Youngstown State University gets more value from Microsoft with the 365 Accelerator

Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy

Youngstown State University (YSU) has been a Microsoft shop for many years, progressing from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 licenses.  IT leadership was aware that YSU was making good use of some parts of the

Microsoft licenses but there was scope to extract more value from some functionality that was not being used. There was also a suspicion that the university was paying for overlapping technologies that served the same purpose.

As with most universities, YSU needed to maintain a light touch security model and wanted to understand how their existing Microsoft licenses could empower their faculty, staff and students while avoiding onerous security restrictions.


365 Accelerator

Microsoft proposed that YSU work with Mobile Mentor to assess their current use of Microsoft 365, benchmark their maturity relative to best practices, and provide a comparison to other universities.  Mobile Mentor used a framework called the 365 Accelerator to assess two primary areas: Endpoint Security and Employee Experience.

The 365 Accelerator is a framework to help universities and businesses navigate the perpetual trade-offs between security and usability, especially in the context of remote work and using BYO devices to access university data. The framework is centered around the capabilities and features of the Microsoft 365 suite.

For YSU, Microsoft 365 was already in place so the assessment focused on how to make use of the available technology in a realistic, stepwise fashion based on their current resources.

3-phase technology roadmap for YSU

Following the assessment, Mobile Mentor drafted a 3-phase technology roadmap to extract more value from Microsoft 365 and eliminate overlapping technologies.  This resulted in a deeper understanding of the potential in the Microsoft security suite (EM+S) and the opportunity to innovate and reduce paper using the Power Platform.

The roadmap was shared with YSU’s IT leadership and iterated until everyone agreed that the roadmap contained the right items and that the sequence of actions was appropriate.

YSU now has an actionable roadmap designed for them, in coordination with their own team. This roadmap has specific, actionable steps the university can take advantage of their existing Microsoft licenses, and a guide to adopting advanced features in the future.

Jim Yukech, CIO at Youngstown State University, sits down to talk about his experience working with Mobile Mentor.







“Our expectations were low as this was a Microsoft funded engagement and we didn’t really have any skin in the game.  We really didn’t know what to expect from Mobile Mentor, but we knew that we could, and should, be getting more value from our Microsoft 365 licenses so we were keen to give it go.

Sometimes these consulting engagements or assessments go in one of two directions; either the consultant regurgitates what we tell them, and we really don’t learn anything new, or they focus very narrowly on their specific area of expertise and we don’t get the full picture.  

We were positively surprised by this engagement.  Mobile Mentor asked a lot of questions that got us thinking differently, and that helped us to see some opportunities we were not cognisant of. 

The timing was actually perfect for us as we are approaching the end of a 5-year strategic plan and working on the plan for the next 5 years.  We were really happy with this assessment and the recommendations and roadmap that resulted.  The format of the report was excellent so we will be able to take these outputs and add them to our strategic plan to share with the business.  

The experience working with Mobile Mentor was great, from the beginning it was clear this was going to be different and we could see that they were leading us to have a set of conversations that would expose some issues that we had been kicking down the road for years.  Sometimes it takes an external party to come in, see what we are doing with fresh eyes and help us to think how we could be operating differently.

This has been a great process and we know what needs to be done now.  We appreciate the depth of expertise in the Mobile Mentor team and we see this as the start of a long-term relationship”.
– James Yukech, CIO 

About Youngstown State University

YSU inspires individuals, enhances futures, and enriches lives. Located in Northeaster Ohio between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, YSU offers over 115 undergraduate programs as well as advanced degrees to nearly 13,000 students. YSU specialises in maintaining a personal scale with an average class size of 21 students and a student-faculty ratio of 14:1.


Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy

CEO, Mobile Mentor (Microsoft Gold Partner, Tech Services)

Mobile Mentor

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We enable remote teams to be secure and productive. Work is an activity, not a place. We’re a Microsoft Gold partner specialising in modern work technology that enables remote teams to be secure and productive.

Data, AI, BI & ML

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the terms of computer science. Artificial Intelligence : The word Artificial Intelligence comprises of two words “Artificial” and “Intelligence”. Artificial refers to something which is made by human or non natural thing and Intelligence means ability to understand or think. There is a misconception that Artificial Intelligence is a system, but it is not a system. AI is implemented in the system. There can be so many definition of AI, one definition can be “It is the study of how to train the computers so that computers can do things which at present human can do better.” Therefore it is an intelligence where we want to add all the capabilities to machine that human contain. Machine Learning : Machine Learning is the learning in which machine can learn by its own without being explicitly programmed. It is an application of AI that provide system the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience. Here we can generate a program by integrating input and output of that program. One of the simple definition of the Machine Learning is “Machine Learning is said to learn from experience E w.r.t some class of task T and a performance measure P if learners performance at the task in the class as measured by P improves with experiences.”

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