Lentis is a major mental health organisation in the Netherlands that operates through six brand groupings: Welnis, Linis, Jonx, Axenza, Dignis and Forint. The organisation provides mental healthcare, community services and support for approximately 32,000 clients in the Northern part of the Netherlands each year.
Lentis had implemented IBM Lotus Notes software as its e-mail and calendaring platform, serving approximately 3,000 employees. The organisation has 45 locations linked by low bandwidth connections–between 128 kb/s and 2 Mb/s–and this meant that around 90 percent of employees were effectively unable to use the full Lotus Notes client software for performance reasons. Instead, they were using the Lotus iNotes Web access solution.
The functionality offered by iNotes was insufficient for many users, and the solution as a whole was costly and difficult for Lentis to manage. In particular, it was a time-consuming process to set up and manage e-mail accounts across the different Lentis sites.
Equally, Lentis felt that iNotes represented a dead-end in terms of the development of new functionality and in terms of integration with other systems.
Lentis engaged two major external consultancy firms to review its options for the future, looking specifically at the latest versions of Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise®. The selection criteria included: expected cost of ownership, ease of integration with other enterprise systems, support for open standards, and the ability to support mobile users.
"It was clear that Lotus Notes was restricting our options for the future, and consuming significant IT management resources," said Eppe Wolfis, Manager I&A, Lentis. "Novell GroupWise offered seamless integration with other enterprise systems, cost-effective management, a powerful and intuitive user interface, and excellent performance even on low-bandwidth connections."
Lentis implemented Novell GroupWise on a three-node cluster of HP servers running SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server. The organisation was subsequently able to eliminate the costly IBM AS/400 server on which its Notes solution had been running.
"Running Novell GroupWise on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has given us exceptionally high availability and security for e-mail," said Henk Korterink, IT Administrator, Lentis. "Choosing Linux also enabled us to remove proprietary hardware, which will mean a significant reduction in infrastructure costs."
It took just four months to complete the rollout of Novell GroupWise–an achievement that impressed the senior management at Lentis. The in-house IT team handled the entire project, supported by external experts from the Open Horizons community.
"It was great that we could tap into the expertise of the Open Horizons community, which gave us access to experienced people who had handled similar implementations in the past," said Harrie Grooten, Project Leader, Lentis. "Lentis is now proud to be an active member of that same community: it's a win-win situation in which we all can get the maximum benefit from our investment in Novell GroupWise and other open technologies."
The migration from Lotus Notes to Novell GroupWise has given a major boost to Lentis employees, who now benefit from a fast, powerful and intuitive application for managing e-mail, contacts and shared calendaring. All employees use the full Novell GroupWise client, enjoying a complete range of functionality and high performance even on low bandwidth connections.
"In our experience, Novell GroupWise offers far better support for multiple locations and e-mail domains than Lotus Notes," said Korterink. "We are now hosting four different internal mail domains; such an expansion would have been extremely difficult to manage in the past. With the Novell solution, we can manage our growing organisation more efficiently and at lower cost."
In addition to reducing software licensing costs by up to 20 percent, the migration to Novell GroupWise has simplified and accelerated the creation of new e-mail accounts at Lentis. As well as getting new employees up and running more quickly, this translates into lower long-term cost of ownership.
"Novell GroupWise offers much simpler management than Lotus Notes, so our relatively small internal team can support our large user community," said Korterink.
Another benefit of choosing Novell GroupWise over Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange was the ease of serving mobile users. Lentis has added two servers running Novell GroupWise Mobile Server, initially to support managers. The organisation also plans to roll out PDAs to its health practitioners, enabling them to check clinical appointments on the move.
"The switch to Novell GroupWise has reduced our costs and significantly improved user satisfaction and productivity," said Wolfis. "Also, the high level of security in Novell GroupWise gives us full confidence that we are protecting patient confidentiality."