College to transition to Gmail to free up time, budget resources

This month, the college plans to begin the transition of its email, calendaring and contacts platform from Zimbra to Gmail that it announced last September. The first phase of this transition will officially begin Oct. 29.

John O’Keefe, the Vice-President and Chief Information Officer of Information Technology Services, said he ultimately made the decision to transition from Zimbra to Gmail.

“We felt that moving to Google would be a good fit for us and potentially free up staff time and budget resources that can be redirected to other things. Since we already had many of the Google Apps deployed on campus since 2010, it seemed like the logical choice,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe added that Lafayette is one of the many schools making this transition to larger providers such as Microsoft and Google. However, this transition will be a process that is planned to be executed in three phases.

Phase one, the beginning of the process, is comprised of switching the Gmail Project Team and the chief IT staff from Zimbra to Gmail. O’Keefe said the main goal of this phase “is to identify and resolve any remaining technical issues.”

Phase two entails the transitioning of faculty, staff, and students—so-called “early adopters”—to the new system on Nov. 26. In order for phase two to be successful at least ten percent of the campus community must switch to Gmail by Nov. 26.

As stated in an email from O’Keefe and the G-Suite Project Team to the campus community earlier this week, “We are hoping to have a diverse group of early adopters that includes representation by faculty, staff and students.”

Phase two also involves the training of members of the Lafayette community to be “Google Guides.” These Google Guides will be trained to use Gmail so as to “provide an additional layer of support” when the new system goes live for those who aren’t familiar with it, O’Keefe said.

Neither early adopters or Google Guides have been chosen yet. As such, any faculty members, staff, or students interested in becoming an early adopter or Google Guide should register to do so online by Friday, Oct. 26.

Lastly, upon the completion of the first two phases, phase three will go live in January. In this phase, the entire Lafayette community will be transitioned from Zimbra to Gmail. In O’Keefe’s words, “We are hoping to go live on Jan. 14.”

“So far, all feedback from students has been hugely positive,” O’Keefe added.

Leave a Reply

*