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Office 365 project

Project description

Information Technology is undertaking an initiative to improve the central email Exchange service for employees. The project aims to:

  • Increase user satisfaction
  • Improve reliability and availability
  • Strengthen the security of the email infrastructure
  • Lay the foundation to offer upgraded collaboration tools.

The scope is limited to Email, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts, and DOES NOT include applications like OneDrive, Skype, StaffHub, Classroom, etc.

Known issues

Users who manage the email or calendars of others

Delegates who manage for others their email or calendars may experience issues such as synchronization difficulties following the migration. To reduce the number of issues, we recommend that anyone who is a delegate upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016. Contact the Service Desk to schedule a time. You should aim to get this done before March 30, 2018.

Window users with Microsoft Office 2007 or older

Microsoft indicates that you need to upgrade to Office 2016 to avoid loss of functionality. Contact the Service Desk to schedule a time. You should aim to get this done before March 30, 2018.

Check your version

Mac users

We recommend you upgrade to Office 2016 as Office 365 only offers basic functionality for these older versions.  In addition, Microsoft has ended mainstream support for Office for Mac 2011 and any previous versions. Other software you have on your machine may need these older Office versions so please discuss these with your IT representative or the Service Desk first. Contact the Service Desk to schedule a time. You should aim to get this done before March 30, 2018.

Check your version


Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud is a good choice because:

  • Community familiarity with Microsoft products (Outlook)
  • uOttawa is already licensed for Office 365
  • Low-impact migration
  • Reduces training for the community
  • Increased availability of email services
  • Increased security
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • More storage for users
  • Existing integrations with systems on campus
  • Many other universities in Canada are also using Office 365 cloud-based email services


Most importantly, this project can position the University of Ottawa to have a plethora of collaboration tools associated with Office 365, in the not-too-distant future. By proceeding with this technology innovation strategy, future initiatives of this kind may bring other services and benefits to the University community. Information Technology supports efficiency and effectiveness of its services, and is continually assessing delivery strategies to provide the University opportunities to be more effective in its mandate.

What will change?

We will be replacing our current Exchange email service with Microsoft Office 365. Most users will see little change in their everyday email interface. A good portion of the activities will be focused on replacing the technical infrastructure and not the software you use.

The big change will be that the central Exchange email service will be hosted in the cloud. Note that all emails will be stored on servers in Canada. We will benefit from Microsoft’s huge email infrastructure, which is backed by a large team of experts. They have dedicated round-the-clock specialists to maintain the services. And good news about storage capacity:  mailbox quotas will be increased to 100 GB, more than ten times today’s default!

What will not change?
  • Your email address will not change
  • Departmental accounts will continue to be available
  • Delegate rights and access still be available
  • Account management will be performed by uOttawa’s Information Technology
  • The interface will be the same for most users
  • Support for the tools will be provided by uOttawa’s Service Desk
Why now?

There are several converging trends that makes the time ripe to undertake this change.

  1. Hosting services in the cloud has gone mainstream. This means that various software, including email, have their servers and software outside organizations, and you access them through the Internet.
  2. Cloud computing alters the financial model that technology providers adopt by taking on the evergreening of servers, updates of software, security, reliability, availability and management of the service thus reducing financial investment.
  3. Economic realities are driving organizations to search for alternate delivery mechanisms whenever feasible including looking at off-premise solutions.
  4. Core services, such as email, are offered very successfully and with high quality externally. Many companies offer email services. There is no appreciable benefit for the University to continue to manage this service when it can be done more economically and effectively elsewhere.
  5. Digital transformations call for a greater organization openness, pushing IT professionals to think differently, integrate suppliers when appropriate, and better leveraging the skills of our staff toward true differentiators for the University.
Who will be affected?

All existing users of the central Exchange email service including:

  • Faculty members and support staff currently on Information Technology’s Exchange servers
  • Encompasses, as well as Telfer, email accounts who have their own email format but use the central Exchange servers
  • All Saint Paul University employees
  • Students who work at the University
  • Sponsored users on the Exchange servers
  • Retired personnel
  • Other accounts for various associations, affiliations, and some external users
Delivery Strategy
  • Software and data in the cloud
  • Small pilot with a subset of users to validate approach and configurations
  • Progressive rollout for the migration of accounts during a 8-10 month period
Information about security

Security is top of mind for any solution we provide. Going with Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud is safe. In fact, the security will be even better than what we have today. Their security model has been reviewed by experts including our Security Architect and our technical specialists.

uOttawa data stored on Microsoft servers is solely to be used for online services. Our contract with them does not allow them to use any of our data or derive information from it for advertising or commercial purposes. More information regarding this and other terms is available in the contract.

Security, privacy and compliance documentation that Microsoft is bound to observe is available for you to consult.

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