For years, School of Medicine users have voiced a need for better communication and collaboration tools. Users have also complained of having to remember too many ids and passwords (e.g., Onyen, SOMid, domain account). When the Office of Information Systems (OIS) began researching ways to address these needs, we knew that we wanted an integrated, enterprise-ready solution. In a time of significant budget cuts, we also wanted to make sure we utilized main campus resources when possible.
After substantial research and buy-in (see Background), an integrated set of solutions became clear.
Together, the following three components make up the MC2 Initiative (or Medicine's Communication and Collaboration Initiative):
- Email Consolidation and Migration (via Microsoft Exchange)
Although we initially planned our own Microsoft Exchange hosting, a change in landscape occurred during our planning process: main campus announced a move to the Microsoft Exchange environment as well. We, along with many other schools and IT units throughout the university, decided the most efficient and financially viable option was to centralize our email efforts with main campus. Thus, this component involves migrating School of Medicine users' email to main campus' Microsoft Exchange environment. Additionally, an optional (but recommended) component to this migration is to also migrate users' work stations to main campus' domain.
- Enhanced Collaboration (via Microsoft SharePoint)
Microsoft SharePoint is the ultimate online collaboration tool (document sharing/collaboration, wikis, discussion forums, tasks lists, team calendars, etc.). As with Microsoft Exchange, main campus knows the value of this tool as well and has offered us hosting with their Microsoft SharePoint implementation. Although you may find it easier to access SharePoint after your workstation has been migrated to main campus' domain (i.e., you'll experience less logins), OIS can create a SharePoint site for you at any time.
- UserID Consolidation and Management (via Onyen authentication)
School of Medicine users currently have to remember and manage (at least) three centrally-managed usernames and passwords: Onyen, SOMid, and domain accounts. After substantial analysis of existing systems and applications, OIS decided that the easiest way to consolidate these ids was to pick an id and convert our existing systems and applications to the chosen authentication. We chose to consolidate our systems and applications to Onyen authentication. This component will be a work in progress throughout the MC2 Initiative. As users are migrated to main campus' email and domain, they will begin using their Onyens more. Eventually, by the end of the migrations, we will have converted all centrally managed School of Medicine systems and applications to Onyen authentication - thus, users will eventually only have to manage one account and password!