As the end of this semester approaches, I wanted to update you on the important technology changes the MU community will be experiencing over the next few months and throughout the next academic year. These changes are being expedited to increase utilization of other tools and allow us to eliminate duplicative services. The CIOs of all UM System campuses have agreed that a transition to using the following tools will lower infrastructure and support costs while allowing us to standardize services, leverage economies of scale, improve customer service and increase our security posture.
Last fall, we entered into an agreement with Microsoft to provide a broad set of tools and services in Office 365, now called Microsoft 365. This suite of services will replace many duplicative services. Here are just a few examples:
The use of Teams got a jumpstart with the recent increase in remote work as an effective tool for chat, meeting communications, and information sharing. We will communicate regularly with the MU community about MS 365 tools as well as details about email migrations. Later this month, all faculty and staff will be offered live webinars to learn how to use the Teams platform. More information about these tools is available on our website.
We are also working toward making available a subset of Google’s G Suite services. Although used primarily in the education/academic and eLearning space, these tools will be available in the future to all MU faculty, staff and students at no cost. More information will be coming as Google services are offered.
Service eliminations over the next 6-12 months will include Box, departmental file servers, on-premise Sharepoint, Secure Auth and possibly more as MS 365 and GSuite tools are adopted.
Another key area of focus will be rationalizing software and applications, with the goal of reducing the costs associated with functionally duplicative contracts and licenses. This rationalization process will start with two areas of focus: high cost and easy wins (low hanging fruit). We will also increase the scrutiny of new purchases and renewals for software, applications and SAAS (cloud-based software services) requests. This is an important topic to be aware of because these evaluations may slow down the procurement process.
As always, our IT team will work as diligently to keep disruption to a minimum. Please bear with us as we move forward with these initiatives that will result in a more standardized and less costly technology environment.
— May 11, 2020