Macquarie University has revealed plans to ditch its "inferior" Novell GroupWise staff email platform and replace it with Google's Gmail offering, following an earlier successful roll-out among students.
We were spending a significant amount of money each year maintaining our own inferior email infrastructure
Mac Uni vice chancellor Steven Schwartz
Less than two months ago, Mac Uni customer relationship manager Kathy Sewell defended the GroupWise platform on the blog of the university's chief information officer Marc Bailey.
The institution had executed a major upgrade to the infrastructure underlying its GroupWise platform, migrating to a new gigabit network.
"It turns out that GroupWise itself, though it has its own issues, has not been the largest source of operational email problems and risk," she wrote. "Until today, the legacy network that messages had to flow through actually offered multiple critical points of failure."
But today the university's vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz described the GroupWise platform as less capable than Gmail, announcing that the university intended to move its staff onto the latter system.
"We were spending a significant amount of money each year maintaining our own inferior email infrastructure that, despite our best efforts, was falling further and further behind staff expectations each year," he said.
Macquarie had previously migrated some 68,000 student accounts to the Gmail platform. The staff roll-out is expected to touch a further 6000. The success of the student roll-out had fuelled the staff switch, despite initial concerns.
"We knew our staff would have questions about using an external email service, particularly around privacy and intellectual property and regulatory ramifications," CIO Bailey said in the university's statement.
"But to their great credit, Google worked with us to mitigate all of these concerns and we're now very comfortable in rolling out Gmail to all of our staff."
The university did consider Gmail's educational rival, Microsoft Live@Edu — which has stolen a march on the search giant at a number of large Australian universities — but Bailey said Google's solution was "more cost-effective, both in terms of initial pricing and ongoing operational cost".
The Gmail roll-out will kick off this month, with three major stages planned by the project's scheduled completion in September.