Project: Group Email Upgrade Project
Group Email Upgrade Project
The Group Email application allows users to send important, university-sanctioned messages to specific groups in the UT community. The system allows authorized users to contact prebuilt (e.g., All Students, Voting Faculty, etc.) or custom recipient lists and provides basic security features: message content must be reviewed before sending, and every message includes a PGP signature.
The Group Email application currently allows four types of messages to be sent:
Of these types of messages, there are 3 separate use cases:
- Notification messages
- Promotional (Marketing) messages
- Urgent notification messages
The architecture of the system is relatively complicated and requires work by ITS Applications, ITS System, and developers from across the university to maintain. It is also has inherent limitations that prevents fulfilling common client enhancement requests.
Further, the existing Group Email application relies on UMBS to send bulk-email. The UMBS system is scheduled for retirement in June, 2012.
The University of Texas at Austin Staff Council has published a report entitled "Communications and the Digital Divide" which details suggestions for modernizing and improving the provision of bulk email at UT Austin. The report includes recommendations to provide a separate process for handling Promotional emails as well as revisiting authorization rules surrounding the sending of Official messages.
The Group Email Upgrade project has three primary goals:
- Modify the underlying architecture of the existing Group Email application to remove its reliance on the University Mailbox Service (UMBS).
- Create a custom solution for the sending of bulk Urgent Emails.
- Replace the existing Group Email system with a system that better meets the needs of the community.
Goals of this project include the following:
- Provide an updated solution for sending bulk email and retire the obsolete Group Email code and hardware.
- Remove dependency on UMBS infrastructure.
- Identify and clarify the distinction between Informational and Promotional (Marketing) messages.
- Determine the solution for Promotional (Marketing) messages and Urgent Notifications
- Re-examine business rules surrounding authorization to send emails relative to the different categories of bulk email use.
- Provide a user interface for authorizing users and moderating messages.
- Develop support processes for maintenance of the system.
- Ensure that solution meets all security requirements and entails no loss of current functionality.