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Campus Calendaring Work Group Meeting - 7/6/2011

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Date and Time: 
July 6, 2011 - 9:00am - 10:00am

Campus Calendaring Work Group Meeting 7/6/2011

1. Zimbra Group - Will respond to questions/issues raised at our June 29 meeting.

2. We will begin discussions in which we compare/contrast our various products.  Each group member is encouraged to identify those areas of comparison most important to them.

3. Jamie will distribute a set of questions/issues to eventually be shared with each of the following groups.  We will review/discuss that draft set.

* Those on campus responsible for E'Discovery (Preservation Hold)

* Functional Users who can represent use cases that might be out of our experience and unfamiliar to us.  This group would likely be business officers, MSOs, etc.

4. Jamie was to speak with Tom Putnam re. our discussion about outsourced solutions. Since Tom is off campus until July 11, this will have to wait. 

5. Other items? 


Campus Calendaring Work Group
July 6, 2011

Alan Moses
Andy Satomi
Bill Doering
Bruce Miller
Chris Sneathen
Doug Drury
Jamie Sonsini
Jason Simpson
Jim Woods
Kip Bates
Matthew Dunham
Polly Bustillos
Randall Ehren
Ted Cabeen

Not Present
Daniel Lloyd
Nathan Walter
Richard Kip
Thomas Howard

Zimbra Group
Ted postponed reporting on the additional Zimbra questions/issues until our next meeting.  He had not received answers to his questions from Zimbra yet.

Upcoming Meetings
Jamie explained that we have another 2 hour meeting next week, July 13, and then we would revert back to 1 hour meetings every other week (July 20, August 3, etc.).  He asked if that schedule seemed sufficient for what we would need to do next.  It was decided that those meetings would be fine and no additional meetings would need to be scheduled beyond what was already on the calendar.

After some discussion we decided that at our next meeting each product evaluation group would focus on a “walk through” of their product as it would be implemented at UCSB.  Because of our weighted interest in our outsourced options, Google Apps and MS Office 365, those product groups will present first.  Jason and Bill volunteered to lead the Office 365 presentation (thereby taking Lopaka’s place).

Beyond this “walk through” we discussed the idea of future “horizontal comparison” discussions wherein we’d take each criteria area and review all 4 products relative to that criteria.  There was some discussion about assigning scores/ratings for each product and for each criteria area, but no final determination was made.  There will certainly be more discussion on this topic.

Additional Input/Guidance
Jamie reported that he had communicated with Meta Clow, the person on campus who coordinates E’Discovery/Preservation-Hold issues.  Meta has scheduled a meeting next week for Jamie to discuss our efforts with several folks on campus involved with E’Discovery.  Jamie will inform them as to our criteria and invite additional guidance.  If requested, these folks may attend a future meeting to explore this topic further with us.

We discussed a draft email prepared, and shared, by Jamie in which he invites additional guidance regarding dependencies on Email or Escheduling services which might be outside of our “usual” use-case examples.  Jamie will add an example to the email, so as to better explain/demonstrate the purpose of the message.  Jamie also asked members of the Work Group to submit the names of individuals to whom this email should be sent.  Jamie offered that he’d, at least, include his set of “Email/Escheduling Advisors” (a group shared with the Work Group many weeks ago).

Jamie also reported that Tom Putman was on vacation, so he was unable to speak with Tom to seek input or guidance regarding next steps related to our outsourced options.

Outsourced Options – Our Preference
Jamie reminded everyone that the previous meeting notes included language that implied that we generally preferred the outsourced product options and asked if there were any objections or issues with that characterization.  Everyone was comfortable with the language used.

Given our inclination towards the outsourced products, it was suggested that we “go around the room” and that those wanting to share the reason for their inclination do so.  What ensued was a general discussion regarding the pros (and cons) of our outsourced options (verses a locally hosted solution).

Comments: “Why I prefer outsourced services…”

An outsourced service provider is likely to stay abreast of current technology.  As the service provider’s product offering reflects these changes, it will allow the campus to use current technology and will encourage (force) changes in some processes and procedures to keep them up to date as well.  This will, effectively, help reduce our technology “legacy tail.”

Current outsourced service solutions and contracts meet our privacy and security requirements.

Given the state of UC’s and California’s budget, we believe IT expenditures will likely continue to be reduced in the future.  These reductions will make it increasing difficult to retain and hire competent and skilled IT staff at the campus level.  In fact, IT folks with skills in this area (collaboration suite products) are becoming less available since many businesses and institutions are using outsourced solutions and not training their own staff to become expert in this area.

As IT staffing becomes more and more challenging (to acquire staff and to fund positions) it seems wasteful to focus IT effort on an area that’s become a commodity service.  This is, simply, not our “core competency.”  We believe IT staff should, instead, be utilized to provide services unique or targeted to local (non-commodity) needs.

Locally provided services are always vulnerable to campus pressures which have, historically, tended to “shave” funding or spread staffing into other areas during difficult financial times.  An outsourced service will allow the campus to acquire the service it needs and negotiate changes in a more reasonable manner.  This would position the campus with a reliable and predictable service.

Selecting an outsourced option reduces capital and operational costs which would need to be made for any locally hosted service solution.

The economy of scale offered by an outsourced vendor far exceeds anything the campus could achieve, so any costs associated with capital investments would be at minimum values.

With an outsourced service we would level our recurring costs and expend a minimal amount in capital investments.
We believe that, overall, outsourced solutions would be less expensive than an appropriately designed and sized local solution.

An outsourced service provider would provide disaster recovery beyond what would be available locally, both geographically and with regard to the technology involved.  Again, the scale of their implementation allows for a much better economy of that scale.

Outsourced, “cloud,” solutions would enhance coordination with other institutions using similar solutions.  The level of interoperability/collaboration built into these solutions far exceeds what we could achieve locally.

Using outsourced services is clearly a trend in the higher education arena.  We have many institutions, inside of UC and outside of UC, who have made this decision and report good results.

Other Outsourced Issues

Relying on an outsourced solution will make us, even more, dependent on the campus network pathways off campus.  This dependency should be acknowledged, understood and mitigated.

An outsourced service provider may impose limits on the quantity of data storage provided.  Accommodation for special cases would need to be addressed and implemented.