Google announced Wednesday that the University of Michigan is moving all 90,000 students, faculty and staff to Google Apps for Education, Google’s free suite of messaging and collaboration tools, saving the university more than $750,000 a year.

UM will now join the other 15 million students, faculty and staff already using Apps for Education.

According to a Google blog post, UM CIO Laura Patterson told Google that the switch is just one of many projects that will make up U-M’s multi-year strategy for changing the approach to IT service and investing more heavily in technologies that will advance the university’s academic, teaching, research and clinical programs.

She said: “Adopting Google Apps for Education will help support UM’s leadership in teaching, learning and discovery, as well as improve collaboration across campus.”

As their first order of business, UM kicked off a project to select a unified messaging and collaboration platform to help consolidate the more than 40 email and calendar tools which currently service about 90,000 students, faculty and staff. After a review process that included townhall meetings and a campus survey, the university’s IT steering committee overwhelmingly recommended Google Apps for Education as U-M’s preferred provider.

In addition to the suite of products in Google Apps for Education, UM also plans to use APIs to build rich integration with existing campus services and encourage increased collaboration.

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