This summer, the university will migrate all email to Office 365 from Exchange and Google. Office 365 is a collaborative, cloud-based storage, communication and applications solution provided by Microsoft. All students and some faculty/staff (often through their own kids or students), have seen the benefits and ease-of-use with Google applications – Google docs, chat, calendar, etc. As several faculty and staff are accustomed to the functionality of Outlook, many would love to also have the benefits of web and cloud-based systems like Google. Office 365 gives us the benefit of both worlds, and as a result, allows us all to work from the same system.
The move to the new email service will affect all faculty, staff and students and will kick off in May.
The university decided to switch to Office 365 because it offers improved services and features to the NEOMED community. For those who need easy access to shared files, who find “track changes” confusing, and who want to send a quick message without using email or their cell phones, Office 365 will help campus work more efficiently. The cloud management will help our Information Technology (IT) team reduce overhead and allow for expedited control. Office 365 is committed to maintaining compliance with current legislation and regulations to protect the privacy and security of sensitive data as it relates to higher education.
Some of the improved services and features include:
Staying connected on the go
Office 365 gives you access to your email, calendar, and contacts from virtually anywhere – with a familiar experience on the devices you use the most.
Increased storage for faculty and staff
Office 365 increases individual mailbox storage from 2 to 50 GB per email account.
Storing and sharing your files from anywhere
Faculty and staff home drives will be migrated to OneDrive so files can be easily stored, organized and accessed from anywhere without the need for VPN. Office 365 with OneDrive provides the ability to create, edit and share files without software, just Internet access.
Work with other people in real time
Collaboration can’t always happen in person but with the ability to work in real time on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files through OneDrive, faculty, staff and students can finalize documents and presentations more efficiently and quickly.
Free Microsoft Office applications for students
Students can download the full Microsoft Office suite of applications – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and more – on multiple different personal devices.
Communicating without barriers and borders
With Skype for Business in Office 365 you can instant message and conduct video chats with fellow students and colleagues. You can also share your desktop or slides, carry out polls, view results and collaborate all in real-time. Sessions can be recorded directly onto your computer as MP4 files.
Faculty, staff and students will be on a single platform
With faculty staff and students no longer on different platforms, it will now be easier for all to collaborate, share calendars, access room availability and schedule.
IT has been successfully conducting pilot-testing with small groups throughout the University and is working to complete the launch and roll-out plan. Migration of accounts will be schedule by department and you will receive an email with your scheduled migration date and other helpful information. Users will continue to use the same desktop applications installed on their computers, but will have access to a newer version of the Outlook Web App (webmail) and the other new tools via the Office 365 Portal.
In addition to a migration schedule, IT is developing a robust Office 365 Resource knowledge base, FAQs, in-person training opportunities, and proactive communications plan.