The Office of Information Technology (OIT) announced on Tuesday, Oct. 19 that My GaTech, the official campus email and calendar service, was being upgraded. Institute students and faculty were made aware of the upgrade via a campus wide email. The update added many new features to My GaTech including the ability to color code emails, execute filters on mail that has already been received and select thousands of messages at once. The upgrade has been in the planning stages since early Jan. of this year.
According to Pam Buffington, department manager II for Enterprise Applications and Services, significant emphasis was put upon the ease of transition for users due to the significant effect that problems with the software could create campus-wide. Cooperation between OIT and many other departments was paramount to a successful upgrade.
“Scheduling an upgrade this large is a challenge in itself with only a few windows that work for everyone. The hardest part was insuring a smooth upgrade with as little pain to the end user as possible,” Buffington said.
An influx in Help and Support requests was seen in the first seven to ten days after the upgrade, though some were to express favor for new features, according to Buffington. Some users did request assistance with some of the new features. Many of these newly implemented features within the upgrade were actually suggestions of Tech’s students and faculty. One of the major additions was tabs, which allow students to compose multiple emails.
“[OIT] did a survey in May which identified Briefcase, Documents, mail filters for existing mail and color coded emails as the top four requested features,” Buffington said.
According to the survey of 2609 respondents, seven out of the top ten feature requests were resolved in this upgrade. In addition, a majority of 83% respondents were “Satisfied, Somewhat Satisfied, or Very Satisfied” with My GaTech overall. However, many students have found the upgraded My GaTech even more favorable. According to Buffington, much of the response from the students has been extremely positive.
“Our new and improved email system is wonderful. I find it easy to navigate and use. My favorite part is that I can view several e-mails at once,” said Maziar Adloo, second-year BCHM major.
One main aspect of the upgrade that many users noticed immediately was the speed at which the My GaTech service now operates. An increase in operating swiftness is considered by Buffington and others to be the most significant and needed aspect of the upgrade.
“We continuously strive to provide the best possible services to Georgia Tech. This upgrade not only provided requested features, but an increase in performance as well. Users are seeing a significantly faster My GaTech,” Buffington said.
Many students agree that an increase in performance is one of the best and most noticable aspects of the upgrade.
“You can definitely tell that things have changed. I noticed right off the bat that it was running faster. I didn’t have to wait as long for emails to open, things to save. Things like that really did happen more quickly after the upgrade,” said Kate Nickerson, first-year IE major.
Students and faculty who wish to know more about the new features in the updated My GaTech and how to use them should consult the “What’s New in My GaTech?” link on the OIT FAQ website.