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VandalMail Live VandalMail Live: Bringing a Campus into the Microsoft @EDU Program Introduction Darren Kearney Help Desk Services Coordinator Information Technology Services (ITS) Don C. Miller Systems Development Analyst Information Technology Services (ITS) Introduction

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VandalMail Live

VandalMail Live: Bringing a Campus into the Microsoft @EDU Program


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Introduction

  • Darren Kearney

    • Help Desk Services Coordinator

    • Information Technology Services (ITS)

  • Don C. Miller

    • Systems Development Analyst

    • Information Technology Services (ITS)


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Introduction

  • Migrating to Live Mail

    • The University of Idaho migrated to the Live @ EDU program beginning March 2007 and completed the migration at the beginning of the summer with follow-up assistance until December

    • At the time Microsoft was not offering hosted Exchange services so we migrated to Live Mail/Hotmail


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Agenda

  • The University of Idaho (UI)

  • Why Migrate?

  • Pre-Implementation Steps

  • Going Live with Live

    • Customer Complaints

    • Migration Issues

    • What Features are Missing?

  • Conclusion



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University of Idaho

  • The University of Idaho main campus is located in Moscow, Idaho

  • Washington State University, located in Pullman, is 8 miles west.

  • We are 300 miles east of Seattle and 300 miles north of Boise, just far enough away from parents!



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University of Idaho

  • Yearly enrollment is approximately 12,000 students with 2,500 employees

  • We use the SunGard SCT Banner product as our ERP system

  • We use both eDirectory and Active Directory with approximately 30,000 accounts


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Joe Vandal

  • The mascot is the Vandal.

  • “Joe” is the reason for much of our marketing being “Vandal”-centric.

  • We often have to refrain from saying we “Vandalized” our e-mail services.


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University E-mail Policy

  • Beginning in 2003 all official e-mail communication to students was required through a University provided e-mail account

  • Accounts were created on admission and students would receive instructions by mail on how to activate their accounts


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University E-mail Policy

  • All forwarding functionality was disabled and only @uidaho.edu addresses could be set as preferred in the Banner system

  • The Banner system is kept up-to-date with student information for easy access for faculty and staff


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Legacy E-mail Services

  • Since 2002, the UI was providing Webmail, POP and IMAP service to students, faculty and staff through Sun Microsystem’s iPlanet/SunOne service platform


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Legacy E-mail Services

  • In 2006, Webmail access was the top service used by Students at about 80% of connections while POP was second with a handful of IMAP users

www



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Why Migrate?

  • Due to inadequate professional support from the company, the existing iPlanet product was not going to be maintained

  • Plans for migrating employees to Microsoft Exchange were in the works and students needed a new home

  • Due to new hosting models, from a number of companies, there could be a large cost saving


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Why Migrate?

  • What was reviewed?

    • Microsoft Exchange was reviewed initially but was cost prohibitive, at the time, for the number of students and our licensing structure

    • Appliance-based services were reviewed next with some on-site demos of products

    • And lastly, fully outsourced products were reviewed


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Why Migrate?

  • Why was Microsoft selected?

    • From the beginning it was seen as the most cost-effective solution

    • It provided a number of “cool” features for our students

    • There were future plans for integration with the Exchange product

    • We understood and were using the Microsoft Premier Support structure already



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Pre-Implementation Steps

  • Step 1 - extensive communication with Microsoft

    • We talked about features, the roadmaps for new services (related to e-mail), and gave feedback on our customer expectations specifically relating to non-web access to e-mail

    • We also talked with schools using the existing product

    • During this time we invited student representation, purchasing, counsel and others to review the product, contracts and licensing


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Pre-Implementation Steps

  • Who is responsible?

    • Messaging Team

      • Account sourcing infrastructure

      • E-mail routing configuration as needed

    • Customer Support

      • Outsourcing e-mail puts a greater share of responsibility on the customer service organization due to the limited amount of visibility into the system

      • Works directly with Microsoft Premier Support


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Pre-Implementation Steps

  • Should we use a new e-mail domain?

    • A proof-of-concept service was created to allow message routing within the @uidaho.edu domain

    • One manager asked “Why outsourcee-mail if there is still a local service to manage, maintain and monitor 24/7?”

    • A new @vandals.uidaho.edu domain was created based on feedback from a number of student groups


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Pre-Implementation Steps

  • Step 2 – “selling” the service

    • Many of our departments rely on timelye-mail communication with students. We talked directly with New Student Services, Admissions, the Registrar and Financial Aid on the migration plans



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Going Live with Live

  • Bridging pre-implementation with installation/migration


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Going Live with Live

  • What is the minimum Microsoft requires/recommends?

    • Microsoft Identity Integration Server (a.k.a. Identity Lifecycle Manager)

    • A data-source


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Migration Process

  • How were we going to do this?

    • Due to limited staff we knew the migration process needed to beas automated as possible

    • Students were already familiar with our web account management portal services so this was extended to provide a web migration tool


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Migration Process

  • Automated Process

    • It was not completely automated!

    • The process handled account provisioning, inbox migration, e-mail routing changes and autoreply management

    • Due to limitations with accessing Live Mail the process could not simply transfer alle-mail

    • Access to the old web mail service was maintained until December 2007


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Migration Process

  • The Customer Experience

    • Lots of documentation was available but who reads it anyway?!

    • Simplified, almost onebutton, web tool

    • If the student wanted to migrate content it was recommended to stop by the Help Desk and Live Mail Desktop was used

Easy


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March 1st, 2007

  • We made the announcement!

    • As an incentive we were offering an Xbox 360, two Zunes and copies of Microsoft Office to the first voluntary students to migrate


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March 1st, 2007

  • And then it started!

    • Who decided on this new service?

    • Will my professor have my new e-mail?

    • Were Mac users considered?

    • How do I connect with Outlook?

    • How do I switch back?

    • Where is my POP?


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March 1st, 2007

  • A student in the Computer Science department started an efficient, well organized campaign against the decision and called it the “POP Squad”

IWantMyPop.com


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March 1st, 2007

  • So…

    • You are in violation of FERPA

    • You are in violation of your own e-mail policy

    • You are wasting money on a disliked company

    • You are entering into an inappropriate agreement with a specific vendor

    • You did not adequately consult with the entire student population


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March 1st, 2007

  • How did we respond?

    • We immediately worked with the students involved to get to the root of the issue

      • The primary problem was from technically-oriented students who did not want to use the Web or Microsoft tools to access their e-mail

      • A secondary problem was with individuals who do not like anything associated with “Microsoft”


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March 1st, 2007

  • We met with the ASUI, local news organizations and interested students

  • The attendance was expected to be large but turned out to be about 20 in total


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Microsoft Responds

  • Microsoft Comes Through

    • We immediately contacted Microsoft to discuss the technical limitation of non-web access to e-mail

    • Although POP service was originally slated to be available in April it had been pushed back to September. Based on our feedback, and feedback from other schools, Microsoft aggressively increased the timeline to May



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Migration Issues

  • Other than POP!

  • The Live Mail login page cannot be customized and there was confusion about this being a legitimate University service

  • Students with existing hotmail accounts would be automatically signed into their personal account instead of @vandals


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Migration Issues

  • The Live Mail Desktop application was undergoing rapid changes and caused many problems

  • We recommended customers visit us so we could help each individual personally


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Migration Issues

  • It is hard to type the entire @vandals.uidaho.edu e-mail address

  • Unknown service limitations were discovered including 180 day inactivity, 50 recipient and 250 message limits, and more

@vandals.uidaho.edu


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What Features are Missing?

  • Lack of Administrative Tools

    • No Reporting!! We do not know how successful the service is.


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What Features are Missing?

  • The support infrastructure has not been as responsive as expected

  • The account rename process should be avoided

  • Lack of full integration with Exchange services

  • Problems with spam control and partnering with third party services



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Conclusion

  • Students, you can’t live with them…

    • Students will not proactively listen. Be sure to document the opportunities provided

    • Student can adapt far more quickly to technology changes than we expect


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Conclusion

  • Do not rely on “cool” features to sell a product

    • Technology professionals sometimes over think the services customers really want


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Conclusion

  • Work to understand the internal support structure of an organization


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Conclusion

  • What about Exchange Labs?

    • We have a test domain for this and are waiting to hear what migration services Microsoft with be providing

    • Many of the missing features for Live Mail are built-in for Exchange Labs


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Conclusion

  • Once the initial concerns of the students were addressed, the majority have found the system familiar and easy to use. Ongoing costs to the university have been drastically reduced allowing us to repurpose the funding toward other student technology projects. Our major challenges now concern waiting for promised features and administrative tools.



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