an ERP systems integrator recently migrated to Microsoft
Exchange. Here's how they managed this transition. by
messaging platform plays a crucial role for Intelligroup.
The ERP system integrator has an employee base of over
1200 people, and more than 100 clients worldwide. Due
to certain operational and business limitations with
their existing e-mail platform, the company decided
to migrate to Microsoft Exchange.
"Keeping with our business philosophy and vision,
and the changing demands of the market place, distance
and technology, we realized that Lotus Notes was not
serving our communication purpose. That is when we decided
to migrate to Microsoft Exchange to offer our employees
real-time access to information and an instant messaging
system," said Pavan Reddy B, Manager-MIS, Intelligroup
Asia. Reddy adds, "We have a robust network connecting
our centers and our headquarters (HQ) in New Jersey."
Intelligroup is an ISO 9001 & SEI CMM Level-5
and People CMM Level-2 certified ERP systems integrator
with an employee base of over 1200. Founded in
1987 it provides technology solutions and services
to over 100 clients worldwide.
The existing messaging system did not meet the
company's technology or business objectives, so
it felt the need to migrate to a more collaborative,
single-step messaging platform that would fit
seamlessly into their existing (predominantly
Intelligroup migrated to Microsoft Exchange 2000
to have a common, secure, reliable, accessible
and manageable messaging platform.
The integration of Exchange 2000 with the existing
Windows setup offered the company benefits like
single-enterprise directory, simplified and integrated
security management, and the ability to use Windows
2000 security groups as mail distribution lists.
Intelligroup Asia has two development centers in
Hyderabad, an ADC (advanced development center) and
CO (corporate office). The two offices are linked with
a 1 Mbps microwave link. The CO is connected to the
HQ at New Jersey through two 512 Kbps links, one a fiber
optic link and the other a satellite link. The ADC is
connected to Intelligroup Australia through a 64 Kbps
Both the ADC and CO have their own mail servers to reduce
traffic on the inter-office link. Both locations belong
to the Windows 2000 domain and have a centralized mail
Intelligroup had implemented its messaging system
in January 98 and used the system for about three and
a half years.
While using the old messaging system, Intelligroup experienced
a number of glitches and needed to correct these to
ensure an efficient communications environment. It was
found that as there was no integration between the OS
and the mailing system, the administrator had to create
different login and e-mail ids for every user. If a
user terminated his/her services with the company both
the login and e-mail IDs had to be deleted separately.
Any negligence could leave the e-mail ID existent forever,
as mapping between login ID to e-mail ID was difficult,
it resulted in the wrong ID being deleted for a particular
Users had two sets of IDs, one for the OS and one for
the mails. They had to memorize multiple passwordsWindows
login password, mail password, and also their Web access
password, when accessing through a browser over the
The earlier messaging system also made it very difficult
for an administrator to find what group a particular
user member belonged to.
It was not feasible to apply common policies (like mailbox
size restrictions) to a set of users or to restrict
the ability of a particular group to mail a few designated
"With so many limitations in the product, the purpose
of implementing the solution was not being achieved.
We required a solution, which had more collaborative
applications and one that was more user friendly,"
Elaborating further Reddy said users should be able
to log on to the network and access all the Windows
2000/NT file and print services, the corporate Intranet
and mails with a single username and password.
Intelligroup felt the need for a messaging solution
that would integrate with the OS (Windows) user database,
thereby reducing the administrative overheads, resulting
from having to maintain different databases for the
OS and mails.
"All these requirements could be addressed if we
used Microsoft Exchange 2000," said Reddy.
The implementation including the planning, simulation
and QA was completed in four weeks. The actual deployment
took only two days.
The deployment process was started with the designing
of the Administrative Group, Routing Group and Storage
Group structures after taking into consideration the
existing network setup and user requirements.
The proposed solution was simulated in a test setup
and was tested on all fronts to minimize problems while
deploying in the live setup.
"We wanted to implement a standard naming convention
across the enterprise. Hence we chose to recreate all
the users as against migrate them from the existing
system. We converted the older mailboxes to .PST using
the Exchange Migration Wizard that comes with Exchange
2000, and installed it for users as Personal Folders,"
informed Reddy. "We did not face problems while
configuring the client (Outlook), as a document with
step-by-step instructions and screen shots was given
to users so that they could configure their Outlook
The company did face a few post migration issues but
these were resolved without any delays.
Post implementation benefits
Once Intelligroup tackled most of the post migration
problems, the benefits of the new messaging system slowly
began to seep in.
"Implementation of Exchange 2000 gave us the collaborative
platform with the added applications required by us.
now have a multi-server environment, where the servers
in an administrative group are managed as a single entity.
All message routing and replication within a routing
group is handled automatically without administrator
intervention. Users whose mailboxes are moved between
servers are automatically redirected to the new server,
requiring no changes to the user desktop and no administrator
intervention," said Reddy.
Administration also became a simpler task. Creating
a Windows 2000/NT user automatically creates the mail
ID. The administrator need not open a separate window
for creating the mail ID. Deletion of resigned employees
becomes easy, as deleting the user account also deletes
his mail ID.
The integration of Exchange 2000 with Windows 2000 Active
Directory also benefits the end-users by providing single
OWA (Outlook Web Access) combined with the FE/BE (front-
end/backend) architecture supported by Exchange 2000
makes it easier for users to access their mailboxes
over the Internet using a simple URL, without the need
to specify the name of the Exchange 2000 server where
the mailbox is stored.
Reddy says there were no direct cost benefits from the
migration. "Exchange is a premium product and requires
better hardware to run. Two new servers costing $6,000
each were purchased for the installation of the Exchange.
The Exchange server was purchased at a price close to
Rs 11 Lakh. And the anti-virus software (Trend Micro
ScanMail for Exchange) came at a cost close to Rs 3
Lakh," added Reddy.
To leverage more on Microsoft Exchange server, Intelligroup
is integrating a Knowledge Management solution with
Exchange as a backend, and making use of the robust
workflow engine built in it.
"The knowledge management solution is still under
development. It will use the Exchange Web storage system
for document management and build workflows around it.
The solution also includes ORMS (Operating Resource
Management System). Workflow applications like leave
application, stationary requisitions, and medical reimbursements
will be easily developed online in a short time. The
Microsoft Workflow Designer, included in Exchange 2000
is a graphical tool for building rich, rule-based workflows
based on the Exchange 2000 store," said Reddy.
Minu Sirsalewala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org