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Success Story - NSW Parliament Uses Advansys for GroupWise Mail Export

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Advansys

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Posted: 14 Feb 2006
 

Overview

The New South Wales (NSW) Parliament located in Sydney, Australia is the Oldest Parliament in Australia and consists of the Legislative Council (Upper House) and the Legislative Assembly (Lower House). There are currently 93 elected Members in the Legislative Assembly and 42 elected Members in the Legislative Council. Many staff support the day to day running of NSW Parliament and dedicated staff support the elected Members, who are located throughout the State of NSW.

Along with many other forms of communication, the Parliament and its supporting staff use email to communicate both internally and externally. The NSW Parliament has been a GroupWise user for almost 10 years. Louise Hanna, Network Architect and Senior Administrator from the Information Technology Services (ITS) department, estimates that Parliament has 750 GroupWise users and handles between 100,000 and 200,000 emails per month. Like many email users, Parliament has the need to manage this large volume of emails in such a way that preserves the legality and confidentiality of the contents inside each email.

The Challenge

Exiting Parliament Members and staff want to take all email and attachments with them upon leaving office.

Elections pose an obstacle for the NSW Parliament, similar to issues faced by other companies concerning employee turnover. Elections are held every four years, and apart from occasional turnover of Members and staff throughout each year, elections often result in a significant change in Members and respective support staff. After an election, a significant number of Members and their staff may change, which is equivalent to 10-20% company turnover.

There are many procedures to follow post-election when Members and staff leave. One important process is to assist the exiting Members and staff in gathering information that has been created and collected over their years of service at NSW Parliament. Part of this information gathering process is compiling all email and attachments into one medium so that members of staff can carry it with them when they leave. In the past, this has been a big challenge for the ITS department at NSW Parliament.

The legal importance of email has influenced many Parliament Members and staff to carefully store their email. Members can have mailboxes with more than 80,000 items, with the average mailbox having between 5,000 and 10,000. Significant time and effort was required to allow Members and staff to depart with over 10,000 emails and attachments.

Parliament needed a solution which allows quick and easy assembly of emails and attachments into a portable medium. Another requirement was to provide departed Members and staff the ability to access and manage their email.

Solution Options

ITS had three options that they used periodically to help departing Members and staff compile their email and attachments. The first option was to print all emails and attachments. The second option was to save each email and attachment as a Word document. The third option was to forward each email and attachment to a private email address.

Although any of these three options was a viable solution, in addition to many other resources such as paper and disk space, each required hours and sometimes days of employee time. ITS found that the time required to assist departing Members and staff drastically subtracted from their ability to handle their other responsibilities.

Another problem with these options was that they did not provide a way for departing Members and staff to access and manage the emails and attachments. Printing thousands of emails and attachments was not only cumbersome, it was almost impossible to sort through them when the owner needed to find a specific email or attachment.

While researching, Louise Hanna was introduced to Archive To Go from Advansys. A new product, Archive To Go offered Parliament a solution that would be both efficient and beneficial in terms of compiling emails and attachments. Archive To Go enabled Members and staff to depart with their email and attachments and access them easily.

Archive To Go Solution

Advansys Archive To Go software provided an effective solution for NSW Parliament to transfer email information. The software solution offers the ability to export GroupWise mailboxes, including personal address book contacts, in a portable snapshot format to a CD or DVD that can be accessible after the Member or staff has left Parliament. Archive To Go can also be used for a range of related needs, such as inactive accounts or additional backup.

The most important feature of Archive to Go is that a portable mailbox can be accessed from any computer without a GroupWise Client. For ease of use, the interface has a similar look and feel to the full GroupWise Client and requires virtually no training.

Creator

The first component of Archive To Go is the Creator. The Creator is used specifically by the administrator to compile and download a user's mailbox. Archive To Go's simple Wizard process makes it easy to save all messages, including attachments, into a ready-to-go format, complete with viewer. A secure enterprise mode enables Administrators to export any user's mailbox without detection. The enterprise mode follows the GroupWise Trusted Application rules found in GroupWise 6.5. Administrators or authorized users also have the option to use the Local Access mode, which requires the mailbox user's password and is used when the GroupWise Message Property information is required.

Exported messages are faithful representations of the GroupWise original, including:

  • All file and embedded message attachments
  • Additional GroupWise metadata - message properties, folder, categories, custom fields, ID, save log
  • Plain text and HTML representations

Archive To Go also offers export options for inclusion of native GroupWise Archives and Shared Folders. With the Wizard driven Archive To Go Creator, ITS can quickly export a departing Member's and staff's email. Rather than dedicate hours or days, ITS is able to export email, attachments, contacts and calendar information in minutes. The information is burned to a DVD and given to the Member or staff as part of the exit process. There is no need to be burdened with thousands of printed emails or to keep track of forwarded email. It is all conveniently contained on CD/DVD.

Viewer

The second component of Archive To Go is the Viewer. The Advansys Archive To Go Viewer is used to view, print and search the portable archive without the need of the GroupWise client. During the archive creation process, the Viewer software is automatically copied to a special folder within each archive. Once the archive is opened, the viewer offers easy and familiar access to exported GroupWise mail, calendar items, documents and contacts. The GroupWise style viewer preserves account folder hierarchy, includes message preview, high-speed search and print capabilities. Once a user opens the archive, they will forget that they are not in GroupWise.

The Viewer feature solved another of Parliament's obstacles. With the viewer, the departing Member can quickly and easily navigate through emails and attachments without having to learn a new client. Since the client operates similar to GroupWise, the user is already familiar with it capabilities and virtually no training is required for the owner of the mailbox. While a Member's mailbox view cannot be included in this article, an example screen shot of the easy-to-use Viewer is shown below.

Figure 1 - Archive To Go Viewer

Finder

The third component of Archive To Go is the Finder, which provides full text search technology, delivering lightning-fast information retrieval of the exported email, attachments, contacts, and calendaring data. The Archive To Go Finder can search across the full archive, inclusive of the primary mailbox and any native GroupWise archives included in the original export.

Figure 2 - Archive To Go Viewer

Once the Archive To Go Finder dialog is displayed, searching the archive is easy. By simply typing a word or phrase in the Find field and pressing Enter, the user has quick access to a list of results (hits). The results are displayed in relevance order, and a text representation of the selected item is displayed in the right-hand preview window, including keywords shown in bold text.

The Archive To Go Finder adds to ease of navigation for the departing Members of NSW Parliament, who can now search through their entire mailbox history and find specific emails, calendar items, attachments or contacts. Without the need for GroupWise, Archive To Go Viewer and Finder offer users ease of use and peace of mind that they can find and access the exported emails.

Deployment and Current Attitudes

Archive To Go was installed by Parliament and in use within an hour. The software was so intuitive that ITS did not require any assistance from Advansys.

Archive To Go has been in continual use from the day it was purchased and has changed the way ITS work. ITS has saved time, enabling them to attend to other duties. The response from ITS, Members and their staff has been overwhelmingly positive. ITS values the easy-to-use Creator module while exiting Members and their staff appreciate leaving Parliament with their email on CD/DVD, which includes the viewing and searching capabilities. Significantly, ITS found that Members and staff enjoy these new benefits without having to refer to their user documentation.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, Advansys Archive To Go has successfully solved an ongoing issue at NSW Parliament. Archive To Go is convenient and saves time, specifically for the Information Technology Services Department where the process of archiving a mailbox has been made more efficient and effective for the leaving Members and staff. "Most importantly, not only are we satisfied but our departing Members and staff think it is fantastic," says Louise Hanna. ITS is now exploring additional ways to apply Archive To Go to their GroupWise archiving needs.

More information on Advansys Archive To Go and a trial version can be found at www.archive2go.com.

*Advansys, Archive To Go and Formativ are trademarks of Advansys Pty Limited. Novell and GroupWise are registered trademarks of Novell Inc.. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


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