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Communication and Collaboration

The broad charge to this Task Force is to identify campus needs for communication and collaboration services and to identify tools and practices to support those needs (click on the Task Force Charge link in the left column for the full description). This is a project blog - the task force will post formal and informal updates here and looks forward to your comments on these posts. Feel free to scroll down for history, search for your topic of interest, or just comment to say what you would like to see discussed.

  •  We Hope to Have Recommendation to Provost Next Week

    Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

    This week we reviewed our experiences with the Microsoft Sharepoint and Google Apps "sandboxes." These were SCU specific sites that let us try the features from both vendors.

    We are also progressing with the request from the Provost around cost/benefits/risks analysis across both vendors. The IT and Information Services people have had to shoulder most of this burden as we look at actual dollar costs, training hours, implementation strategies, and the like.

    Thank you to all who have given us comments throughout this process. This is much more than a technology tool decision. It is a decision about our work environment and practices.

    Many of you are already involved in work that takes place in the cloud rather than on a desktop. I hope you see yourself as part of the transition team and will help us provide demonstrations as we discover new ways of collaborating.


  •  Pricing Announcement from Microsoft

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

     Office 365 for Education (available Summer 2012) will free as the price point for basic faculty, student, & staff accounts. Click for details here.

  •  Communication/Collaboration and the Future of Email

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

    How do the Google/Microsoft tools match up around email lists/search etc?

    This is a quesiton we've heard at the town hall meetings and in the open ended parts of the survey. My response is generally that they both have strong options, different from Group Wise though, and that Microsoft may have more power in managing lists etc. (Recall from the town hall the description of Microsoft as powerful/complex, Google as less powerful/intuitive.)

    My friend Maria Ogneva works for the social media company Yammer and has a new blog post that touches on some of the issues around these questions:

    "Social Media vs. Email — Are We Asking The Right Questions?"

    • Is your message task oriented?
    • Who is the audience? 
    • Do you know the audience specifically? 
    • Do you want people to find it and iterate on it later? 
    • Is it public or private? 

    These questions -- and Maria builds them out very thoughtfully -- sometimes suggest that alternatives to email (discussions on a project page or a blog like this one) may be a better way to communicate in some situations.

    So, rather than asking about the email feature sets, be thinking about the tasks we have and if other forms of communication and collaboration might be more effective. According to Maria, Capgemini reports a 40% reduction in email when they added other collaboration options.

    Having new tools is a step, but what will it take for us to change some of our work habits? For those of you who are already using some social media alternative -- what have you found to be a productive change? Are you using less email?

  •  Where we are - and winner of the iPad!

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

    Ron Danielson and I presented to the Planning Action Council on Tuesday. Wednesday the we had a Task Force meeting where we'd hoped to come to a decision between Google and Microsoft. We decided to postpone action given the hope for more information about how Office365 will work for collaboration -- we are building a "sandbox" and hope to get hands-on with it soon.

    In the interim, IT will be working on the cost comparisons and a evaluation table of costs/benefits/risks. Our training and implementation experts will work on similar comparisons related to change management. 

    Time pressure is significant in the tenor of our discussions given when school starts for the various programs on campus. 

    Stay tuned -- and congratulations to  Caitlin who answered the March survey and won an iPad!

  •  Results from the Microsoft/Google Survey

    Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012

    Thank you to the over 1100 people who responded. Here is a quick rundown of the results. Please note that these results are one part of the decision process. Security, privacy, workflow, and cost are all part of the final recommendation the Communication and Collaboration Task Force will be providing to the President, Provost, & University Coordinating Committee.

    iPad results to be annouced soon.

    Thank you to Brian Washburn for managing the survey.