University email accounts are being moved from Zmail to Microsoft Office 365 to give users better accessibility, security and user experience. The Information Resource department is overseeing the transition.
The Office of Information Resources is transferring approximately 40,000 student and legacy accounts with an initial budget of $100,000.
Director of Technology Customer Services Don Davis said one of the reasons for the switch was because Office 365 offers better features in terms of connectivity and integration.
“Microsoft brings in a more robust user experience than Zmail,” Davis said. “Microsoft Outlook has a better feel and usability”.
David Nguyen, associate vice president of Information Resource Operations, said the need for an upgrade of the hardware hosting Zmail was another reason for the switch.
“Migrating to Office 365 was a more logical option given the university had a pre-existing agreement with Microsoft,” he said.
According to Information Resources’ website, the new email accounts will have 50GB of space per user, whereas Zmail provides 1000MB per user. In addition to the email service, students will also be licensed for the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook Access and Publisher. The programs can be installed on up to five PCs, Macs and other mobile devices including Microsoft Windows tablets and iPads.
Office 365 also offers 1 terabyte of cloud storage space on OneDrive, which can be used to store files and photos that can be accessed from anywhere using the Internet. Users will have access to Office Online, where they can use lighter versions of Office applications accessible using any web browser and can be used to create, edit and save documents.
Student already owning university accounts with Microsoft will have their mailing system integrated to the already existing ones. The accounts will now show an icon for Microsoft Outlook, which was unavailable for earlier accounts.
Students must use their full NetID for logging in, personalized email addresses will not work. But the PEA will be active, meaning mails can be received using the ID.
There will be no change in email addresses, Davis said. The emails currently stored on Zmail will be copied to Office 365. However, address books, calendar items and anything over 25 megabytes will not be carried over.
Students will need to set up email forwarding in Outlook as forwarding settings will not automatically carried over. If students have Zmail synched to their phones, they will need to reconfigure them to continue recieving emails.
Technology Services will email students 14 days, seven days and one day before the change. Final notification will be sent two weeks after completion of the transition, after which the Zmail account will be deleted.
Five hundred email accounts will be moved in each phase of the process. Migration is planned to occur each night. Buffer days have been put in to ensure no complications occur for the first couple of weeks. As there is no fixed deadline by which the process is to be finished, Information Resources hopes to be on track and finish the process as soon as possible.