E-mail migration questions and answers
What is Office 365?
Microsoft Office 365 is a set of products, including the Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications and hosted versions of Microsoft’s Server products (including Exchange Server, SharePoint Server and Lync Server), delivered and accessed over the Internet. For now, only the Exchange Server product and the Microsoft Lync program, which is used for instant messaging, will be implemented at all University of Nebraska campuses.

What is a “cloud-based environment?”
This is a shorthand general description for computer applications and services that reside on network servers accessed through the internet, instead of local servers on the campuses. The cloud-based environment avoids the need to synchronize files across multiple devices and simplifies access to current messages and files from both desktop and handheld/mobile devices.

When will the e-mail migration happen?
The specific migration schedule for each campus is yet to be developed, but it is expected to begin in fall 2011 be concluded by summer 2012.

Why isn’t UNMC moving to the cloud?
The task force recommended that UNMC be allowed to maintain a premise-based system due to unique security issues including potential liabilities derived from HIPAA compliance.

Will my e-mail address change?
E-mail addresses such as @unk.edu, @unmc.edu, @unl.edu, @unomaha.edu and @nebraska.edu will not change. For employees who are currently using any other variation of the campus e-mail address, a small number of these addresses might require modification.

How will I access my e-mail and calendar?
Office 365 is accessible through the Outlook Web Access interface through your web browser or using Microsoft Outlook clients. POP access is available to access your account through other third-party clients.

Will I be able to access my email via the web, tablet and/or smartphone?
Yes, Office 365 offers Exchange ActiveSync to provide access from a number of devices.

Is my information safe “in the cloud”?
Microsoft follows the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) when developing software. The process entails a series of security-focused activities and deliverables during each phase of Microsoft’s software development process. Before software can be released, it must undergo a final security review by an independent development team. Software that has undergone the SDL experiences a significantly reduced rate of security vulnerabilities being discovered.

How can I move my Lotus Notes information to the new system?
Our migration planning team has flexible options to meet your needs. The move to a new system will benefit from planning ahead, and a little effort at the beginning can pay off considerably over the long run. Migrating everything you currently have on your Lotus Notes account is rarely the best option, especially if you have not regularly sorted your e-mail inbox or updated your calendar. Some may find starting in a fresh environment and moving only what is currently needed is a great way to transition. Others will want the assurance of more continuity between the old and new system. Either way or somewhere in between, the migration planning team will be able to accommodate and help with a smooth transition. The transition will allow some overlap, so you will have time where you can access your old inbox.

What kind of training will we have?
A team is working on developing the necessary training plans and help tools. We are working with Microsoft to develop the best training approach.

Will the migration save the University money?
We expect that the cloud-based system for UNCA, UNK, UNL and UNO will significantly reduce recurring costs due to a reduction in hardware, software, licensing and staffing needs. It is estimated that the annual operating costs associated with delivering an e-mail service can be reduced by more than 50 percent from the current cost, which is just under $1 million. There will also be one-time upfront costs associated with migrating current Lotus Notes accounts to a new system, rewriting some applications and providing training, but significant savings will be realized over the long term.

Who was on the task force?
Task force members include:
John Ballard – Professor Emeritus of industrial and management systems engineering, UNL (Chair)
Loren Blinde – Director of the Administrative Systems Group, UNCA
Shelton Hendricks – Professor of psychology, UNO
Roger Kirby – Professor of physics and astronomy, UNL
William Lynch – Director of university records management, UNCA
Dennis Potthoff – Professor of teacher education, UNK
Lynn Stephenson – Manager of operations analysis, UNO
Deb Thomas – Associate vice chancellor for business and finance, UNMC
John Windle, M.D. – Professor and chief of internal medicine cardiology, UNMC

Technical adviser: Walter Weir, chief information officer, UNCA

Was anyone on the campuses asked to provide input?
Task force members conducted campus focus group discussions and circulated surveys on their campuses in order to gain input from campus level constituencies. Campus CIOs as well as campus-level information systems personnel provided information to the committee.

Why doesn't Lotus Notes serve our needs anymore?
Lotus Notes has been in use across the University for 14 years, and the technology has changed significantly over that period of time. The task force and campus chief information officers found that a cloud-based system provided greater cost savings and ease of functionality and administration. Lotus Notes/Cloud was among the three systems evaluated by the task force, but the Microsoft system emerged as the preferred system.

How many companies bid on the RFP?
The task force considered proposals for systems using Google, Lotus Notes and Microsoft.

Why was Microsoft chosen?
In its analysis, the campus CIO review team found that both Google and Microsoft offered a superior web-based interface and enhanced capabilities, and that their business models put more emphasis on the needs of higher education than Lotus Notes. Ultimately, Microsoft was able to provide a more competitive pricing structure than Google.

What’s an example of an enhancement that Office 365 will provide?
Office 365 supports 25GB (twenty-five gigabytes) of mail space per user. This is significantly greater capacity than is available now.

What is included in the agreement with Microsoft?
Microsoft is providing $250,000 in Business Incentive Funds to help us migrate from Lotus Notes to Office 365. That funding will pay for some consulting and licenses to convert a large percentage of our users from Lotus Notes to Office 365. We will also use that funding to pay for a Microsoft Premier Support agreement covering email and Microsoft Office applications for the entire University.

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