There are big changes ahead for those with an SFU email account.

The university has decided to leave behind SFU Connect, powered by the Zimbra Collaboration Suite, and adopt Microsoft Exchange as its new email platform.

According to the university website, the decision was made after the SFU Connect email system updates failed to meet standards.

“The latest version of the product was delayed numerous times which still resulted in poorer product quality than previous releases,” reads the website. “The potential risks associated with [this] product instability strongly support the case for exploring other solutions.”

The project is currently in the testing phase, but will move on to a staged migration next year. SFU Connect will be abandoned when the transition is expected to be completed in early 2019.

SFU Connect has been the main email and web-based calendar used by SFU staff, students, and alumni since 2009. However, after an investigation concluded in March 2017, the university decided that Microsoft Exchange will replace SFU Connect as the institution’s next communication software.

In 2016, input was gathered from SFU community members via email, interviews, focus groups, meetings and surveys, according to the university website.

The website added, “The [investigation] team also spoke with other universities who had recently undertaken similar transitions to gain insight on their current experience and lessons learned.”

The university states that the Microsoft Exchange program will better suit the emailing needs at SFU and many members of the community are already familiar with the program. In addition, “[B]oth Microsoft’s Outlook client and Exchange server are generally regarded as the industry standard solutions,” said the explanation on the university website.

It is expected that all members of the SFU community, both active and retired, will be affected by this change. However, users will still be able to access SFU Connect during the transition and for a limited period of time after the switch has been completed, according to the university website.

Since 1983, SFU has been hosting email for its faculty, staff, and students.

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