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IT Project: Collaboration Services Move to the Cloud

Project Status

December 23, 2020: The project is completed.

Project Timeline

Migration Schedule

Project Charter


Office 365 is a set of services that run in Microsoft’s cloud. Several of the offerings are versions of well-known on-premises products such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint that have been re-engineered to run at massive scale and support hundreds of millions of users. Microsoft has built the newer parts of the Office 365 suite, like PowerBI, OneDrive, Planner, or Teams, to leverage the software and data available within Office 365.

To ensure continuity of services that support the collaborative nature of the University community, Northwestern IT is planning to migrate and expand on-premise services and introduce new Cloud services in a phased approach that will include:

The project begins fall quarter 2017 and will continue over a 18-month period or until all schools and departments have migrated.

Current Office 365 Use at Northwestern

Students were provided Office 365 access in 2014 which gave them Office downloads, Office for home use and OneDrive. Beginning early 2015, faculty and staff were provided Office through Office 365 for home use only.

Some faculty and staff may already be using the “free” version of Microsoft Office through Office 365 on their own. In addition, some University schools purchased separate Office 365 licenses for their faculty and staff.

Goals and Objectives

The Office 365 project is part of Northwestern IT's continued commitment to maintain consistent and efficient delivery of services for the University community in a way that meets their needs efficiently and enables them to be productive while getting maximum impact from this family of products.

It seeks to provide:

This project will be accomplished in three phases.

Phase I – SharePoint Service Migration

The migration to the Cloud service will impact approximately 300 SharePoint site owners. To ensure a smooth transition, site ownership will first be confirmed, followed by pilot testing of select sites, notification to site owners, and final site migration to the Cloud. In addition, MySites will be retired and content migrated to One Drive.

Phase II – Exchange Service Migration

Planning has begun to explore the migration of Exchange email accounts for faculty and staff to Office 365. This phase of the project will begin winter quarter 2018 and continue through 2019.

Phase III – Evaluation of Supplemental Office 365 Offerings

Once Phase II has ended, Northwestern IT will evaluate other service offerings available within Office 365 for implementation.

Project Timeline

Phase  Description Status Target Completion Date

SharePoint Site Migration Planning

Complete  October 17, 2017

SharePoint Site Migration Testing

Complete  October 26, 2017
I SharePoint Site Migration Evaluation Complete  November 30, 2017

MySites Migration to Office 365

Complete  March 5, 2018

SharePoint site migration (Pilot participants)

Complete  March 19, 2018

SharePoint Site Migration (Group 1)

Complete  March 19, 2018

SharePoint Site Migration (Group 2)

Complete  April 30, 2018

SharePoint Site Migration (Group 3)

Complete  May 14, 2018

SharePoint Site Migration (Group 4)

Complete  May 29, 2018

SharePoint Site Migration (Group 5)

Complete  June 18, 2018

Exchange Migration Planning

Complete December 18, 2018
II Exchange Migration Early Adopters and Evaluation Complete January 8 - March 15, 2019
II Exchange Migration Complete April 2019 - December 2020
III Office 365 Product Evaluation Complete December 2020

Last Updated: 15 February 2021

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