DIMENSION DATA SUCCESS STORY Victoria University Victoria University Dons Organised Messaging with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Industry Education Executive Summary Country For academics, whose stock in trade is information, Australia collaboration is critical, especially the ability to access Challenge information from anywhere and keep in touch with colleagues. Staff at Victoria University stored email unsecured on individual PCs. Melbourne-based Victoria University had an outdated email This vital information was not managed centrally and remote system, resulting in a disconnected remote workforce. It access was impossible, as was installed Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 and a range of access to calendar functions. related Microsoft software to ensure its staff could collaborate Solution across campuses or around the world. Microsoft Gold Certified Microsoft Solutions Partner Dimension Data helped install a reliable and powerful network infrastructure that has transformed isolated staff into highly collaborative teams. Thanks to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, staff can keep up to date with colleagues, schedules and events through email, calendar, contacts and task notifications. Staff can manage their daily priorities from any campus or computer outside the university network. Results Client Overview Increased use of calendar to book meetings and Victoria University is one of Australia’s largest universities. It has 12 resources campuses across Melbourne and nearly 50,000 students enrolled locally and overseas. Anywhere, anytime access to email Business Challenge Efficient time scheduling High-quality tertiary education is the foundation of Melbourne’s Victoria A cost-effective solution University. The university employs 3,000 full-time staff. Locally enrolled students number 46,000 and 3,900 students reside overseas. To honour the Scalable environment for university’s commitment to excellence in education, its staff need excellent IT future growth tools, and email is one of the most critical. “The business challenge that greatly concerned us at Victoria University was email,” says Sam Khoury, Project Manager/Technical Lead – Email Collaborative Suite, Victoria University. “We were running a dated system. It wasn’t giving us the features or functionality we needed. Email is mission critical. When email is down, a considerable amount of work and productivity comes to a grinding halt.” Victoria University needed to update its 10-year old systems to provided better functionality. Staff had to use separate systems for email and calendar. Email messages were stored on staff members' PCs with no DIMENSION DATA SUCCESS STORY Victoria University central management. In addition, staff used a variety of email client software to connect to the email system. “The main issues were a combination of security, functionality and reliability,” continues Khoury. “We did have a few outages. And when the system is down no one is very impressed.” The Microsoft® Office Outlook® Web Access feature Many academics travel overseas to participate in the in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 allows staff to university’s international programs with 15 major access email, calendar and contacts remotely from research institutions around the world. When outside any computer with an internet connection and Web Victoria University’s network, these staff had limited browser. Microsoft Exchange Server also allows staff email access and could not see their calendars or to access this information from handheld computers each other’s schedules, which made for unproductive and smart-phones without the need for third-party use of their time. “A lot of our senior executives are software or additional middleware. constantly travelling and they always need to be plugged in,” says Khoury. “We had to move on from Microsoft® Active Directory® technology serves as a the first evolution of email to a new stage in mobile secure, centralised repository for usernames, communications. There was a push to have email passwords and contact details. In addition, a Hitachi available on handheld computers or smartphones,” Data Systems storage area network was installed to says Mike Campbell, Practice Manager, Dimension provide cost-effective storage and reduce downtime. Data. “The previous system couldn’t handle this and “The implementation was an incredibly user-friendly made it difficult for staff to collaborate.” process,” says Khoury. “We worked closely with Dimension Data. The process has been fully “The Microsoft Exchange Server product suite has most definitely lived up to its promise. The solution was implemented on time and within budget, always a comforting outcome for a complex ICT project.” Phil County, Director, Information Technology Services at Victoria University “For any modern university, collaboration and mobility documented with disaster recovery plans and so far are part of the daily business cycle for all teaching and the system has never gone down unexpectedly." research staff,” says Phil County, Director, Information "The Microsoft Exchange Server product suite has Technology Services, Victoria University. “Staff were most definitely lived up to its promise,” says County. demanding a richer set of integrated services across “The solution was implemented on time and within multiple devices but with a common user interface. budget, always a comforting outcome for a complex They wanted the same experience whether they were ICT project.” using a large desktop or a mobile phone – anywhere in the world.” Value Derived Solution Provided Victoria University’s academic and administrative staff quickly realised the benefits of the new system and Starting in 2005, Victoria University evaluated a range most people adopted it after one month’s use. of options and conducted a series of pilot projects. It selected the Microsoft Exchange Server platform as Increased Efficiency and Savings - Thanks to the new being ideal for its needs and worked with Microsoft collaboration infrastructure, Victoria University staff Gold Certified Partner Dimension Data to design and can easily see whether colleagues are free or busy. build a new messaging architecture based on “People can immediately see who is doing what and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. confirm what they are doing with others,” says Khoury. “They can book an appointment or get a confirmation Dimension Data used the clustering capabilities built quickly and easily. Under the old system, about 400 into Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to ensure the people used their calendar. Now 3,000 people use it. availability of the messaging system. “Microsoft It’s not only used for scheduling meetings, people can Exchange Server is a market leader in enterprise use the system to book meeting rooms, video messaging and we were impressed with its projectors and even cars. Now there isn’t any double affordability and ease of use,” says Khoury. DIMENSION DATA SUCCESS STORY Victoria University booking as people can check online through Microsoft Office Outlook to see if a resource is free or busy. Old wall planners have become a thing of Solution at a glance the past for many staff.” Dimension Data used the clustering The new system has made staff members less reliant capabilities built into Microsoft Exchange on the IT department for basic tasks such as retrieving Server 2003 to ensure the availability of the accidentally deleted emails. “People can recover their messaging system mail themselves and access their own deleted items,” The Microsoft® Office Outlook® Web says Khoury. “Before they had to contact IT and then Access feature in Microsoft Exchange wait a couple of days for IT to retrieve the email from Server 2003 allows staff to access email, backup. Now they can just fix it themselves and calendar and contacts remotely from any quickly move on to other projects.” The solution based computer with an internet connection and on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 proved highly cost Web browser effective for Victoria University. “We had an existing central licensing agreement with Microsoft which Microsoft Exchange Server also allows staff meant we didn’t have to pay any more to upgrade,” to access this information from handheld says Khoury. computers and smart-phones without the need for third-party software or additional Remote Access - The remote access capabilities allow middleware staff to access all the features of Microsoft Office Outlook, such as email, calendar, contacts and task Microsoft® Active Directory® technology notifications, from anywhere outside the office. “We serves as a secure, centralised repository now have more than 50 users accessing their data for usernames, passwords and contact using mobile devices. Other solutions we looked at details provided the necessary functions but at a much higher A Hitachi Data Systems storage area cost. On an average day, 200 people connect using network was installed to provide cost- Webmail,” says Khoury. “With the stable and highly effective storage and reduce downtime. available environment we have built using Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, they are guaranteed constant access into the system. Staff, especially executives, who have handheld computers and smartphones can stay in constant touch thanks to the solution’s advanced email capabilities.” Staff find the Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and Office Outlook Web Access environments easy to use. “Staff are familiar with the interface and they like to use it,” says Khoury. “This makes training a lot easier.” A scalable and reliable environment - The ability of Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to work in a cluster of servers allowed Victoria University to build a robust and reliable messaging infrastructure. “We built a highly available version of Microsoft Exchange Server,” says Khoury. “The clustering builds in a lot of resilience. Even if one server failed completely, it would have no impact on our everyday operations.” Victoria University and Dimension Data are currently implementing a new network operating system based on Microsoft Active Directory. “We are moving towards leveraging a larger amount of Microsoft technology in the university by 2008,” concludes Khoury.
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