22 August 2006

Enterprise Collaboration Software

After four years of discussions, some progress on an Enterprise Collaboration Environment.

At its meeting on Thursday 17 August 2006 the University Information Management Systems Committee (UIMSC) endorsed the recommendations of an Acumen Alliance consultancy report that concluded that Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server are the best functional fit for the University to support email, calendaring, contact lists, task lists and file sharing as an enterprise-wide system for staff.

UIMSC has established a working group consisting of the IT Managers of the Academic Divisions and some ICT personnel to prepare an implementation plan.

The Division of Communication and Education has been using Exchange for email for a number of years now, so the transition from a Divisional-supported email system to a University-provided system should not be too problematic and require little adjustment if any for most staff in the Division. Existing Outlook and Entourage users should experience no differences after some settings are adjusted.

The movement of the calendar from the Oracle system to Exchange will require more work especially with staff training and support for those staff who don’t currently use a Calendar, or don’t use Microsoft Outlook or Entourage as their email client. In the longer term to move to Exchange Calendar across the campus should provide a much more integrated system for managing scheduling and communication than the current environment allows.

Implementation and use of the Sharepoint document sharing system is an unknown quantity at the moment since it is a completely new system for the Division. Certainly an ongoing commitment to training and support within the Division will be required if document sharing is to be used actively and appropriately in the Division.

The email and address list stage of the project at least should be in place by the end of this year.