Update on Microsoft Outlook Deployments

The IT Department has been busy deploying Microsoft Outlook to departments and converting staff from Lotus Notes to Outlook.  To date, more than 300 people have been converted to Outlook.  Instant Messaging is provided through Skype for Business, formerly known as Lync.  We have been converting groups of departments. So far, the following departments have been converted:  Planning & Performance Improvement, MSU Extension, Water Resources Commission, Equalization, Administration, Human Resources, Corporate Counsel, Fiscal Services, Parks & Recreation, County Treasurer, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Facilities, Emergency Services, Public Health and portions of the Sheriff’s Department. In the next month, we will be adding more Sheriff’s employees, Commissioners and Community Mental Health.

The conversions have gone very well. Employees are liking the new email program, and are adapting well, and learning the system. Prior to conversion, departments are provided with quick reference guides for all staff, and there are training resources for Outlook available on the Employee Portal as well. Here’s a link to the training resources if you are interested:  http://employee.miottawa.org/reference-center/how-to-guides-manuals/. The conversions are done overnight and when staff come in the next morning, IT Support staff are waiting to assist them in getting into Outlook for the first time and to answer any initial questions. We are also offering an Outlook Tips & Tricks class to learn more advanced functions after a department is migrated.

The majority of the departments who will remain to be converted after our planned October migrations, have staff whose calendars are integrated with judicial scheduling through the MICA application. IT is working on figuring out a solution to integrating MICA with Outlook so that calendars for judges, referees, and other court staff can continue to be managed in MICA. When a solution is determine, we will be able to proceed with these conversions.

Even with the migrations to Outlook, Lotus Notes isn’t going away in the near future. There are some applications, such as Scheduling, Expense Vouchers, Phone Directory, Employee Training and some departmental applications within Lotus Notes, that will require employees to continue to access Lotus Notes until these are moved to another application platform.

There are also some e-mail services that take additional time to migrate to Outlook because there is a significant amount of manual, detailed work needed. This includes resource reservations (e.g. Conference Room, Car, etc.). Another service is Departmental Mailboxes.  These mailboxes have to be recreated in Outlook manually. Because of the effort needed to create these, Department mailboxes will need to be accessed through Lotus Notes for a period of time after their migration. The creation of the Departmental Mailboxes is dependent on the number and how many individuals use them.

As we plan additional migrations, departmental leadership will be contacted to brief them on the process, and plan for their department’s migration.  IT Support Staff will be there every step of the way to ensure that each department’s individual needs are met and the transition is a smooth one.

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