Helping the Kid’s Help Phone

One of the things that worried me a little when I got to Microsoft was losing my "touch".  As IT Pro Advisor's we work in the realm of the virtual lab a lot and well that is nice for learning and demos, it is removed from the real world.  Because of this I was happy to jump onboard a project being done at the Kid's Help Phone and get my hands a little dirty.  You may have heard of KHP, they have their logo and toll-free number all over the place.  They do a lot of really great work but, well, lets just say they could use help!  This is going to be a series of blog posts covering what we are doing, why and even a little how.

So where are we?  A few weeks ago I sat down with Ted Kaiser (VP, Information Technology) and Neil Egan (System Support Specialist) to look at what they had and where we wanted to go.  Well KHP is a Windows enviroment with AD in place and a few custom applications loaded on a rack of 1/2U servers.  Nothing to out of the oridinary but the mail system is non-existant as they use POP3 from the ISP, this leads to scheduling issues as everything has to be co-ordinated via e-mail first.  When I met the president of KHP and I told him about the calendaring and scheduling features of Exchange 2007 his eyes lit up.  This is going to be a huge step up for them and really change the way they work.  Throw SharePoint into the mix and the integration with Vista and Office 2007, oh my!

All in all it is a typical enviroment that is in need of some TLC.  So what is up for round one of the project?  Well I was on site recently and the hardware had been spec'd and ready to order.  Software is a download away, and we are ready to start with the next round of planning.  In the next few months we will be deploying Exchange 2007, MOSS 2007, Office 2007 and Windows Vista to approximatley 200 desktops across Canada.  With that we need to import all the PSTs into Exchange, all the data into MOSS and most likely train the users on the new systems as they are implemented.

Am I doing this alone?  Heck no, if that were the case Exchange 14 would be out before I got the server built 🙂  Along with the technical staff at KHP, Developer Advisor Jean-Luc David is going to be helping them out on the dev side of things and Imason, a local Gold Partner, will be handling the MOSS 2007 stuff as that is their expertise.  I am also proud to say that all the software was donated by Microsoft Canada and Imason is also donating time and resources to this project.  All in all it should be an interesting project and if we can help the Kid's Help Phone 1/1000 as much as they help Canadian kids it will be pretty darn successful too!

Stay tuned for more.......

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