Campus plans migration to new email and calendar system

Nov. 27, 2012

by Greg Bump

A campuswide team working to employ a single email and calendar software supplier for the campus has completed critical steps toward implementing Microsoft Office 365.

Image: Administrative Excellence logo

 

The Administrative Excellence initiative’s Email and Calendaring Team earlier this year recommended Office 365. The selection was made after determining it best matched UW–Madison’s functional, technical and date security needs, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requirements.

The software has been purchased and work has begun to install it.

Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. says adopting one email and calendaring system campuswide will improve communication and the effectiveness of meeting planning. He calls the decision to move to one system "the right decision for our campus community."

"Streamlining and coordination of campus calendars will create efficiency and save staff time currently used to sync the many incompatible systems now in use," DeLuca says. "At the same time, it makes sense to have everyone in the campus community operating from the same email program, generating economies of scale for the university and reducing the difficulties that arise from having disparate operating systems."

The Email and Calendaring Team estimates the university could save approximately $11 million over five years by using Office 365 as the sole email and calendar system. Currently, it’s estimated that between 20 and 50 different email and calendar systems are in use across campus.

Office 365 is a multi-featured, web-based software package. The initial campus migration will include just email and calendar.

The team considered a combined solution that would include some Google products, but it was deemed that the costs and effort to obtain and maintain the dual software would outweigh the benefits.

It should be noted, however, that campus users will still have the option to use the Google Apps suite licensed for the UW-Madison.

The first departments are expected to be converted to Office 365 next summer, and the whole campus will transition to the new email and calendar system no later than August 2014. The team is finalizing a conversion schedule.

A website is available to assist faculty, staff and students in the transition to Office 365. The site can be viewed at http://365transition.wisc.edu