Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Zimbra

One of the products currently being evaluated in the department is the Zimbra Collaboration Suite - a new open source based collaborative solution delivered over the web. It offers integrated email, calendar, documents and voice over IP.

It has many features, including:
  • Multiple address books which can be shared
  • Multiple calendars - a user may access various calendars and overlay each as required onto a single calendar display (e.g. private, departmental, teaching), or any other calendar available
  • Advanced searching capabilities
  • ‘Date relations’ (i.e. hover over the phrase "tomorrow at 6:00 PM" in an email message and the system will display any appointments you have at that time)
  • Powerful administration e.g. an administrator can turn on/off individual features, while ‘skins’ can be used to offer those features appropriate to particular user communities
  • “Over air” push synchronisation of mail, contacts, and calendar items to mobile devices
  • Online document viewing without needing to use the document application e.g. Word, Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook, Apple, and Linux desktop compatibility
Being open source, it's not expensive, but significant effort will be needed to roll it out across the University, if that's what we decide to do. The product has been evaluated by a small number of people in CiCS, and a larger pilot within the department will be starting after Christmas, to iron out any technical issues. If that's successful, then we will be looking for some volunteer departments across the campus to carry out a larger pilot. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

From a distance said...

Hi, this sounds like an interesting tool.

On a professional level I'd be interested to know whether there was a business case from the user community for the concept - and away from the prosaic, how you're evaluating it (workshops, key users, stakeholders, function point analysis, process mapping flows etc as well as looking at network/infrastructure overhead?)

On another level I found your blog via the ukoln.ac.uk Blogs and Social Networks slides (I'm currently working at an ac.uk organisation, performing requirements gathering for Web2.0 tools/utilities).

Cheers.