After a long process, my school has decided to move to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange 2007. I realize that this is bucking the trend to move towards outsourced email with Google’s Apps for Schools and Microsoft Live, but these systems did not meet our requirements. I use Gmail for my personal email and am very happy with it, but we felt that for an enterprise, it were not quite ready to go in that direction.
What is exciting about this move is that we will have better basic email functionality for our basic email users and more advanced functionality for many of our high end users. The basic functions include:
- HTML email support
- Outlook Web Access — A much improved web user email interface
- Advanced search
- HTML mailto: support so our SIS email class and email parents links will work
- A standard, clean user interface for our community
The advanced features include:
- Industry standard calendaring
- Integration with many of our installed databases
- PDA/Phone integration
As we migrate, the one space in FirstClass that is not replicated in Outlook/Exchange is the conference. We will be using Group mail lists, Outlook Public Folders for some of these conferences in addition to Moodle forums and possibly some Drupal or other open source forum software. The result is that we’ll be moving to web apps being the center of our universe with our email system driving us in that direction.
I’ll be posting more along our migration road.
I’ve created a documentation web site for this project here. What do you think?