Organizations in the public sector also see the value and benefits of moving to the cloud. In today’s post we hear from the Village of Schaumburg on why Microsoft was the best decision for their business in their move off Lotus Notes and embrace cloud computing!
“We looked at Google Apps and Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Services and Software (BPOS) product. Initially, we thought Google might be the right choice, but the more we investigated, the more concerned we became. Although Google Apps is integrated with Windows Active Directory, we found it cumbersome to administer. BPOS has a tight integration with Windows Active Directory, making administration much easier.”
Village of Schaumburg
With a population of 76,000 and a substantial retail sector, the Village of Schaumburg, Illinois, is a major suburban hub neighboring the city of Chicago. The village’s municipal government employs nearly 600 workers and relies on technology for its operations and delivery of services to citizens.
In 2010, the Village of Schaumburg decided to implement a new email solution to replace a legacy system based on Lotus Notes that often required substantial work from its IT department to integrate with other enterprise applications.
“We found it more and more difficult to integrate other applications — whether it was our own custom-built or off-the-shelf, third-party applications. We found that sometimes we weren’t able to integrate them at all, so we started looking for alternatives,” recalls Peter Schaak, Assistant Director of IT for the Village of Schaumburg.
“We looked at Google Apps and Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Services and Software (BPOS) product. Initially, we thought Google might be the right choice, but the more we investigated, the more concerned we became. Although Google Apps is integrated with Windows Active Directory, we found it cumbersome to administer. BPOS has a tight integration with Windows Active Directory, making administration much easier, Schaak says.”
IT Solution & Benefits
“We have historically taken a leadership role in technology innovation and services,” says Schaak. “We strive to be a leader and set the benchmark. We strive to leverage technology in every aspect of the organization, and email is no exception to that.”
With that in mind, the village decided on a new email implementation replacing an enterprise-wide legacy system with a solution that combines Microsoft Exchange Online as its hosted email service, and Microsoft Outlook as the email client on users’ desktops.
“The key for selecting the Microsoft cloud solution was driven by that whole integration point,” says Schaak.
“We tried another cloud product that also integrates with Outlook, our local client, but we found that it wasn’t as seamless as we would like. Integration with that product required a lot of moving pieces and a lot of one-off skills to administer mail. What we found with Exchange Online is that the integration with Outlook was much tighter and much easier to administer, and they have plans to improve it even more.”
Completing its email migration to a cloud-based environment will allow the Village’s IT department to re-allocate resources and personnel that were previously occupied with maintaining and integrating its legacy system.
“We’re anxious to help balance the workload,” Schaak notes. “The government sector is in a ‘do-more-with-less’ economic situation, so we’re hoping to free people up to switch back to a little more proactive IT administration and away from being purely reactive.”
Re-allocating staff to more proactive projects is one of the major returns on investment that Schaak expects to see as the implementation matures.
“Our savings will hopefully come from these freed resources and the ability to get more things done with our current staffing level,” he says. “The cost savings will also be more quantifiable down the line when we don’t have to refresh our servers to keep our environment running. That’s on Microsoft to do now. All we have to worry now about are our clients.”