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At Trinity University we have been using Google Apps as our email system for about three years for student, faculty, and staff email. We have recently been informed by our Faculty Senate that they are receiving complaints re the system that involve lost mail, mail delivered extraordinarily late and some aesthetic complaints with the interface. They are unable to speak to the magnitude of the complaints as they report many users seem very happy with Google Apps. The students seem to like the system and have made no mention of  problems, and yes, they do use email a lot!

If you have implemented Google Apps on your campus are you receiving such complaints and what is the magnitude of them?

Thanks


Chuck White

Charles B. White, Ph.D.
V.P. Information Resources
Professor, Psychology
Trinity University
210-488-2312
210-488-2312 (cell)
210-999-7345 (office)


********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Chuck,

We have had great user satisfaction, but happiness is not universal. Reports of lost mail are all but nonexistent, aside from things caught in the Postini junk filter. Delayed mail reports are very rare.

We have some aesthetic complaints, but most of these go away when we encourage users to use Firefox or Chrome and then show them Compact View.

More general complaints ( functionality gaps, cumbersome interface) are nearly always from users who both (1) did not attend our hour training class, and (2) think of Google as a downgrade. There is almost always a way of addressing their concerns when we hear them, but these users rarely ask us and even more rarely search for an answer.
Associate Provost for Technology & Information Systems
Wake Forest University



Charles,

Google Apps has been rock solid for us.  We moved our 6,000 students (2,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate) over to Google Apps about 3 years ago and moved employees (faculty and staff) last year. Based on what we experienced and what you describe let me suggest the following:


1) Documentation - Claims of lost and late email without specifics is tough to investigate. However, if you insist that Google users document specific issues with your Help Desk then you Google Administrator can do some checking to see if these claims are substantiated.  
2) Training - Some of these issues may be training issues and can be resolved with some lunch-and-learn sessions or some short training videos.  
3) Governance - If IT issues are being aired at Senate meeting then, as a matter of practice, it is good if IT has a presence at these meetings to respond directly and quickly (e.g. "We have not received many complaints concerning this issue"), request specifics (e.g. "...but, if people are having specific issues please contact the Help Desk and provide specifics") , explain process (e.g. "IT will investigate specific issues and follow up with our customers and if there is a larger issue we will make the university community aware of the issue and remedies we are taking.", etc. This also gives you the chance to let them know the number of institutions with Google and Microsoft hosted email (I recommend a snapshot from the Campus Computing Survey on this trend).
4) Survey - Data is powerful and feedback from the customer is powerful as well so I suggest you offer to do a survey if this continues to be a concern. However, I strongly recommend you have participants self identify so you can parse out the survey results to see if there are greater concerns or issues among different campus community groups (faculty, student, staff, alumni, etc.). This will allow you to identify specific issues that may exist and target training and informational materials to specific audiences.  For example, if you have a 1,000 people respond and 20 are "significantly dissatisfied" or have "major problems" then that would seem like a non-issue but if these 20 are among 100 faculty members that respond then you have identified an issue with this population and can take appropriate action.  

Take care!
Curtis

Hi Charles.  As others have mentioned, our experience with Google Apps for our email solution has been rock solid.  We took all faculty, staff and students to this system 3 years ago, and I can tell you our support calls for email issues became next to nothing, where it was once almost a full time job.  Today, it's mostly the occasional user error is all we get now.

What I can also share after 15 years in providing EDU email is that complaints tend to come at the beginning or end of any given semester.  The times where student work is due.  Each semester, some students claim they have sent work in, but the email system must have lost it.  This can lead the faculty to believe there are issues with the email system, rather than the student them self.  In fact, Google has been so solid that our faculty now are beginning to question students claims about actually sending those emails, a 180 degree shift here.

As to late email delivery, it's usually someone not checking email frequently, or setting up improper filters.  I've never seen late email with Google to be a legitimate case.

Let's face it, no system will make everyone happy, so you will get complaints - with ANY system.  Fact is, Google is very reliable and I'd go so far as to say more so than most any EDU self hosted systems could provide.  Google has a team of engineers most of us could only dream of having supporting our systems.

My advice, make sure the issues reported are not user issues rather than service issues.  I think you will find the service is not the problem in most cases.



On 9/1/2012 2:40 PM, Charles White wrote:
At Trinity University we have been using Google Apps as our email system for about three years for student, faculty, and staff email. We have recently been informed by our Faculty Senate that they are receiving complaints re the system that involve lost mail, mail delivered extraordinarily late and some aesthetic complaints with the interface. They are unable to speak to the magnitude of the complaints as they report many users seem very happy with Google Apps. The students seem to like the system and have made no mention of  problems, and yes, they do use email a lot!

If you have implemented Google Apps on your campus are you receiving such complaints and what is the magnitude of them?

Thanks


Chuck White

Charles B. White, Ph.D.
V.P. Information Resources
Professor, Psychology
Trinity University
210-488-2312
210-488-2312 (cell)
210-999-7345 (office)


********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Chuck,
I would echo other comments..we switched all faculty, staff, students to Google in 2008 and have been very pleased.
Randy

Message from dewittlatimer@gmail.com

Chuck, Randy et al -- It seems as e-mail is the easy part of this conversation; enterprise-wide calendering seems to be the long pole in the tent (e.g. free/busy query, resource management, etc). 

Moreover, for campus administrative users that have a fond affection for MS Outlook (dare I say love affair?), how has prepending MS Outlook to GAE worked out for you?  Again...e-mail is the easy part. MS Outlook working with Google Calenders is the key question.

I have heard from other campuses that MS seems to be winning the enterprise calender side of this holy war, both from an overall functionality as well as from a Outlook integration perspective.

As a side note, MSU students are currently on Google Apps...MSU faculty/staff on in-house Exchange. Disaster to me looks like students staying on Google and campus-proper on hosted Exchange driven solely by the calender robustness and Outlook support.

Comments or insight anyone?

Dewitt

---------------------------------

Dewitt Latimer, Ph.D.

Chief Information Officer

Montana State University

dewitt@montana.edu




AT ISU...adoption of the calendar has taken longer...but not necessarily because of a competing product..
I think folks here have been reluctant in general to share and/or let others schedule their calendar.(myself included)..
But once I..and others accepted it...it saves everyone...especially administrative staff...a lot of time.
A large portion of our executives were on exchange...and though concerned at first about switching...I have not heard any complaints.
Randy

Message from jj014747@pomona.edu

Oddly enough, regardless of where I have worked, adoption of a calendar has been a challenge for the institutional culture no matter the product in use.


Julianne Journitz
Director of Client Services
Information Technology Services
Pomona College
24x7 assistance: http://helpdesk.pomona.edu
ITS Website: http://its.pomona.edu



From: Randy Gaines <gainrand@isu.edu>
Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2012 16:36:29 -0600
To: <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: Re: [CIO] Google Apps Satisfaction

AT ISU...adoption of the calendar has taken longer...but not necessarily because of a competing product..
I think folks here have been reluctant in general to share and/or let others schedule their calendar.(myself included)..
But once I..and others accepted it...it saves everyone...especially administrative staff...a lot of time.
A large portion of our executives were on exchange...and though concerned at first about switching...I have not heard any complaints.
Randy

We moved our enterprise calendar from Oracle to google fifteen months ago as part of the GAE and had very little pushback. Exchange is of course, a much more robust competitor than Oracle calendar was. Saying that, the exchange linkage into google has placated a number of people who had to outlook. I wouldn't say the active-sync was 100% rock solid, we have seen issues with very large mailboxes or calendars and generally are encouraging folks to move to straight google. In terms of the conversation, I would say to think about the conversation by division. Athletics & Student affairs -- we emphasized the student connection, they love google because it can tie in with students in our GAE and most of the staff are younger and use gcal for their personal calendar. Colleges - They never liked any formal calendar but I've noticed those that do use a calendar want good mobile support, which google has. I have not had a major issue with getting those faculty that want to use an electronic calendar to move to google. Provost division - Most of our staff have been fine going to this. Again, the issue was getting good mobile support and seeding some smart phones and tablets to some administrators. Administration & Finance - probably the most push back to wanting exchange. They live in Office and wanted to see exchange be the one selected. If they had been on exchange it would of been hard to move them to google. Saying that, some use the google active sync and use outlook for calendar. Because Administration needs to work with others to schedule meetings that cross divisions they went with google. A key thing if you change is making sure the executive assistants in all the areas feel supported. They care very much about making certain that their boss is in the right spot at the right time. What we did that worked well for us in doing the move is we brought back someone that had been an executive admin assistant to the president's office. She knew the other executive assistants and helped get them transitioned and provided hand holding in this as we converted. We hired her to train others. You could do the same thing if you have a technical support lead that is very good at working with people but it did help having someone understand the tasks that people managing and scheduling meetings were doing. Jack Jack Suess UMBC VP of IT & CIO jack@umbc.edu 1000 Hilltop Circle 410.455.2582 Baltimore Md, 21250 Homepage: http://bit.ly/fSB5ID
We use Google Apps for students, faculty and staff with none of those complaints.  Early on, we heard about "delays" and in 100% of those cases, when we investigated, the individual sending was using a desktop client and failed to actually completely send the email.  Once we made that known, the complaints stopped.  Also, we use the calendar pervasively on campus.

Theresa

How is Google calendaring vs. Outlook calendaring an issue at your institution?  Most everyone at our college appreciated the calendar view change in Gmail via the web with overlaid views vs. Outlooks flat plane view that required constant scrolling, and even those still running Outlook with the Google Apps Sync client saw no difference if not better views.  For us, calendars were the easy part, not email.  I'd love to help, but I am not sure what issues you are seeing or perceiving.

I believe your fears are proper.  You really should not have separate mail or other servers for staff/fac and others for students.  Ideally, they should be the same - it's hard to have two domains with shared MX records for your domain.  Your setup is not only harder to maintain, but nearly impossible to troubleshoot should delivery issues arise.  I see a future of message loops or spam rule failures  in your future!  <grin>

On 9/4/2012 6:16 PM, Dewitt Latimer wrote:
Chuck, Randy et al -- It seems as e-mail is the easy part of this conversation; enterprise-wide calendering seems to be the long pole in the tent (e.g. free/busy query, resource management, etc). 

Moreover, for campus administrative users that have a fond affection for MS Outlook (dare I say love affair?), how has prepending MS Outlook to GAE worked out for you?  Again...e-mail is the easy part. MS Outlook working with Google Calenders is the key question.

I have heard from other campuses that MS seems to be winning the enterprise calender side of this holy war, both from an overall functionality as well as from a Outlook integration perspective.

As a side note, MSU students are currently on Google Apps...MSU faculty/staff on in-house Exchange. Disaster to me looks like students staying on Google and campus-proper on hosted Exchange driven solely by the calender robustness and Outlook support.

Comments or insight anyone?

Dewitt

---------------------------------

Dewitt Latimer, Ph.D.

Chief Information Officer

Montana State University

dewitt@montana.edu




This is a question so in the weeds as to likely not rate a response from this list but here goes anyway:

It is my understanding that if you choose to keep using outlook as your client, you can switch from a local exchange environment to a GAE environment, and from a user point of view, there is really no difference. Evidence in favor of this understanding is that google actually hosts exchange infrastructure to allow for just this sort of thing.

My question: Is it actually true that you can just keep on using outlook, and not really notice that your campus IT switched from exchange to GAE? And in particular, is this true for calendaring?

-- mike roy from Middlebury, where we still run exchange.....

Message from dabantz@alaska.edu

FWIW, I set up GAE on my iPhone as though an Exchange server; integration of calendar and email is seamless.

David Bantz



On Tue, 4 Sep 2012, at 16:53 , Mike Roy <mdroy@MIDDLEBURY.EDU> wrote:

This is a question so in the weeds as to likely not rate a response from this list but here goes anyway:

It is my understanding that if you choose to keep using outlook as your client, you can switch from a local exchange environment to a GAE environment, and from a user point of view, there is really no difference. Evidence in favor of this understanding is that google actually hosts exchange infrastructure to allow for just this sort of thing.

My question: Is it actually true that you can just keep on using outlook, and not really notice that your campus IT switched from exchange to GAE? And in particular, is this true for calendaring?

-- mike roy from Middlebury, where we still run exchange.....

Charles
We have students, staff and faculty all using Google Apps for Email and Calendaring.  Rock-solid performance, high user satisfaction, and low support needs.  While there have been very brief outages over the past few years, I would categorize the migration to Google as a big win for our IT department.

No real reports of delays, but if you're using something like Postini to filter messages, I suppose that could be the case.  Definitely no reports of lost messages.

Good luck getting to the bottom of your problems!
Brian

Brian Miller
V.P. Information Technology Services & CIO
Davenport University
6191 Kraft Ave. SE / Broadmoor Suite 270



Our students have been on Google Apps for the past three years, our faculty and staff on Exchange (and administration is hard-pressed to change). In May 2011 our our Exchange server suffered a catastrophic failure-right before Commencement. As an email intensive institution we had to provide some backup in order to get administrative folks back up and running. As a failsafe we created a Google Apps account for all faculty and staff. The Exchange recovery took a week and the Google set-up of faculty and staff accounts took a day so we were able to re-establish email, but calendars was a different matter. Since then we have continued to push mail to both services as our backup failover solution. Since that time, we have seen many faculty elect to stay using Google (a convenience given their students were on it) but many administrators reverted back to Exchange when it came back up. It has been hard to get folks to make a decision (form an administrative pint of view Exchange integrates with workflows in our ERP and our communications management tools). This fall we will offer to all faculty the options of selecting their preferred email and calendaring service and we believe most will indeed select Google Apps. We will schedule the roll-overs and turn off the abandon Exchange accounts as we chunk through converting those opting to use Google. Our biggest concerns appear to be in administrative offices that rely on the functionality of Outlook and yes calendaring is one of the issues. Not necessarily the fact that it functions "the way they are used to calendaring functioning", but because they can color code and tie to contacts and the bells and whistles are too cumbersome to migrate to another option. We are however getting to the point where the number of resources and staff available to manage those resources is becoming an issue. We have started conversations about standardization in services provided as we can no longer offer multiple solutions for basic functions. I anticipate some fights but we will be making an effort this year to start a migration that will eventually involve administrators making a decision. Tom Thomas H. Carnwath Vice President Technology and Information Services Hamilton Hall 320 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 Tel: 215-717-6440 [cid:F422AA5D-D33F-4EDE-8710-40DCB76FA918] Need Assistance? Call Oops (215-717-6677) to get answers. OTIS will never ask for your personal information or password in an email. Never share this information with anyone. This message and any attachment may contain confidential or privileged information and is intended for the intended individual named as addressee. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender immediately by return email and delete this message and all attachments from your system. Any unauthorized disclosure, use, distribution, or reproduction of this message or any attachments is prohibited and may be deemed unlawful. Please consider the environment before printing this email. From: Dewitt Latimer > Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv > Date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 6:16 PM To: "CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" > Subject: Re: [CIO] Google Apps Satisfaction Chuck, Randy et al -- It seems as e-mail is the easy part of this conversation; enterprise-wide calendering seems to be the long pole in the tent (e.g. free/busy query, resource management, etc). Moreover, for campus administrative users that have a fond affection for MS Outlook (dare I say love affair?), how has prepending MS Outlook to GAE worked out for you? Again...e-mail is the easy part. MS Outlook working with Google Calenders is the key question. I have heard from other campuses that MS seems to be winning the enterprise calender side of this holy war, both from an overall functionality as well as from a Outlook integration perspective. As a side note, MSU students are currently on Google Apps...MSU faculty/staff on in-house Exchange. Disaster to me looks like students staying on Google and campus-proper on hosted Exchange driven solely by the calender robustness and Outlook support. Comments or insight anyone? Dewitt --------------------------------- Dewitt Latimer, Ph.D. Chief Information Officer Montana State University dewitt@montana.edu
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