March 7, 2011, Toronto, Canada – Messageware (http://messagewareinc.wpengine.com), the world's leading provider of enterprise security, productivity and customization solutions for Microsoft Office Outlook Web App and Outlook Web Access (OWA), today announced that Avanade has selected Messageware OWA Suite following some unexpected migration challenges for a major U.S. bank.
Avanade, a business technology services provider majority owned by Accenture, is skilled at handling unforeseen project changes. But this one had the potential to impact the timetable of a multimillion dollar initiative that would improve productivity for tens of thousands of bank employees.
"Our customer made the decision to add calendar sharing to their new Web-based platform, so local employees could book customer appointments for the bank's product specialists," recalled Vincent Bedus, Avanade's Senior Director of Capabilities. "Unfortunately, OWA is not equipped to perform calendar sharing."
The late requirement for OWA to replicate the same calendar sharing capability found in Microsoft Outlook was too important to defer. As a result, what started out as an undertaking to transition bank workers from Lotus Notes onto Microsoft Exchange and the Web-based OWA, in order to give travelling or otherwise "deskless" employees access to email, contact lists and personal appointments from any PC at any location, quickly took on a new dimension.
"The bank was about to ask us to build a customized solution, which we knew would be expensive," Bedus said. "The time and effort required to spec, write, test and deploy a calendar sharing function for OWA would be labor intensive—and possibly cause the project to miss its completion date."
Fortunately, Bedus and Avanade were familiar with the Messageware family of OWA enhancement applications. "We did our diligence and investigated the marketplace, but there's really nothing out there that matches the features and proven reliability of Messageware's OWA Suite," he noted.
The OWA Server Suite, from Toronto-based Messageware, is a trusted solution that provides a full menu of security and productivity features for Outlook Web Access. The application allows OWA to function in a similar manner as Microsoft Outlook, giving workers the user interface and tools with which they are familiar. It also closes certain security gaps that can occur when email is accessed from a public kiosk or multi-user PC; such gaps can compromise confidential and/or sensitive emails and attachments.
Upon Avanade's recommendation, the bank purchased OWA Suite and opted to install three of the suite's productivity applications: Plus Pack, which provides true Outlook-like addressing, access to personal contact lists, roaming personal dictionaries and more; CalendarShare, providing their required side by side calendars and delegate management and OWA Print for formatted calendar printing.
"Usually OWA Suite is a snap to configure," Bedus said. "But this case was a unique situation, particularly in how the suite would interface with the bank's proxy servers. That, plus the bank requested that the 'Outlook Today' appointment list appear on the user's home page, just as it does in Outlook."
With Messageware's technical staff in assistance, Avanade was able to successfully configure the system. "Messageware was a great partner for us. Its technical staff worked nights and weekends to custom develop an OWA-Today dashboard feature for us," Bedus stated.
After testing and verifying the solution in a lab environment, Avanade received approval from its customer to begin rollout on a pilot basis. The successful conclusion of the pilot allowed the Avanade project team to deploy OWA to the bank's 120,000 employees.
"Today the implementation is running smoothly," Bedus reports. "The OWA platform, with Messageware's OWA Suite components in place, has been deployed on over 40 Exchange and associated servers throughout the network."
Reflecting on the experience, Bedus pointed out that Messageware was more than effective in helping keep the massive project on track.
"Messageware really stepped up and provided more than its product is specified for. With its involvement, we actually completed the migration ahead of schedule," he stated. "It's nice to know that when we go to Messageware, they will have a solution."