REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 23, 2002 — In the enterprise space, statistics show that the number of people who need to communicate and collaborate has grown steadily at an annual rate of 40 percent since 1981. Consider the numbers. More than 6.1 billion e-mail messages are sent every day. On workdays, 53 percent of business users check e-mail at least six times a day, while 34 percent of users check e-mail constantly throughout the day. The numbers — from a July 2001 Gartner Group study — all point to messaging as the most mission-critical component to enterprise communication. Bottom line: businesses cannot exist without a reliable messaging and collaboration infrastructure.
As enterprises evaluate their messaging and collaboration platform for reliability and scalability, IT budgets continue to tighten and undergo greater scrutiny. The collision of those two realities has driven home the importance of choosing messaging and collaboration software that delivers a scalable and easy-to-manage solution at the lowest total cost of ownership.
To address these needs, enterprises are increasingly turning to Microsoft and deploying Exchange 2000. Microsoft’s commitment to delivering a compelling messaging infrastructure is earning high marks not only within the enterprise space but among analysts as well.
With more than 100 million licenses sold, Exchange has surpassed the competition. The Radicati Group’s report, “Messaging Software: Market and Product Analysis, 2001-2005,” states that Microsoft currently leads the messaging and collaboration race with 43 percent of the total number of enterprise users. An analysis conducted by The META Group confirms that Exchange 2000 has a lower cost of ownership, due primarily to easier administration, server consolidation and higher reliability.
UnumProvident Switches to Exchange 2000 to Maximize Business Agility
When UNUM Corporation and Provident Companies, Inc. merged in June 1999 to form UnumProvident Corporation, it was decided that Lotus Notes would be the messaging platform for the new entity, based in Tennessee and Maine.
“We knew consolidating to a single platform would simplify administrative requirements and reduce our total cost of ownership, and initially began planning for a company-wide migration to Notes 5.0,” recalls Randy Robinson, UnumProvident vice president of information technology.
Before that migration hit its stride, a 12-person technology committee was established to review major IT decisions for the new company, which employs 12,900 people and is the leading provider of group and individual disability income-protection insurance. The group heard presentations from both Microsoft and Lotus, considering cost factors, the best fit for the new organization and references from customers of each company.
There were several factors Robinson and the committee considered before choosing Exchange 2000. They included integrated security, the familiarity of the user interface, eliminating the need for users to log on separately for each application, reduced support costs, seamless integration with existing Windows desktops, and ease of integration with other technologies used by UnumProvident. Robinson also consulted with IT support staff. “They were very complimentary of Exchange, and they’re the ones who get the calls in the middle of the night when issues arise,” he says. “We’re very confident that the product performs as marketed. The uptime is amazing.”
Perhaps the most compelling benefit behind the decision to migrate to Exchange was the ability to leverage the knowledge of the company’s programmers. With more than half of UnumProvident’s 600 programmers building Windows-based applications in support of several lines of business, Robinson says he expects the savings in time and money to be significant. “You take a major productivity hit when you have multiple platforms,” he says. “It made all the sense in the world to leverage the skills of the majority of our programmers who are very comfortable writing applications in the Microsoft environment.”
Even though UnumProvident’s migration is still in its early stages, Robinson says he has full confidence in Exchange 2000. UnumProvident expects to reduce the number of servers from 125 to less than 30. “I have no doubts whatsoever that Exchange 2000 can handle the messaging needs of our organization,” he says. “It’s definitely enterprise ready.”
“While Exchange was developed for the enterprise, the importance of the individual hasn’t been overlooked,” Robinson says. With all users on Outlook, end-user training costs and learning curves are significantly reduced, and with a smoother transition, as many employees with PCs at home are already familiar with the interface. By enabling greater compatibility and consistency across applications, Exchange 2000 delivers a more efficient experience for the end user that enables increased productivity.
Compaq Computer Corporation Sees Immediate Cost Savings through Server Consolidation
Computer manufacturer Compaq is close to completing its migration to Exchange 2000 for approximately 100,000 users over 600 locations in 60 countries. Compaq, which has used Exchange since the first version, is a Microsoft joint development partner. Compaq Services also has more than 1.8 million seats of Exchange 2000 under contract.
“In my opinion, there is really only one enterprise-class, industrial-strength messaging platform for Windows,” says Stan Foster, technical director for enterprise computing with Compaq IT. “I wouldn’t consider anything else unless I was planning on abandoning Windows — which I’m not.”
Foster says that Exchange 2000 meets and exceeds Compaq’s expectations in terms of taking advantage of current industry standards and protocols, performance and reliability gains, and the ability to scale-up more than 4,000 users per server in an enterprise environment. In locations where Compaq has traditionally had one server per every 500 to 800 employees, quadrupling the number of users a server can host will deliver savings in both equipment and upkeep costs. The single-seat administration capabilities also save money and increase productivity, Foster says.
Bert Quarfordt, manager of messaging services, says the improvements to Exchange 2000 are impressive. “Running fewer servers requires less service, which means things go faster,” he says. “Delivery time is much faster, and from an availability standpoint we can keep servers up longer.” And, as Quarfordt points out, when there is a problem it’s much easier to recover, which minimizes downtime. “It used to take 24 hours to recover a mailbox,” he says. “Now it’s down to an hour or so. Of course, it’s very rare that we actually need to recover a mailbox.”
Total cost of ownership studies are showing the new Exchange deployment is already paying off. The Meta Group concluded that Compaq was able to eliminate 73 mailbox servers as a result of their migration from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000. So far, that’s a US$1.4 million savings in annual operating costs for 45,000 users.
Exchange 2000 Built for Greater Mobility, XML Web Services and Seamless Integration with .NET Platform
Mark Adcock, Exchange product manager, says that a key to Exchange’s rapid growth in the enterprise space is the way in which it has matured since the release of its initial version. “It’s much faster,” he says. “It’s also incredibly scalable, which enables customers to put lots more users on each server.” Beyond the savings realized by each server accommodating dramatically more users, Adcock says that the unified management of messaging, collaboration and network resources in Exchange 2000 also contributes significantly to a lower total cost of ownership.
And improved access, Adcock says, enables a wider usage of emerging technologies, including wireless communications, conferencing, unified messaging, handheld devices and teleconferencing. “Collaboration is one of the most important parts of doing business for everyone,” he says. “Exchange 2000 delivers an unprecedented degree of collaboration capabilities out of the box.”
Adcock adds, “For developers, accessing Exchange 2000’s rich collaboration services and XML data via XML Web services is easy. The XML Web services developers write can then be used to build collaboration applications or to add contextual collaboration to other applications. We have provided samples of how to do this in both our Developer Enablement Kit and our SDK.”
Adcock says the future will likely bring more information to be managed — documents, e-mail messages, faxes and voicemail — coupled with a broader and increasingly sophisticated array of devices. The Exchange server, he says, will be developed accordingly.
“Moving forward, our goal remains the same,” he says. “We want to help users manage and access their personal information more efficiently. Some of the improvements we will realize will occur within Exchange 2000, while others will be the result of the great relationship we have with the team that builds Outlook and Office.”