Executive Summary

The Collaboration Portfolio Advisory Group (CPAG) was charged in January 2021 by the Office of the CIO as an advisory body to support the planning for what is beyond Microsoft Skype for Business and related collaboration technologies.

Over the course of the past year, CPAG worked to 1) define collaboration in the context of our campus; 2) assess the current state and community sentiment of collaboration technology through conversations and surveys; 3) identify current strengths and gaps in this portfolio; and 4) develop recommendations for the future of the collaboration technology portfolio supported by campus.

The overall satisfaction with the current collaboration technology portfolio is positive. The migration away from Skype for Business has already begun, as several units have moved to other forms of collaborative communication. With few exceptions, our campus has the tools it needs to collaborate successfully, even in an increasingly hybrid work environment. In fact, some of our challenges exist because we have too many tools and platforms from which to choose, which fragments our ability to develop the skills to leverage a more focused set of tools. The portfolio lacks stakeholder governance to assess its evolution. Individual tools, while available, aren’t supported with in-depth training within the context of our various faculty, staff, and student roles. External collaboration presents unique challenges due to an even wider set of tools used by other partners.

With this context as background, our recommendations include:

  • Adopt Microsoft Teams as the primary communication and collaboration platform for UIUC.
  • Maintain Zoom Pro licensing for all faculty, students, and staff in the short term.
  • Maintain Box.com licensing.
  • Create an IT Council-sponsored working group to identify a project management tool.
  • Create an IT Council-sponsored working group to identify a virtual whiteboarding tool.
  • Assign responsibility to a campus governance group to assess and manage the evolution of the collaboration technology portfolio.
  • Provide resources to support central and unit-level IT teams to deliver consultative training on effectively using technology to enhance collaboration.
  • Finalize FERPA Certification of Microsoft Office 365, One Drive, Exchange Online, and Teams.

Our full process, analysis, and recommendations are available in our full report below.

CPAG Final Report