Well, we've got some good news.
University leadership has given OIT approval to enable Drive for students, faculty and staff over the summer. We'll do just that June 25. And there's more: In addition to Drive, we plan to enable the following G Suite apps for the university community as well: Google Hangouts, Google Sites, Google Classroom and Google Keep.
As we did with the transition to Gmail and Google Calendar, we'll focus first on making Drive available and useful for academic use. That said, we know staff may also find Drive and other G Suite apps useful for their own individual productivity — and we welcome that, too.
What Took So Long
Over the last two semesters, we've been doing quite a lot to prepare for the rest of the G Suite.
During the Fall 2017 semester, OIT — along with a number of other university departments — evaluated Drive to ensure it met security and privacy requirements and did not introduce any new risks into our technology ecosystem.
As for the Spring 2018 semester, we examined university business processes and the ways Drive — and all of the G Suite apps — could be used to support them.
What This Means Going Forward
Some of you may be wondering about our other cloud storage tool, Box. What's happening to it? Box isn't going anywhere — immediately.
We continually evaluate how any campus technology meets our community's needs — particularly when tools perform similar functions, like Box and Drive. While we have no plans to discontinue the use of Box right away, the implementation of Drive means we will be assessing Box's role at St. Edward's over the next calendar year.
But this isn't just about Box. G Suite offers a number of services that overlap with technology already in place here. Sometimes that overlap is fine; in other cases, we may be able to make our work together work better by consolidating tools.
In short, Google may not always be the answer, but it will be the question. Because of the breadth of G Suite, as well as how easy it is to use and its cost-effectiveness, our approach going forward will be "Google first" when evaluating technology gaps or needs.
What Comes Next
Box vs. Drive
As far as Box is concerned, we'll work one-on-one with staff areas — particularly those with complex workflows or established processes — to make the decision about which tools serve the need best. In a future project, we'll meet with offices to assess how they're using Box (or other collaboration tools) for their administrative work, how Drive might be able to support those needs and what other gaps might exist.