One of our long-time clients, Hilton San Francisco Financial District, approached us with the problem of email communication. The issues they faced were the lack of:
- Web Access to their email accounts.
- Over -the-air syncing for their Blackberries.
- Full archiving of their emails, in order to be in compliance with company policies.
The company‘s email communication system included:
- Simple POP hosted email services without an on-server archiving option.
- MS Outlook email client. This only allows a user to access their email via their own computer. If they use another computer, they cannot access their email.
- The inability to use over -the-air syncing for calendar and contacts using Blackberry’s desktop software over the cable; email sent from their Blackberries wasn’t synced to their Outlook email due to limitations of POP email protocol.
Nowadays there are many platforms available to accomplish the client’s goals. We came up with three possible solutions:
The first option was Microsoft Exchange, which is the most common approach for medium and big business. Setting up Microsoft Exchange inside the organization would require heavy investment in hardware and licensing.
The second option was to use a Hosted Microsoft Exchange. This option would minimize IT maintenance but was very expensive to the client, considering the number of users and all the services required.
The third option was Google Apps Premier, which is the same hosted Exchange idea but well known lack of support.
After weighing all the risks and benefits of the possible solutions outlined above, the client decided to go with Google, mainly for pricing reasons. As the result, they were able to get all the features they wanted plus much more.
Google’s solution includes mobile sync not just for Blackberry, but for all the major smart phones. The client was able to keep all of their Outlook settings, plus all of their email, calendar, and contacts were completely synchronized with smart phones over the air.
Other benefits they received with Google Apps Premier:
- Access to email, calendar, and contacts from any computer in the world that has an internet connection.
- Most advanced spam protection for their email accounts.
- Search and Discovery service that allows them to keep copies of all incoming and outgoing emails on a secure server.
Thanks to Google’s migration tools, the client’s fast connection, and our expertise, the migration went very smooth and was completed over one weekend. The client achieved their goals, and in addition, they now have a set of very advanced collaboration tools for internal communication.