Friday, January 02, 2009

Migrating to Exchange: One Summary from the Trenches

In December 2008 we migrated the school of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois.

Craig there sent us a very gracious thank you note (a rare but welcome occurrence in our line of work) that was also a good summary of what to expect in migrating into Exchange from either Meeting Maker or Oracle Calendar.

He has prepared this version for us to publish here:

With the services of Sumatra Development LLC, Illinois Veterinary Medicine has
successfully migrated 150 accounts from a local Meeting Maker server to a shared
campus-wide Exchange resource.

Interwoven scheduling among administrators and researchers elevates the data to a critical level of importance for the organization. Migrating data from one proprietary package to another, neither of which is governed by a standards protocol, is unbelievably tricky. Yet we were able to accomplish this migration in a transparent manner that our end users expected. They just wanted it to work and it just worked for us.

Looking back, I'd say the hardest parts were organizing our calendaring accounts and training our user base on Outlook. Not coincidentally, these parts took the longest. I started this project a little apprehensive about working with two organizations (outside vendors from my perspective) with me in the middle.

Sumatra was converting our data and a central campus IT unit was inserting the
data into the Exchange service. I am pleased to say it worked wonderfully. The
Sumatra instructions and data sets were easily managed by the campus Exchange
service managers. A little extra communication on the side and things worked
seamlessly. When we needed people to be there for us, they were there. My
compliments go Sumatra for their care and dedication at what they do.

For our part, the role of tirelessly training, establishing resource sharing and
answering the countless questions users come up with when they skip the training
sessions was something we were prepared to handle. The arrangement let us handle
the part we do best and let the calendaring and Exchange experts do their thing.

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