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Office 365 in Dundee

At the end of March, the University of Dundee hosted a meeting to share their experience of migrating to Office 365.  Representatives attended from several universities and colleges in Scotland, including a group of us from the University of Edinburgh.

Dundee have taken a different approach to us.  They have migrated all their staff and students to Office 365 for e-mail and e-diary only.  We are only migrating students (excluding postgraduate research students) and we are giving them access to all the Office 365 services.  Dundee started from a position where their mail service was poor, whereas ours is very good (at least for staff).  So the comparison between the two institutions is not straightforward.

Even so, this was a very useful day for us.  Dundee explained how they had handled migrating e-mail accounts and mentioned some of the problems they had to address en route, which was helpful.  Microsoft gave an update on the service provision.  Then Salford Software, who Dundee employed as consultants on this project, gave their view of the migration and highlighted some pitfalls to avoid.  Finally we had a round-table discussion in which several more questions were answered.

Microsoft announced that the free service for staff will now include Sharepoint and Lync.  So if we have staff who want to join students in group work using Office 365, we may be able to provision them Office 365 accounts for this purpose (while maintaining their existing e-mail and e-diary provision).  This may be useful, particularly for distance education courses.  We do already have a virtual classroom project and other services for sharing documents and so forth, but it may be useful to have another option available.

Overall, this day was very useful.  Our thanks to the University of Dundee for taking the time to organise it and to share their experience.

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