Dear NC State Colleagues,
Yesterday was a RED letter day for NC State. This great university migrated to Google Mail and now, for the first time in our history, we are all using the same e-mail service. Yesterday, an outstanding team of IT specialists, led by Vice Chancellor Marc Hoit and representing the Office of Information Technology and the many units across NC State, came together to hold hands and mouses in an effort to walk people through the final conversation. Over two hundred people fanned out across NC State’s campus yesterday wearing “Google Day” T-shirts to assist the NC State community through the transition. While the implementation occurred yesterday, it took months of planning and behind-the-scenes work to complete the transfer of e-mail from the old system to Google. I am very grateful to Vice Chancellor Hoit and the many people involved for their dedication and hard work. While I know change is hard, I could not imagine this having gone more smoothly given the magnitude of the project and the importance of e-mail and calendar to so many within the NC State community. I hope that you will all take time to thank your favorite IT specialist as we all learn the ropes of Google Mail.
– Randy Woodson
Wednesday was Google Day, the day NC State faculty and staff officially switched their email from GroupWise/WolfWise to Google Apps. Employees across campus now share a unified email and calendar system (plus a bunch of other cool programs).
You’ll can actually schedule a meeting with a group of people without having to poll people separately about their availability. In Google Calendar, you just create an event, add guests and resources, and then click a button to find a time that works for everyone on the list. You can tag your guests as required or optional, and even give them the right to invite others to the meeting.
In addition to the unified calendar, all employees now have access to Web-based applications that encourage collaboration, whether editing text, working on a spreadsheet or developing a presentation. Google Apps also includes a chat system and website builder.
“It’s a major change in terms of the interface,” says Stan North Martin, director of outreach, communications and consulting in the Office of Information Technology. “Being Web-based, the apps can be accessed from just about anywhere.”
Martin says faculty and staff should expect to spend some time adjusting to the new system. You’ll have to create a new signature in Gmail (Google’s mail program) and set up your Google Calendar to share it with coworkers. If you use an alias, like email@example.com, you’ll need to add that as well.
“We completely understand that this is a huge adjustment for faculty and staff,” Martin says. “We know there are going to be some bumps.”
But, he notes, the migration team is training more than 200 staff members to help employees during the migration. Today and tomorrow, you can stop by one of the multiple drop-in centers that will be located around campus if you have questions or need hands-on assistance setting up your mobile device.