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Success Story: City of St. Paul and GroupWise

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Posted: 24 Jul 2007
 

As a government agency, the City of Saint Paul provides municipal services to the more than 275,000 residents of Minnesota's capital city. The City has more than 3,000 employees across 125 different locations.

Challenge

Without a unified e-mail solution, employees of the City of Saint Paul had difficulty communicating across different departments. Finding employees that were running other e-mail systems was often challenging, and users were unable to schedule meetings and resources across the organization.

Each department was managing its own e-mail platform, and many of these systems experienced virus attacks and downtime. The IT staff also had to manually create and update its employee address book to consolidate users across disparate systems. The City wanted to implement a unified collaboration system with high availability that would give its users reliable communication, regardless of location.

Novell Solution

The City of Saint Paul created several user teams to evaluate nearly 10 different e-mail solutions including Microsoft* Exchange and Lotus Notes*. The agency considered both proprietary and open source solutions before selecting Novell GroupWise to run on its Microsoft Windows* desktops.

"Novell GroupWise runs on Linux and that was a key part of our decision," said Darlene Guy, IS Systems Consultant for the City of Saint Paul. "Linux is a preferred platform for the City and an essential part of our future."

After gathering requirements and completing several hands-on evaluations, users found that Novell GroupWise met all its feature requirements. The product also received high marks for its intuitive client interface and ease of use.

"Novell GroupWise came bundled with more than any other product we reviewed," said Guy. "Other solutions would have required us to purchase additional components to get all the functionality we wanted."

The City of Saint Paul implemented Novell GroupWise on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for improved speed and performance. Now its 3,000 users can access a unified e-mail platform, regardless of department, and can easily schedule meetings and resources, such as conference rooms and equipment. Users also benefit from secure instant messaging with GroupWise Messenger.

"We are seeing significant increases in performance since migrating to GroupWise on SUSE Linux Enterprise," said Scott Phalen, Information Technical Analyst for the City of Saint Paul. "We have also been able to consolidate servers so we have fewer post offices to manage."

With users spread across multiple locations, remote e-mail access is important. With GroupWise WebAccess, users can access e-mail and calendars from any Web browser, so they can be productive from any city office, from home or while traveling.

Using GroupWise Mobile Server, as well as the BlackBerry* Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise, the IT staff can provide e-mail access for its mobile users. Users with mobile devices, including Palm* Treos, BlackBerries and Motorola* Q phones, can stay in touch while away from their offices.

"As in most organizations, e-mail is a mission-critical tool for us," said Guy. "We need to provide e-mail access to users wherever they may be and we can't afford any downtime. We have had no virus issues to date with Novell GroupWise."

Having a single e-mail platform has greatly reduced IT administration time, as a few, centralized administrators can now manage everything. Running Novell GroupWise on a four-node cluster with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides failover capabilities and allows the IT team to perform maintenance without taking the system down. The City also runs all of its Oracle* databases on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

"We have a strong partnership with Novell," said Phalen. "Novell Technical ServicesSM provides quick response times and we always get the help we need."

Results

Moving to Novell GroupWise running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides the City of Saint Paul with a unified and secure e-mail platform. The City now has 99.9 percent uptime and greater protection against virus attacks.

With a single address book, users can easily communicate with employees across the organization. The City was also able to consolidate servers by 75 percent and greatly reduce IT administration time. Now the IT staff can devote more time to providing additional services and training for its users.

"Without Novell GroupWise, we would have had to pay a lot more for another solution," said Guy. "We would have also paid a lot more for training, and would have required at least twice as many administrators."


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