Technology Implementation

Introducing a new product to a company is both a complicated and rewarding task. I speak from experience because I was the lead technical person involved when our company, XYZ Inc., upgraded our users from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2003. This upgrade was by no means a seamless transition and many of the users were doubtful that an upgrade would improve the latency problems that XYZ user’s was experiencing. Despite these doubts, our team was able to have a successful upgrade, which solved critical issues that XYZ was experiencing.

There are several factors that a company must analyze before they decide whether they should add new technology. The most important factor is if the technology is cost effective. If the technology is too expensive then the company may lose revenue if they purchase too many licenses and overspend. The other factor is analyzing whether the employees have the tech. savvy to operate a complicated application. The education of the employees should also be factored in because while the company is paying thousands of dollars to educate their employees they are also losing valuable working time.

XYZ had recently opened several new satellite offices that were located across the East Coast. Each office had no more then 5 employees but all them relied heavily on the email system to perform their every day tasks. The current Exchange System featured 1 Exchange Server that was about 5 years out of date. Together with the board of directors, we decided that it would be necessary to upgrade the exchange system hardware. In addition, the decision was made to upgrade the software from Advanced Server 2000 to the Standard Addition Exchange 2003.

On the Server side, the Standard Exchange 2003 addition was the best choice for the company because of several different reasons. Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition is designed to meet the messaging and collaboration needs of small and medium-size corporations. With Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition, you get:
1. Exchange Server 2003

2. The flexibility to be configured as a Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access front-end server.

3. Mailbox stores and public folder stores that are each limited to 16-gigabyte (GB) maximum.

4. Recovery Storage Group (Microsoft.com, 2004)

The main reason that I requested that we upgrade our client side application from outlook 2000 to 2003 is that this application has a feature that is called “caching”. There are also several other features that this Application contains which I felt were essential to XYZ’s success:
1. Prevent junk mail. The new Junk E-Mail Filter can help you prevent junk e-mail messages from cluttering your Inbox. Learn more about preventing junk e-mail messages with Outlook 2003.

2. Block unwanted attachments. To help prevent unwanted attachments and bulky files from taking up too much storage space, Outlook 2003 blocks e-mail messages and files from people not on your Safe Senders List. After you examine and approve the message, Outlook 2003 downloads the full message and file.

3. Read e-mail messages regardless of the connection. The new Cached Exchange Mode downloads messages and other Outlook 2003 data to your computer so you can remain productive during network downtime. Cached Exchange Mode requires a connection to Exchange Server 2003. (Microsoft.com, 2003)

Most of the work for this upgrade was done on the weekend and during holiday hours. The users did not lose any productivity time during the Active Directory and 2003 Standard Exchange Server upgrade. The caching element that outlook 2003 feature’s proved to be the perfect solution for the company. This proved to be the most cost effective solution because XYZ did not have to purchase several more exchange servers to place in the satellite offices. The service patch that Microsoft introduced with Exchange 2003 offered up to 75 gigabytes of storage space. This is more then enough space for the company.

Most of the employees were satisfied with the new version of Outlook 2003. XYZ decided against purchasing a long-term support plan for the application since I was knowledgeable about the product. It was decided that if employees had any questions or complaints about the new application they would be brought to my attention. I was able to answer most of the questions without any problems. XYZ was still covered by a guaranteed 90-day support plan with Microsoft so I was able to call Microsoft and have them solve problems that I was not able to answer.

I had to deal with several different vendors while performing the upgrade. Microsoft, Dell, Sonic Wall, Symantec and Webroot were just a few of the companies I had to work with. For the most part, I was unsatisfied with most of the customer support I received from these companies. Symantec and Webroot did an adequate job when I was having some difficulties performing the upgrade. I had horrible experiences with the other companies when attempting to deal with their technical support teams. For this reason, I discourage the users in our company’s network from calling these technical support companies directly. Instead, I have them come to me if they are experiencing any problems with a newly implemented technology. This is the main support plan that we provide for our users:
Principals of Service
We believe that technical excellence is only a part of providing a completely satisfying experience to you. Easy Network Inc. also concentrates on making sure your service experience with us is unsurpassed. We constantly focus on courtesy, professionalism, and good communication.
Principles of Methodology
1. Simplicity. We believe in simple, effective, proven network designs. We do not implement complex, hard to support systems merely to be on the cutting edge of technology.

2. Reliability. We believe in using high-quality, brand-name equipment more than pays for itself in better reliability—and systems that don’t fail don’t require as much expensive attention.

3. Cost effectiveness. We understand that there is a trade-off between obtaining the perfect system, and one that is affordable and can do the job. Our goal is always to provide you with the most cost effective services and systems to meet your needs.

Introducing a new product can be a complicated, but reachable undertaking. Budgeting, proper planning, establishing protocol and good relationships are just some of the responsibilities management has to address in order to have a successful product introduction. The companies overall chance for achievement is greatly improved if the new product is introduced appropriately.

[http://www.theeasynetwork.com]

References:

Exchange Server 2003 Product Overview (2004), Microsoft.com retrieved on June 17, 2006 from the World Wide Web. http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation/overview/default.mspx

Outlook 2003 Product Overview (2003), Microsoft.com retrieved on June 17, 2006 from the World Wide Web. http://www.microsoft.com/office/outlook/prodinfo/overview.mspx