Dec. 3, 2007 — In coming weeks, the University of Virginia will switch over its centralized calendar services from Oracle Calendar (formerly known as CorporateTime) to Microsoft Exchange. The transition will occur from Dec. 4 through Jan. 15, after which time the Microsoft Exchange system will be the only centralized calendar service at the University — allowing users to schedule interactively with others, reserve rooms and resources, etc.
After Jan. 15, the Oracle Calendar (CorporateTime) system will no longer be available at U.Va. (This date is dictated by the end of a multi-year contract with Oracle.)
"Because Exchange is the market leader for calendaring, a number of divisions across Grounds have already adopted it — Darden, McIntire and the Health System, among others," said James Hilton, vice president and chief information officer. "By shifting ITC support from Oracle to Exchange, we are accelerating the consolidation that’s already taking place, enabling easier collaboration across Grounds. Also, Exchange's tight integration with e-mail, sophisticated Web interface, and support for mobile devices makes it more efficient than single-function products like CorporateTime and Webmail."
Microsoft Exchange also offers integrated task management (to-do lists), contact lists (address books) and synchronization with mobile calendar/e-mail devices (such as those from Blackberry).
Users can access all these tools, along with their calendar and e-mail, from within one software program — Microsoft Outlook (version 2003 or 2007), or Entourage for the Mac (version 2004 or the soon-to-be-released version 2008), both of which are part of Microsoft Office. They can also use the Outlook Web interface (mail.eservices.virginia.edu) to view their e-mail, calendar and files from any computer that has an Internet connection.
The Exchange calendar functions by sending and receiving e-mails to schedule appointments, so for maximum convenience, ITC urges calendar users to switch to Exchange e-mail at the same time as they transition to the new calendar. "Users will find that they can now send meeting requests as interactive messages with 'Accept' and 'Decline' buttons in them, streamlining the often time-consuming process of scheduling for everyone," said Hilton.
To facilitate the e-mail transition, ITC has provided a migration tool that enables users to request an automatic transfer of their existing e-mail and folders from the Central Mail Service to the Exchange system.
Since the migration tool is specifically for e-mail, it will not transfer existing Oracle Calendar entries. ITC recommends manually migrating future events scheduled in Oracle Calendar to the new Exchange calendar. If desired, users can also archive past Oracle Calendar entries by importing them into an Exchange calendar or spreadsheet for historical reference.
Because key elements such as room reservations and invitee information will be lost, ITC does not recommend importing future meetings from Oracle into Exchange.
On Dec. 4, all current Oracle Calendar users were to receive an e-mail explaining how to begin their email and calendar migrations, with a link to more information about their new Exchange account, in-depth online training videos and a schedule of University-wide demonstrations.
"All events to be held on or after Jan. 15, 2008, should be scheduled in Exchange," Hilton said. "But events and room reservations from now until Jan. 14 should still be organized in CorporateTime. This provides users five weeks during which to transition to the new account."
"Having just migrated ourselves, we at ITC recognize that moving to Exchange in a relatively short timeframe will require significant effort, and we pledge to work with you to minimize the effort that this will require," Hilton said.
Comprehensive details on all aspects of the switch to Exchange are available at www.itc.virginia.edu/exchange/move.