“Our community of online students and faculty was rapidly expanding and we needed a way to better control the increasing call volumes when they had technical issues. Phone-based support was both time consuming and costly. By incorporating NTR Chat, we were able to better support students and faculty and reduce support costs by more than 40%.”

Michael Joy
Manager of Operational Architecture

Grand Canyon University

GCU wanted to centralize support with a streamlined, cost-effective solution that would allow them to provide secure technical support without increasing global support costs.

The university also needed a multiplatform solution, since students and faculty members were free to use the device of their choice with no specific configuration requirements.

The Organization

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a private liberal arts university located in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1949, the school offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degree programs in education, liberal arts, business, and healthcare through its six colleges, including the Ken Blanchard College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition to its campus-based undergraduates, GCU also supports working professionals through its online classrooms. More than 10,000 GCU students are enrolled in distance education programs, which have received high marks in recent rankings by publications such as Fortune Small Business and Technology & Learning.

The Challenge

By 2010, the GCU community had grown to 40,000 students and 2,500 employees, including geographically dispersed faculty members active in distance education programs.

The university's IT support team of 26 technicians used phone-based support to resolve all technical issues related to GCU's online learning platforms. The university wanted to centralize support with a streamlined, cost-effective solution that would allow them to provide secure technical support without increasing global support costs. The university also needed a multiplatform solution, since students and faculty members were free to use the device of their choice with no specific configuration requirements. "Supporting thousands of students, most of whom are multiplatform users, requires prioritization and planning," Michael Joy explained.

In terms of functionality, GCU sought a chat-based solution without remote control functionality, since the university was restricted from taking remote control of end user computers. Another security requirement was a self-hosted solution to keep data on site.

The Solution

In 2010, after looking at various alternatives available on the market, Joy decided on NTRglobal's chat technology to enhance GCU's support toolkit. NTR Chat met all of GCU's needs in terms of features and security. Data security was a key issue, so the 256-bit AES encryption and ability to host the data on premise were also key factors in their decision.

"NTRglobal's live chat is an extremely powerful, cost-effective solution that allows us to extend secure remote support procedures from the core network all the way out to the platforms used in our distributed computing environments, both on campus and off," Joy said.

GCU students and faculty members have embraced the chat functionality. NTR Chat has helped us reach greater volumes of end users and minimize downtime to get them up and running. GCU users have responded well to the technology, which has had nearly a 30% adoption rate of all delivery channels," Joy said.