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Queen's University
 

Icon representing email, calendar, contacts, tasksProject Activities and Progress

 

 


Approach

 

The project to implement Microsoft Exchange as the integrated email and calendaring solution for staff and faculty has been broken into three phases:

 

Phase 1: Pre-Migration

This phase encompasses all of the research and planning required to execute the migration of email and calendar accounts from a technical standpoint. It also includes identifying the requirements and preparing materials for end user communications, documentation and training. This phase is the most complex and will take the greatest amount of time to complete.

 

Phase 2: Migration

This entails the execution of the plans developed in Phase 1. At the end of this phase, all Queen's staff and faculty will be migrated to Microsoft Exchange for enterprise email and calendar service.

 

Phase 3: Post-Migration

Finalizing the transition to the new application includes resolving any outstanding migration issues, decommissioning old servers, implementing the long-term support mechanisms for the new tool, and surveying users about their experience of the migration.

 


Challenges

 

Implementing a large-scale technology project that touches many users requires careful planning to ensure that the transition to a new application creates minimal disruption to productivity. This means that numerous technical questions must be addressed and resolved before implementation. As well, communications, documentation and training are key components in letting stakeholders know what to expect, when to expect it, and where they can find help.

 

As described above, Phase 1 is the most complex and extensive phase of the project. As of this writing (January 2012), some of the key challenges we are currently addressing include:

 

Calendar Account Migrations

A specialized tool was used to migrate Oracle Calendar accounts to Microsoft Exchange as part of the pilot project done with the Office of Advancement. One of the lessons learned from that pilot was that this application was not a good choice as a migration tool because it failed to migrate certain features (e.g. contacts and distribution lists). As well, any migrated meetings that were then edited in Outlook Calendar did not update properly for the invitees to those meetings. Researching and testing alternative calendar migration tools is therefore a significant part of Phase 1.

 

March 2012 Update: After extensive research and testing, a tool called CalMover has been selected to facilitate the migration of Oracle Calendar accounts. While there remain some elements of Oracle Calendar that will not be migrated into Exchange, this tool does maintain the integrity of the data that is migrated.

 

Managing Volume

The pilot project with Advancement involved approximately 200 users. The transition for other faculty and staff at Queen's will require the creation and migration of more than 7,000 email and calendar accounts in Microsoft Exchange. Ideally, the execution of the migration should be completed as quickly as possible so all users are utilizing the same calendar and email system at the same time. Thus, the process for migrating the 200 users in Advancement may not scale well from a timeline point of view for the entire University community. Questions to consider include:

 

  • Which tools and/or file formats will migrate most quickly?
  • How long will it take to create and migrate 7,000+ accounts?
  • Will in-person training be required, and if so, for how many users and for what functionality?
  • How will the settings changes to mobile devices be handled? How do we support a mobile user who may be out-of-town at the time of the migration?

March 2012 Update: While some of these questions are still outstanding, it is evident that a department-by-department migration strategy will be the most effective. ITServices is the first department to migrate as part of the campus-wide transition, and as early adopters, feedback from their experience is helping to improve the process for those who follow.

 

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Activities

 

A summary of past, current and future project activities will be maintained here. Please note that these lists do not necessarily identify every project-related activity. As well, activities and timelines projected for future dates may be subject to change.

 

Core

 

Date Activity
November 22 (2011) Meeting with Advancement IT staff to review lessons learned from the Advancement migration.
November 26 Meetings with ITS senior leadership and infrastructure staff members to review existing Exchange architecture.
November 30 Phone meeting with Microsoft to discuss licensing.
December 8

Presentation to Senate IT Committee (SITC) on decision to migrate JES mail and Oracle Calendar to Microsoft Exchange for staff and faculty.

December 14 Phone meeting with Microsoft to discuss licensing.
January 11 (2012) First outline of draft project plan.
January 12 Draft project plan distributed to core project team for review.
January 16 Infrastructure discussion of mail routing changes. First meeting of core project team to discuss project plan.
January 19 Project team meeting. Review of possible calendar migration tools.
January 23 Project team meeting. Demonstration of default process for managing distribution groups, resources calendars and permissions.

February 7, 9, 13, 21, 27

March 1, 5, 12, 13, 16, 19, 26

Project team meetings.
March 12-23 ITServices migrates as a department to Exchange. Lessons learned here help to improve the process for the migration of future departments.

Communications & Outreach

 

Date Activity
November 14 (2011) Publication of "In the Works" section of ITServices website, with content relating to new email and calendaring direction for Queen's (those pages now replaced with this content.)
November 23
ITServices Outreach Brown Bag presentation to Queen's community to let them know about selection of Microsoft Exchange as the chosen solution. Presentation slides available (must login with NetID and password).
November 24

Meeting with NCIC IT staff on implications for their internal JES mail system.

December 8

Presentation to Senate IT Committee (SITC) on decision to migrate JES mail and Oracle Calendar to Microsoft Exchange for staff and faculty.

January 12 (2012)
Meeting with ITServices Communications team.
February 3, 6 Meetings of Exchange Communications team. Targeted stakeholder communications and training identified at high level - content, timelines.
February 7 Publication of story about new service in ITServices Winter 2012 newsletter.
February 13 First meeting of the Exchange Migration Advisory Committee, a group of approximately a dozen stakeholders across campus who will advise ITServices about concerns, priorities and preferences regarding the migration process. This group includes representation from the Office of Advancement and Queen's School of Business, who are able to provide insight about lessons learned from their pilot migration experience in 2011.
March 1 Publication of story on Queen's News Centre with link in e-Queen's bulletin.
March 5, 19
Meeting of Exchange Migration Advisory Committee.
March 7
ITServices Outreach Brown Bag presentation on status of implementation; everyone welcome.

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Documentation, Training & Support

 

These requirements are being defined during Phase 1 of the project.

 

End-user support documentation for the new email and calendar services is being built in the Queen's Wiki space called Email and Calendar (Staff, Faculty, Grad Students): https://wiki.queensu.ca/display/mailcal/Home.

 

 

Updated 23 March 2012

 


Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 613.533.2000