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Laura Canada


Provide important, missing email/calendar productivity features to executive and storelevel users following Retailer’s migration to Microsoft Exchange

Industry: Retail

Products: OWA Suite

Canadian Fashion Retailer Rings Up Annual Savings Using OWA Suite For Exchange Server


Laura Canada has a reputation among Canadian women shoppers as distinctive as its founder, Laura Wolstein. Begun in 1930 as a single store in the heart of Montreal, Laura Canada—a family of brands that includes Laura, Laura Petites, Laura Plus and Melanie Lyne—is today a chain of 143 stores located across the country. Laura specializes in contemporary fashion options at moderate price points. Melanie Lyne is for
the discriminating customer looking for fashion forward options.

To manage this large and growing Montreal, Canada based enterprise which employs over 2,600 people, corporate executives are constantly on the move, traveling to stores and meeting with vendors. Several hundred headquarters employees typically access their email via Outlook Web Access (OWA), Microsoft’s Web-based email client. A number of others, including retail store personnel and designers using Macs, exclusively
use OWA Light, a version of OWA optimized for systems not using the Windows Internet Explorer browser.

When Laura Canada migrated over the Christmas holiday to Exchange, the newest version of Microsoft’s email/contact/calendar server application, they soon discovered some enhancements were necessary. “People wanted more features that were missing, like the ability to share calendars and contacts, print appointment calendars and send Microsoft Office files directly from within OWA,” said Mick Huynh, the company’s Manager of Technical Services. “Our regional managers felt that OWA Light was far too light and limiting, so much so they would go home and do emails from there instead.”

Especially important to Laura Canada’s executives was the ability for their assistants to maintain their personal appointment calendars for them. “Without a sharing function, assistants couldn’t access the online calendars of our directors and upper management to book appointments,” Huynh noted. “The only option was for executives to give out their user name and password. We needed a better answer.”


After considering the internal development of a custom solution to enhance OWA, Huynh researched the availability of OWA enhancement software. Once he saw the features in Messageware’s OWA Suite, he knew he had found what he was looking for.

“OWA Suite had all the capabilities we were searching for, plus more,” Huynh said.

OWA Suite is Messageware’s comprehensive OWA security and productivity suite of products. The collection of seven award-winning products is increasingly popular with Exchange users around the world because it completes OWA—everything from locking down security for OWA users to calendar sharing and printing capabilities, “Send to” for email attachments, personal dictionaries, Outlook-style addressing and
more–in one cost-effective solution.

At first, Huynh decided to try Messageware OWA Suite for a month with selected corporate “power users”. “The response was very positive. There were no show-stoppers of any kind,” he recalled.

Soon all 500 corporate- and store-level users within Laura Canada had OWA Suite. “Our OWA Light users in particular appreciated all the functionality improvements the rest of our users had taken for granted. All of our employees were excited to use the calendar sharing capabilities,” said Huynh. “Before this, we had to run command codes in the back end to enable calendar sharing. Messageware OWA Suite solved the problem.”

During this period Messageware product support also proved itself, in two critical ways. To ensure disaster recovery, Laura Canada maintains two separate Exchange environments—one at its Montreal headquarters and another in Vancouver. The configuration requires two discrete Microsoft Active Directory nodes, known as an Exchange resource forest, as well as a special Microsoft software patch so users could enjoy single sign-on. Huynh said that Messageware OWA Suite was able to support that patch natively.

“The second issue involved OWA Light. It seemed that within Internet Explorer 6, OWA Light users had difficulties using certain Messageware OWA Suite features,” Huynh stated. “We contacted Messageware, and within three weeks we had a new build that solved the problem.”
One thing stuck in Huynh’s mind in particular about the experience. “We were anxious to get the fix, but Messageware’s engineers said that quality assurance was critical. They spent half of those three weeks making sure the new build was bulletproof before they sent it out,” he said. “That’s the thing about Messageware—its support is phenomenal.”

– Mick Huynh, Manager of Technical Services

We were anxious to get the fix, but Messageware’s engineers said that quality assurance was critical.They spent half of those three weeks making sure the new build was bulletproof before they sent it out That’s the thing about Messageware – its support is phenomenal.


Huynh believes Messageware OWA Suite is an ideal fit for retailers because it allows a widely-dispersed group of workers to maximize their work day. “Many of our road warriors email vendors 15 to 20 times a day, sending 8 or 10 attachments at a time. If that takes two to five minutes per email, the time really adds up,” he said. “Messageware OWA Suite’s ActiveSend product probably cuts that time in half.”

Many of the capabilities found in Messageware OWA Suite have become a part of the daily work lives of Laura Canada’s OWA users. The impact has been increased productivity, greater security and a richer enduser experience. But Huynh says there is one benefit that’s easy to put a dollar figure on. “On top of everything else, adding Messageware’s OWA Suite to our company’s email system has reduced our dependency on
printed agendas (and its associated cost), which is also more environmentally friendly,” he points out.

About Messageware

Founded in 1993, Messageware develops and markets solutions that secure, enhance, and customize Outlook Web App. A trusted Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a Global Exchange ISV for over 15 years, our applications give com-panies of all sizes a greater return on Microsoft Exchange. Messageware products are used by over 2,500 enterprises and 4 million users worldwide, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, in every industry including banking, education, financial services, government, healthcare, and legal services.

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