Monash dumping Thunderbird for Lotus Notes

When Monash University's long-term chief information officer Alan McMeekin leaves the university next month, he will be handing over a half completed, prolonged migration from Thunderbird to Lotus Notes.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

When Monash University's long-term chief information officer Alan McMeekin retires next month, he will be handing over a half-completed, prolonged staff email migration from Mozilla Thunderbird to Lotus Notes.

McMeekin is retiring on 22 December. "It's time for me to hand over the baton," he told ZDNet.com.au this week. The CIO was 60 years old, he said, and had been working in the IT sector for 40 years, working in universities for 22 of those years. McMeekin joined Monash in early 1998 from the University of Southern Queensland and spent 11 years heading up the university's IT function.

The new IT director will continue to migrate staff to Lotus Notes from the university's former client Thunderbird. The migration started 18 months ago, yet, until now, only 4500 out of 10,000 staff have been moved. Lotus Notes was chosen three years ago, according to IBM.

When queried on the long time scale for the migration, McMeekin said that he'd left it up to users when they wanted to migrate. "They're choosing a time that suits them," he said. Migrating emails and calendar from Thunderbird also took time, he said.

McMeekin had chosen to move from Thunderbird because it didn't fit in with the unified communications strategy the university was working towards. "It didn't provide a full collaboration suite," he said.

Along with rolling out Lotus Notes, McMeekin has been moving the six campuses from traditional PABXs to IP telephony in partnership with Cisco Systems. He has completed five campuses and expects to finish the last next year. Video-conferencing has also been a focus, with the university having 130 meeting rooms set up with Tandberg video-conferencing technology.

The university also announced recently that it would move its 58,000 students to Google's Gmail.

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