Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

ITS updates Office 365 service

Queen’s Information Technology Services (ITS) continues to explore new features and functionality as part of its ongoing support for Office 365.

“With the move to Office 365, we’ve entered a new era of service delivery. Our team is constantly having discussions with units to enable continuous service changes and enhancements,” says Bo Wandschneider, Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology Services) and Chief Information Officer.

Now that Queen’s has transitioned to Office 365, the cloud-based collaborative suite, ITS is:

  • Investigating the introduction of SharePoint Online team sites. This tool has the potential to help units and departments enhance collaboration and organize shared content.
  • Examining the potential benefits of Office 365 Video, a new product introduced by Microsoft earlier this year. ITS is determining how it could be used at Queen’s and the implications for existing streaming services.
  • Introducing Clutter, a new tool to help users organize their email inboxes. The tool learns which messages users typically regard as lower priority and moves them automatically to a new Clutter folder.

Cloud coming to Canada

ITS will take advantage of Microsoft’s recent decision to deliver cloud services from data centres in Canada. The university’s cloud-based collaborative suite of services will shift to one of two Microsoft data centres located in Ontario and Quebec.

“We welcome this decision by Microsoft, which addresses the concerns a few members of the Queen’s community expressed about data residing on servers outside of Canada,” Mr. Wandschneider says.

The change is expected to occur in 2016, and the impact on Queen’s users will be minimal. ITS will provide advance notice to the Queen’s community if temporary outages are required to facilitate the changeover.

More benefits for staff and faculty

ITS recently negotiated a new licence to allow university employees to install Office 365 ProPlus for free on up to five personal computers, plus additional installs on mobile devices.

ITS has also created tutorials for Skype for Business, which replaces Microsoft Lync. Queen’s users will be able to expand their collaboration network to communicate both inside and outside the institution using the instant messaging and collaboration platform. Staff and faculty will not lose any features or functionality. The tool could also further support teaching and learning activities at Queen’s, according to Mr. Wandschneider.