Problems with SUmail continue
A problem with SUmail’s redirection service is the latest in a series of issues with Microsoft Outlook, showcasing Microsoft’s poor communication with Syracuse University’s Information Technology and Services, said Chris Finkle, communications manager for ITS.
An e-mail from ITS on Feb. 26 said it had discovered that e-mails generated from Blackboard and listservs were not being redirected from SUmail to other e-mail accounts requested by users. ITS sent another e-mail saying the redirection problem had been solved on Friday.
Microsoft has not been proactive in alerting the university of problems with the e-mail system, and ITS has been communicating its discontent to Microsoft, Finkle said. There are no immediate plans to switch mail services, but ITS is evaluating its options, he said.
If ITS decides to switch to a different mail service, it would be the third e-mail system in less than a year.
SUmail also faced problems from Feb. 8 to Feb. 10 when Microsoft issues caused e-mail sent by or to SUmail accounts to be delayed. At the time, SU did not know why the problems occurred or when they would be fixed because Microsoft did not release detailed information about the issues, The Daily Orange reported Feb. 10.
The Feb. 26 e-mail from ITS stated the level of service from Microsoft was unacceptable and ITS was escalating the issue within Microsoft. Microsoft’s customer service has been poor in general, Finkle said.
‘They do not seem to hold their customer relationship in very high esteem,’ he said. ‘It would be unrealistic for us to expect this to be up all the time, but when there are problems we should be able to hear about them.’
Most of the time, ITS staff members discovers the problem themselves and must call Microsoft to report them, Finkle said. Even when they alert Microsoft to a problem, they have to keep calling to check if the problem has been fixed, he said.
Finkle said he thinks the e-mail system is growing faster than it can be managed. There are not a lot of people within the company dealing with customer relations, he said.
Since Microsoft completely controls the e-mail system, ITS cannot immediately help students when problems arise, Finkle said. Students sometimes expect ITS to fix the problems right away, he said, but they must go through Microsoft first.
Finkle heard other universities have problems with other e-mail systems, such as Google mail, he said.
ITS ran the university’s previous e-mail system, MyMail, allowing staff to fix problems as they arose. Even though SUmail has more storage space and special features such as instant messaging than MyMail, using it forces ITS to surrender its control on the students’ e-mail system, Finkle said.
No specific plans are in place to stop working with Microsoft, but ITS is examining its options, Finkle said. The university may continue using SUmail through Microsoft or may move away from the system entirely. Ultimately, Finkle said, ITS is looking for an e-mail system that best fits the needs of the students and the university as a whole.
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