10. News from the Nexus Team

10.1. The Project Ends, the Service Begins

The Groupware Project came to a close on 31 March 2010, meaning that Nexus is now fully an OUCS service. The occasion was marked by the Project Board which met for a final time on 25th March.

The Nexus service team comprises Daryl Theobald, Srilak Wikramanatni, Thomas Mill and Matthew Gaskin who all have a variety of expertise in supporting the Microsoft platform and associated technologies. Mark Norman has rejoined the team as Service Manager, and Paul Davis will remain as Training and Communications Manager (with particular responsibility for the SharePoint service provided by Nexus). Mike Fraser, who has been managing the project in Mark’s absence, will drop back as overall group manager.

The Groupware Project has involved staff from across OUCS, including a number who were seconded to the project. Peter Jones has led the technical team and, together with Dominic Hargreaves and others within the Systems Development and Support Team, has been responsible for ensuring the migrations from Herald to Nexus happened as smoothly as possible. Peter and the Registration team also developed the ‘glue’ that enabled integration between Nexus and user registration.

Ian Senior has contributed to the customisation of the SharePoint service and developed documentation in collaboration with other members of the Information Services and Help Centre teams. Rob Eadie was our specialist trainer from the ITLP – Rob will continue to develop and run Nexus courses as a key focus of the ITLP section.

10.2. User Survey

During the project 33,622 mailboxes were migrated from Herald, and at the time of writing there are 43,585 mailboxes in total on Nexus.

Everybody was invited to comment on the migration experience from Herald and the usage of the new system. In total 4,432 people responded, and 1,509 submitted free text comments. These comments are still being analysed to ensure any remaining issues are addressed.

The first survey took place in November 2009 and feedback through this survey demonstrated that there needed to be an improvement to the web-based calendaring experience. The Project Board subsequently approved the purchase of the Messageware software suite, which was offered by Nexus from January 2010, improving functionality for sharing and displaying calendars.

The overall satisfaction showed that fewer than 10% of respondents were unsatisfied, with 66% recording they were satisfied or very satisfied with the new service.

10.3. Sharepoint

Towards the end of Michaelmas term we issued a call for Nexus Sharepoint early adopters. Over 30 distinct departments or colleges responded, requesting 115 SharePoint sites to support a mixture of committee work, research collaboration, University clubs or societies, and MySites for maintaining personal profiles. Early adopters will help determine the priorities for the future development and implementation of the service.

10.4. Enhancements

Part of the integration ‘glue’ mentioned above includes additional functionality available to users via https:// register.it.ox.ac.uk/self/nexus. Nexus users can change Spam email filter settings, preferred email address, email forwarding, and show email usage and quota. Additionally IT support staff can now request Project accounts which can be used to manage room and resource bookings.

10.5. Future Development

As with all OUCS services, there is a development plan for Nexus described in the OUCS five-year plan. In particular, we are in the process of defining projects to upgrade to both Exchange 2010 and to SharePoint 2010 during the 2010/11 academic year; and to develop better integration between Nexus and WebLearn, especially in connection with calendar data and publishing cycles that encompass both services.

In the meantime, it is planned to add further facilities to the ITSS registration interface to allow for requests for increased quota and delegation of some other routine functions which are best addressed locally.

A number of individual unit-run mail servers have been phased out following successful migration of users to Nexus, and over the next year users from Medical Sciences and UAS will be migrating from local groupware services to Nexus, thus allowing a true cross-university service.

Up: Contents Previous: 9. Weblearn Next: 11. NSMS Prices Held!