Staff email service to undergo a major upgrade
The University’s staff email system, GroupWise, is to be replaced by Microsoft’s new “Office365 for Education” service. The project was initiated in July and is expected to migrate users to the new system in the first half of 2013.
GroupWise is a product from Novell Inc. which has a declining market base and limited functionality for integration with other collaboration and productivity tools in use at UoN. The support of our currently installed version expires this year, so alternatives have been evaluated.
Microsoft Office 365 for Education is a free service from Microsoft that is a premium paid service to the corporate sector. It offers email, calendar and contact functionality to which our GroupWise email, calendar and address book information will be migrated. The Microsoft product also offers a range of additional functionality that will be considered for adoption in the future.
The key benefits of moving from the Novell to the Microsoft product are:
- co-existence with UoN Students in the Microsoft cloud environment,
- improved communications, functionality and reliability,
- reduced risks surrounding UoN IT infrastructure,
- reduced operational costs,
- reduced carbon footprint.
In addition to the new email, calendar and contact functions, existing GroupWise Archive data will be migrated to the existing storage infrastructure known as TANK. This process commenced in early 2011 but has not been completed for all users.
Also, GroupWise users who maintain document libraries in the product will be migrated to an alternative solution to be designed in the project.
At the desktop, the GroupWise email client will be replaced by Microsoft Outlook (Windows and Macintosh) clients, and LINUX clients will be evaluated in the project. New mobile devices will be supported, including the iOS based Apple iPad and iPhone as well as Android and Windows based tablets and smart phones.
Office 365 for Education opens the door to a range of new functionality in the future. Collaboration tools such as Instant Messaging, desktop video conferencing, “presence” awareness and the powerful SharePoint environment are available. Decisions on these new services will be made outside the scope of this project.