Why Office 365?
The decision to migrate to Office 365 involved many people and a thorough evaluation of our present and future organizational communication and collaboration needs. The information on this page provides history on this process as well as the anticipated benefits this project will bring.
In the spring of 2011, a cross-campus committee was established to develop a list of requirements for both student and administrative e-mail systems, review potential vendor solutions and make recommendations for replacing both the student and administrative e-mail systems. The members of this committee included Alan Stolzenberg (Associate Professor, Chemistry), Cathy Orndorff (Director, University Relations), Jo Morrow (Program Assistant II, B&E), April Min (Associate VP for Legal Affairs & Exec Deputy Gen Counsel), Laura Roth (Assistant VP Information Technology , HSC), Mark Six (Director, Office of Information Technology), Amy Baker (Director, Office of Information Technology), Cara Pietrowski (Director, Office of Information Technology), and Kathy Myers (Assistant Director, Office of Information Technology).
Student mail – After reviewing vendor solutions compared to requirements, a student survey was conducted, and Gmail was selected for implementation. Gmail became the student e-mail system in September 2012.
Administrative mail – A comparison of vendor solutions to the requirements led to the recommendation that we move away from GroupWise and implement an Exchange-based system. The committee also recommended that OIT investigate options to have the system hosted off campus. We held two open forums in Spring 2012 (April 24, 2012 10:00 – 12:00, NRCCE and April 25, 2012, 3:00-5:00, Mountainlair) to gather campus input.
IT Projects and Resources Committee – In Feb 2012, the project concept was written and submitted to the IT Projects and Resources Committee for the replacement of the administrative e-mail system with an Exchange solution.
IT Oversight Committee – In December 2012, after extensive research and evaluation, the Oversight Committee approved replacement of the GroupWise system by Office 365, a Microsoft-hosted solution.
What Is Office 365?
Microsoft Office 365 is a hosted service that will provide tools such as e-mail, instant messaging, group video and voice chat, and online document viewing and editing. You can read more about the Office 365 service on Microsoft’s Office 365 for Education page. These services and features will be implemented in phases for WVU. The full project plan and schedule will be available on the project implementation page. We will also be posting details about the WVU implementation, user requirements, mail migration, training and documentation, and many other items on this web site.
Benefits of Office 365
Immediate with Implementation
Capacity – Office 365 will provide an increased account size quota over GroupWise.
Functionality – Office 365 has all of the required functionality that was identified by the cross-campus committee. Office 365 Web App is a fully-featured environment that offers increased support and functionality for Macintosh users. This system also offers simplified configuration for mobile devices to use WVU e-mail, calendar, and contacts.
Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing – Expanded instant messaging and conferencing capabilities with Lync. Chat 1-1 or in a group, share applications for collaboration, virtual white boards and more.
Archive – Complications of GroupWise archives eliminated. If needed at all (considering the large quota), archives in Office 365 will be stored in one place accessible from anywhere on the Internet.
Legal – Improved ability to meet legal requirements, including legal holds on e-mail accounts and quick compliance with discovery requests.
Long Term Benefits
Financial – In the long term, WVU will save money by eliminating the licensing costs of GroupWise and the purchase and maintenance of hardware.
Cloud Storage – Office 365 will provide us with features to add services in the future such as cloud storage, additional individual file sharing and collaboration opportunities, and availability of Office web apps for individual use.
- Improved calendar integration – By moving to an Exchange-based e-mail system, we will be able to increase our integration with the Health Science Center for scheduling and address books. Upon integration, which will be planned after the migration to Office 365, we will be able to do busy searches across calendars in both systems as well as see an integrated address book.
- We will have increased integration abilities with other WVU systems like SharePoint. Integration with other systems will be evaluated and planned after the implementation of Office 365.