19 December 2013
Like any organisation, email capabilities are vital for Ormiston Children and Families Trust (OCFT). With staff located all over the region, remote 24/7 access to email is crucial for all communications. OCFT’s bespoke email system used POP3 and had been originally written and supported to meet its needs when it had only 50 employees and a handful of offices. Because of continuing growth, the trust needed to change technologies.
“We were very satisfied with the old system but we had simply outgrown it,” explains Sarah Smith, OCFT’s ICT coordinator. “We now have over 250 employees and many more offices. We recognised that we had to move up a level. But we needed something that was costeffective, easy to use and manage, and could be easily accessed by our employees located all over the east of England.”
While the trust could have installed its own Exchange server, Smith decided to explore hosted services based on cloud technologies as this would mean staff could access their emails from any location with an internet connection.
“This is important because many charities have a mobile workforce. Cloudbased hosted email is also highly cost effective because organisations only pay for each ‘seat’ rather than a licencing and hosting cost. And hosted email technologies are highly robust, while being flexible: you can quickly add or delete users, and are only charged for what you use. This allows charities to manage their email costs very carefully,” she says.
Initially, Smith looked at a large corporate hosted email company but was put off as it seemed “faceless” and didn’t offer a personal approach. After learning about Cobweb’s Hosted Exchange cloudbased email solutions, she decided this was the platform that would provide the flexibility and cost-efficiency OCFT required.
Cobweb quickly migrated Ormiston’s 250+ mailboxes from the original email system to its Hosted Exchange. It also made sure that OCFT could retain all the historic email it wanted to transfer to the new solution, which varied from just 50 messages to up to 12,000 per user.
The trust can self-administer its Hosted Exchange, and can add and delete new users as required. In addition, Smith says the platform’s flexibility and reliability will allow Ormiston to quickly re-configure it to meet future needs. All this, together with help desk support, was included by Cobweb at no extra cost.
Smith says that since OCFT started using the Hosted Exchange, her team has not received a single report of any downtime. “We are so pleased with Cobweb’s cloud-driven email service that we are now considering Cobweb’s SharePoint service,” she concludes.