft Teams.
Social Outreach in Africa
UniMinuto is working in alliance with the government and the World Bank to improve social conditions enabling students in Eudist Technological University Institution of Ivory Coast, Africa to receive quality and accessible education by replicating the model of technical and academic structure of the UniMinuto university supported by Softline and Microsoft. In June 2020, the students of the Eudist institute did not have access to education due to the technical instability and lack of tool. The university had lagged 3 months behind the educational curriculum. Softline solution was part of the process of bringing the students and professors of the Institution closer together and managed to get them back to their studies in just 2 weeks.
Rooms and Devices
UniMinuto did not have e-learning capabilities for their classrooms. When COVID lockdown was enforced, they didn´t have any provisioning for technology or roadmap for adoption of virtual classrooms. Besides the adoption of Teams for education, which was built out to serve as a virtual eLearning tool, customer needed tools provisioning hybrid model (students can be remote or in the class) for hosting any a class/meeting any time. To solve the issue, Softline had provided a Lenovo Smart Hub device integrated with Teams. It is an automated tablet with a suitable camera and external microphone which is easy to use by teachers and/or students.
This equipment works in 100% of classrooms/auditorium of the university ensuring low-cost endpoints with automation and native Teams integration. With this UniMinuto now has virtual or hybrid classes with easy administration - one employees on site can set up and run the class while everyone else can be remote.
TotalVoice allowed the university to be inclusive and focus on social progress to ensure equity, access and capacity at the same time empowering the faculty, administration and students to learn Microsoft technology. University is now able to educate strong professionals with critical thinking, creativity, independence, cognitive flexibility and perseverance in students.
Softline with Microsoft Teams and Total Voice helped them to virtualize education nation-wide and to connect all the administrative areas streamlining communications.
With direct routing certified devices were used to connect their trunks and current PBX to allow their collaborators to use the telephone service and provide operational continuity from home.
Softline offers this solution as a Fully-Managed Service and provides UnoMinuto with 24/7 support to ensure all their software, hardware, and overall service operate without disruption and under a predictable cost structure.
Softline’s TotalVoice Solution integrated with Teams not only helped transform the organization but also enabled faculty and students remain connected in their communities.
- With the help of Softline, UniMinuto successfully adopted Microsoft 365 and cloud telephony solution. Now, it uses Microsoft Teams to create a more secure and high-performing remote learning environment.
- University was able to sustain helping underprovided kids without allowing them to stop/quit learning and give them high quality learning tools with Microsoft Teams.
- Single solution with Microsoft Teams as central platform to manage all the administrative and educational processes.
- Students were able to continue learning, and socially interacting with teachers and other students, and learn Microsoft tools in the process.
- Softline enabled registration for classes with omnichannel communication (Whatsapp, email, social channels). Digital Microsoft Forms integrated with Teams sped up student registration, from 5 days to 4 minutes.
- TotalVoice (Teams + Phone System) has allowed the university to improve their work with greater efficiency, customer service and business continuity.
“We transformed the way we interact with our students. Our classes did not stop for a single day and the lockdown didn’t interrupt our being together. Today we have robust platforms enabling us to work 100% remotely. Students, administrative staff and teachers can use the platform from anywhere. For UniMinuto the classroom is now Microsoft Teams. There we have all the meetings, we track all projects, with Power BI dashboards, and our information is centralized in Sharepoint. We really enjoy all these collaboration and productivity tools” - Said Saul Reyes, UniMinuto Director of Technology and Information Systems.