Dare to Change:Gmail and Why it Matters to You Jonathan Schaeffer Vice Provost and Associate Vice President (IT) firstname.lastname@example.org
IT at WestVAC? • Why should you care about IT? • …under the covers • …should just happen • …out of sight, out of mind • …someone else’s problem • Wrong! • IT, more than ever, requires your attention!
IT World is Changing • Fast network connections • Social networking • Cloud computing • Ubiquitous wireless access • Software as a service • Fundamental paradigm shifts that will dramatically impact how a modern university deploys IT
Where Are We Today? • My generation • Desktop computers • Wired connections • Telephones • Local computing infrastructure • New generation • Laptops • Wireless connections • Cell phones • Non-local computing infrastructure
Where Do We Want To Be? • IT world is changing rapidly but universities are usually slow to change • We run the risk of offering an antiquated IT environment to our faculty, staff and students • Universities are all about change; we should embrace it, not fear it • Can we change the way we think about IT, so that we can free up resources to change IT?
Today’s Student… • …is very different from the student of even five years ago • …is comfortable with and quick to adopt new IT technology • There is a significant (and growing) generation gap
Philosophy • Core mandate of a university is research and teaching • IT is an enabler • Some IT components have become utility computing • Where appropriate, you should consider getting out of the utility computing business
Typical Situation • Decentralized fragmented community • One large central IT department • Numerous mini IT groups on campus • Duplication of many services • Uneven quality of service • Non-uniform (even non-existent) policies
Dare to Change? • Are we prepared to challenge the status quo? • Can we think about doing things differently? • Can we move towards deploying modern IT technology across the entire campus? • If not, we run the risk of providing core IT that is seen as irrelevant
Case Study: ASU (1) • Outsourced student email • Outsourced learning management systems • Outsourced all computer networks • Outsourced help desk • Outsourced desktop support • Outsourced PeopleSoft infrastructure • Consolidating server rooms and then outsource “If a service is core, then it should be out-sourced.” Adrian Sannier (CIO, ASU)
Case Study: ASU (2) • $15M in IT savings/year reinvested back into IT • Mobile computing • Application development • Using IT to improve student engagement • IT support for teaching • IT support for research • Brave new model that ASU claims reaps dividends
University of Alberta • Our mantra: don’t waste a good crisis • Over 30 independent IT groups on campus • Institutional cost of IT as a percent of the operating budget is disproportionately large • In general, student dissatisfaction with our IT offerings • We can’t make incremental changes; we need to leapfrog forward
Email at the UofA • At least 47 independent email systems on campus • Each has their own hardware, software, and people resources • No central calendaring • At least 37 Blackberry servers on campus • Does this make sense?
Centralize Email Because: • Simplifies IT infrastructure • Enables university-wide calendaring • Addresses user concerns • Addresses auditor’s concerns • Improves security • Frees up valuable IT personnel time • Simplifies emergency response • Supports green computing • Enables cost savings by removing duplication
People • Centralization of email is NOT an excuse to eliminate jobs • IT personnel are generally overworked • Let’s get out of the mundane task of email • Free up precious people resources to further our research, teaching, and administration agenda
Solutions? • In-house? • Too expensive • Local provider? • Too expensive • Get out of the email business entirely Google!
The Google Solution • Gmail: Email provided by Google • Large default email box (7.4 GB) • Email integrated with calendaring • Google apps (including docs and tools) • Backups and disaster recovery • Cost is $0 for Google’s service, but there is a cost for increased network access • We will leapfrog forward in the quality of our service and the richness of our offerings
Education Edition • Education Gmail is not Public Gmail • We own the ualberta domain: CCID@ualberta.ca • We control CCIDs and passwords on campus • We own the data • No advertising • No data mining • All this is guaranteed in a contract with Google
Privacy • Gmail is hosted on servers around the world including the U.S. • The Patriot Act applies • COIPC and AOIPC have ruled that it is acceptable to have email housed in the US
Status • Gmail deployed for 250 pilot users • High user satisfaction • Legal contract with Google not complete • 99.9% compliance with Alberta privacy laws, but nothing less than 100% is acceptable • Nine Canadian institutions have indicated that if we jump, they will jump as soon as practical
Dare to Change? • These are difficult times for the university • The Google project is not about email • It is all about… • Opening the dialogue for centralization where it makes sense • Providing leading edge tools to faculty, staff and especially students • Changing the way people think about IT
Want to Know More? www.vpit.ualberta.ca/email