The University of Texas at Austin

Project: Group E-Mail Upgrade Project

Group E-Mail Upgrade Project

The Group Email application enables people on campus 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.

The architecture of the old, in-house developed system was relatively complicated and required work by ITS Applications, ITS Systems, and developers from across the university to maintain. It is also had inherent limitations that prevented fulfilling common client enhancement requests.

In addition, the University of Texas at Austin Staff Council 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.

A new system has been developed in partnership with Regroup to addresses a long-standing campus need for a new, more functional and feature rich solution; "Custom-Urgent" Group E-mail was previously deployed in spring 2013.

Project Workstreams

The Group Email Upgrade project had three primary goals:

  • Modify the underlying architecture of the existing Group E-Mail application to remove its reliance on the University Mailbox Service (UMBS). Status: Complete
  • Create a custom solution for the sending of bulk Urgent Emails. Status: Complete
  • Replace the existing Group E-Mail system with a system that better meets the needs of the community. Status: Complete

Scope

Goals of this project include the following:

  1. Provide an updated solution for sending bulk email and retire the obsolete Group Email code and hardware.
  2. Remove dependency on UMBS infrastructure.
  3. Identify and clarify the distinction between Informational and Promotional (Marketing) messages.
  4. Determine the solution for Promotional (Marketing) messages and Urgent Notifications
  5. Re-examine business rules surrounding authorization to send emails relative to the different categories of bulk email use.
  6. Provide a user interface for authorizing users and moderating messages.
  7. Develop support processes for maintenance of the system.
  8. Ensure that solution meets all security requirements and entails no loss of current functionality.

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