All Summer I’ll be visiting, consulting and training with students and professionals at colleges and universities. Along the way we’ll even host a few user groups for students on campus.
My first stop on the tour was in Jacksonville, Florida. I spent the week with a great group of IT professionals who are charged with migrating the student and staff portals to SharePoint over the next several months.
The following are some highlights and observations from the week.
The current Active Directory implementation is a cause for concern. Today there are 250,000 users in AD however there are only about 70,000 active student accounts and 6,000 active staff accounts. The college is in the process of consolidating accounts. Since there is an interest in allowing students to have there own My Sites we discussed options for scaling out a My Site host to accommodate 100,000+ users. This will facilitate sites for staff and students and allow for growth.
I received many questions about browser compatibility and Office 8 (for the MAC) as there are many, many MAC’s on campus being used by student and staff.
Governance will be critical and the process of creating a governance plan should start now in the beginning phases of the project.
The College is using Orion for an ERP solution. Orion hosts Student and staff information, course schedules, payroll, etc. The staff is using BizTalk 2009 to facilitate workflows and business process in Orion. Much of the workflow and business process management will remain in BizTalk so there will be an effort to integrate BizTalk with SharePoint. We explored scenarios were the Business Data Catalog could be used to connect to the Orion web service tier.
The student and faculty portal will be highly customized and will require several sophisticated master pages with custom web parts. The user population has a very high standard for software usability and expect the sites to be visually appealing.
There are many challenges in a deployment like this. The staff have years of experience and are up for the task. It will be exciting to assist in the efforts and see the finish product.
There may be lots of work and high expectations but hey, its summertime on campus and you can wear shorts to work!
My second stop on the tour will be a university in Miami the first week of June. Stay tuned!
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