As an adjunct professor at The Master's College, I teach MGT-430 Technology for Business Decision making for each organizational management cohort. (I'm also and Alum of TMC and the OM program).

I recently received this email from the computer department informing me that the college is moving all Alumni to Outlook Live and they are offering students an impressive array of features. Take a look at this email sent to all students & alumni:
Dear Alumni,
Computer Services has begun upgrading TMC's six year old student email system to a new email service hosted by Microsoft called Outlook Live. Testing of the new system is under way and the migration of students and alumni to Outlook Live is anticipated during Spring of 2010.

Here are some of the features provided by Outlook Live:

  • 10GB mailbox size (50x more space than the current 200MB limitation)
  • 20MB attachment size (up from the current 10MB limitation)
  • Access email via Outlook Web Access, Outlook 2007, Entourage 2008 (older versions of Exchange and Entourage are not supported)
  • Active-Sync support for Windows smartphones and iPhones
  • Pull email from existing Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and other supported email services directly into your Outlook Live account via POP or SPOP
  • Enhanced anti-malware and anti-virus protection
  • 25GB of secure online file storage through Windows Live Sky Drive
Impressive - notice the large 10GB mailbox, multiple POP/SPOP, and Active-Sync support, too. Students will LOVE that.

Now, consider the expectations that young people entering the workforce will have for the tools that they will use at work.

Do you know any employers that allow 10GB Mail, access from a variety of mail clients, including mobile devices, and integration with external mail providers?

It's not really a fair comparison - personal use is not subject to the same Governance/Risk/Compliance issues that might cause an organization to disable most of the features I have listed above.

However, this is about expectations - not reality.

Young people entering the workforce are in for a surprise when their employer says that they can have just a few hundred megabytes (or less) of emails that are automatically purged or archived on a regular basis.

And the 10GB limit for email? I personally think that's nuts, but that's me. My good friend Marc Orchant used to say that search was the new UI and the we no longer needed folders. I disagree. I try to keep my mail file as small as possible. My inbox is a place for processing communications and filing past communications I need to keep. It's not a place to park things that I have not or will not decide what to do with like some giant rented storage room. But that's another conversation for another day.

What do YOU think?

P.S. If you are a Notes user, try not to get distracted by the fact that this is a Microsoft offering - that's not the point of this post. I would make the same post if they had selected an IBM product. What I'm interested in is the expectations that people entering the workforce will have when they get there.

Personally, I would have preferred that they switched to a Lotus offering, but I already forward any college email I might receive directly into Lotus Notes, so no changes for me. And, with the new multi-signature feature of eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes, I'll be able to send email using any of my email identities for my return address. eProductivity will automatically insert the correct signature line, whether it is my work email, my faculty email or any of my other public email accounts. The good news is that I can manage all of this in one place.

Discussion/Comments (6):

Paul Hudson (): 04/10/2009 23:51:46
Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email

Universities are being heavily courted by Microsoft and Google to move to a hosted service. Universities (UK at least) do not have the money to give students and alumni a comparable level of service. Especially if you include the alumni and then you're talking about several hundred thousand users who rarely contribute to their old universities (unlike the US).

Although there is concern that in the future Google and Microsoft will start to charge and unsustainable amount. I believe that within three years all UK universities will have moved to a hosted offering.

It's an important point you are making about expectations. Part of the reason why universities are moving to a hosted service is because of student expectations. They already have Hotmail and Google accounts and are surprised that their student accounts are so pitiful. Once they graduate, they will transfer this pressure to small businesses and that's where Microsoft and Google will reap their rewards.

Notice I didn't mention IBM, they've missed the boat. Universities are choosing their products. A recent Higher Education survey reported that UK universities are investigating either Google or Microsoft's offerings - not a single university was looking at IBM's offering.

Pete (): 04/11/2009 13:44:56
Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email

Quite simply, those expectations must be managed.

The pups entering the workforce need to realize who writes the checks. While the work world can include social and collaborative tools, it's still work.

One could go on for hours about the limitations imposed (most for good reason) on corporate networks.


Keith Brooks ( 04/13/2009 17:20:46
Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email


I would basically argue that all of these benefits could and would be enjoyed, if the university was using Lotus Domino and upgrading its maintenance releases.

The attachment size is a bad omen. The only reasons it was smaller before was due to the limited mail file size and I would venture network bandwidth/Quality of service issues.

The 2nd reason DOES NOT go away because they are in the Cloud. And watch out, upping your bandwidth, routers, et al is cheap but not THAT cheap.

The costs associated are lower and that is all the Universities care about, especially for alumni.

I do not see even one reason why a person should even use their alumni for an email address nor why a university should offer one, at their expense.

Eric Mack ( 04/13/2009 17:34:06
re: Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email

Thanks, Keith. Good points. I don't use my alumni address either. I agree, Domino could do all of this - and more. This post, however, was focused on increasing expectations.

Keith Brooks ( 04/14/2009 6:53:23
Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email

Expectations, beyond email, are hard.

Especially if you never invest the time to define the value you are trying to provide your customer/clients.

Reduce time, resources, save money, faster transaction, better synch, mobility access worldwide.

Is this more what you are seeking?

As a practical matter which is for the show me people, how does one expect an app to function or look or work?

Just a simple question which is why many times we do mock ups or demos or something to show what the app might look be.

Eric Mack ( 04/14/2009 9:00:13
re: Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email

Keith, I don't think it needs to be that complex. Young people in college are "given" more capability than many of us have at work. Then then come to rely on those capabilities for for (or five) years in college and then they enter the workforce, bringing those expectations with them. Happy to discuss by phone/Skype. We're probably overdue for an introductory call anyway. - Eric

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