The OneIT Communication and Collaboration Project Team updated the Operations Team on the status of its projects. The first phase of the Office 365 subproject is complete, with a second leg in progress. By December 2018, the team will have laid the foundation to implement Skype for Business as a functional voice service, though the shift away from traditional phone lines will be a gradual, ongoing process.
Migration of on-premises email boxes to Microsoft Office 365 finished in 2016. Health care directory information was migrated into a unified global address list so users can find and connect with each other across both email and calendar systems. De-provisioning email when individuals leave the UI is now a graceful, automated process, and most infrastructure for the old Exchange-based email system was eliminated.
Remaining work for the project includes: migrating on-premises email routing to Office 365, implementing HawkID@uiowa.edu email routing, transitioning to Exchange Online Protection as the university’s anti-spam/virus tool, and automating email provisioning for students and employees. The team will also identify any remaining devices, applications, or services connecting to on-premises Exchange, to eliminate additional infrastructure. Targeted completion of phase two is June 2017.
Skype for Business
The team reported steady progress in paving the way for Skype for Business (SfB) as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution to eventually replace traditional phone service on campus.
Work completed includes: modernizing connections to the public telephone network, upgrading the legacy voicemail to a modern system to bridge through the change, and engaging consulting expertise regarding the UI’s move to VoIP. The team is currently reviewing recommendations from the consultants, and engaging colleagues from UI health care and peer institutions to develop strategies.
Work in progress includes: reviewing campus networks for increased voice and video communication traffic, reviewing staffing/roles for the new VoIP-based system, developing a new support model with virtual provisioning/de-provisioning, identifying and purchasing phones, headsets, and cameras, migrating voicemail to Office 365 Unified Messaging, and developing the cost model. The team is also evaluating solutions for multiple lines/shared phones, 911, faxing, elevator phones, alarms, and the “blue light” emergency phones on campus.
Some units, including ITS, Engineering, Psychology, Sociology, and the Museum of Art, have already begun to adopt VoIP as a standard telephone solution. Trainings are being offered to users, and additional support is being offered to units as they make the transition.