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March 3, 2011 - 5:04pm

'U' considers change to e-mail system


Lynn Johnson, chair of the University’s Unit IT Steering Committee announced a plan to employ a more cost-effective and resourceful information technology infrastructure in an e-mail to the campus community Thursday.

The effort is being facilitated through NextGen Michigan, which is a strategic team focused on making the University an international leader in technology. The University is in the process of choosing either Google or Microsoft to be the new campus-wide online collaborative tool.

Members of the University community use more than 40 different e-mail and calendar systems, according to the e-mail. Officials hope that NextGen will bring a system to the University community that will facilitate collaboration and increased use of learning tools.

Microsoft and Google representatives will be on campus on Sept. 28 and Oct. 7, respectively, to hold information sessions geared toward campus IT staff highlighting how they can improve upon the University’s current online collaboration system.

According to a NextGen Michigan fact sheet, there will be an estimated $7 million cut to the University’s information technology services’ budget for the 2011 fiscal year. Through an approach called IT Rationalization, the University will assess which company has the best system that will also alleviate the IT financial burden, according to the fact sheet.

Some features of the possible new systems include content sharing, instant messaging, calendars and discussion arenas, according to the e-mail.

Members of the University community will have an opportunity to give their feedback on the two options through a campus-wide survey, which will be sent out in October.