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Dare to Change: Gmail and Why it Matters to You Jonathan Schaeffer Vice Provost and Associate Vice President (IT) [email protected] IT at WestVAC? Why should you care about IT? …under the covers …should just happen …out of sight, out of mind …someone else’s problem Wrong!

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Dare to Change:Gmail and Why it Matters to You

Jonathan Schaeffer

Vice Provost and Associate Vice President (IT)

[email protected]


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IT at WestVAC?

  • Why should you care about IT?

    • …under the covers

    • …should just happen

    • …out of sight, out of mind

    • …someone else’s problem

  • Wrong!

  • IT, more than ever, requires your attention!


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IT World is Changing

  • Fast network connections

  • Social networking

  • Cloud computing

  • Ubiquitous wireless access

  • Software as a service

  • Fundamental paradigm shifts that will dramatically impact how a modern university deploys IT


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Where Are We Today?

  • My generation

    • Desktop computers

    • Wired connections

    • Telephones

    • Local computing infrastructure

  • New generation

    • Laptops

    • Wireless connections

    • Cell phones

    • Non-local computing infrastructure


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Where Do We Want To Be?

  • IT world is changing rapidly but universities are usually slow to change

  • We run the risk of offering an antiquated IT environment to our faculty, staff and students

  • Universities are all about change; we should embrace it, not fear it

  • Can we change the way we think about IT, so that we can free up resources to change IT?


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Today’s Student…

  • …is very different from the student of even five years ago

  • …is comfortable with and quick to adopt new IT technology

  • There is a significant (and growing) generation gap



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Philosophy

  • Core mandate of a university is research and teaching

  • IT is an enabler

  • Some IT components have become utility computing

  • Where appropriate, you should consider getting out of the utility computing business


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Typical Situation

  • Decentralized fragmented community

    • One large central IT department

    • Numerous mini IT groups on campus

  • Duplication of many services

  • Uneven quality of service

  • Non-uniform (even non-existent) policies


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Dare to Change?

  • Are we prepared to challenge the status quo?

  • Can we think about doing things differently?

  • Can we move towards deploying modern IT technology across the entire campus?

  • If not, we run the risk of providing core IT that is seen as irrelevant


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Case Study: ASU (1)

  • Outsourced student email

  • Outsourced learning management systems

  • Outsourced all computer networks

  • Outsourced help desk

  • Outsourced desktop support

  • Outsourced PeopleSoft infrastructure

  • Consolidating server rooms and then outsource

“If a service is core, then it should be out-sourced.”

Adrian Sannier (CIO, ASU)


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Case Study: ASU (2)

  • $15M in IT savings/year reinvested back into IT

    • Mobile computing

    • Application development

    • Using IT to improve student engagement

    • IT support for teaching

    • IT support for research

  • Brave new model that ASU claims reaps dividends


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University of Alberta

  • Our mantra: don’t waste a good crisis

  • Over 30 independent IT groups on campus

  • Institutional cost of IT as a percent of the operating budget is disproportionately large

  • In general, student dissatisfaction with our IT offerings

  • We can’t make incremental changes; we need to leapfrog forward


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Email at the UofA

  • At least 47 independent email systems on campus

  • Each has their own hardware, software, and people resources

  • No central calendaring

  • At least 37 Blackberry servers on campus

  • Does this make sense?


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Centralize Email Because:

  • Simplifies IT infrastructure

  • Enables university-wide calendaring

  • Addresses user concerns

  • Addresses auditor’s concerns

  • Improves security

  • Frees up valuable IT personnel time

  • Simplifies emergency response

  • Supports green computing

  • Enables cost savings by removing duplication


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People

  • Centralization of email is NOT an excuse to eliminate jobs

  • IT personnel are generally overworked

  • Let’s get out of the mundane task of email

  • Free up precious people resources to further our research, teaching, and administration agenda


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Solutions?

  • In-house?

    • Too expensive

  • Local provider?

    • Too expensive

  • Get out of the email business entirely

Google!


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The Google Solution

  • Gmail: Email provided by Google

    • Large default email box (7.4 GB)

    • Email integrated with calendaring

    • Google apps (including docs and tools)

    • Backups and disaster recovery

    • Cost is $0 for Google’s service, but there is a cost for increased network access

  • We will leapfrog forward in the quality of our service and the richness of our offerings


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Education Edition

  • Education Gmail is not Public Gmail

  • We own the ualberta domain: [email protected]

  • We control CCIDs and passwords on campus

  • We own the data

  • No advertising

  • No data mining

  • All this is guaranteed in a contract with Google


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Privacy

  • Gmail is hosted on servers around the world including the U.S.

  • The Patriot Act applies

  • COIPC and AOIPC have ruled that it is acceptable to have email housed in the US


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Status

  • Gmail deployed for 250 pilot users

  • High user satisfaction

  • Legal contract with Google not complete

    • 99.9% compliance with Alberta privacy laws, but nothing less than 100% is acceptable

  • Nine Canadian institutions have indicated that if we jump, they will jump as soon as practical


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Dare to Change?

  • These are difficult times for the university

  • The Google project is not about email

  • It is all about…

    • Opening the dialogue for centralization where it makes sense

    • Providing leading edge tools to faculty, staff and especially students

    • Changing the way people think about IT


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Want to Know More?

www.vpit.ualberta.ca/email


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