Products: OWA Suite
IT Staff At Elite Prep Academy Receives High Honors For Adding Server-Based Outlook Web Access Improvements
The motto of St. Michael’s University School in Victoria, British Columbia is nihil magnum nisi bonum: “nothing is great unless it is good.” That sage statement could have been applied to the school’s web-based email system which was serviceable…but needed further enhancement.
St. Michael’s, on the southern tip of Canada’s Vancouver Island—actually further south than Bellingham, Washington—is one of the northwest’s most prestigious private prep schools. Home to 920 K-12 students, of which 235 board throughout the year, the school maintains its high standards, in part, by embracing new methods and technologies. According to Robert Przybylski, Computer Services Manager for the school, that
policy extends to the school’s internal contact system.
“With students and faculty using numerous PCs throughout the day, either from classrooms, dorm rooms or at home, it makes sense for us to host our email and calendar functions on the Internet,” said Przybylski. “We use Outlook Web Access (OWA) which has a lot of great features. However, there are certain things OWA doesn’t offer—things we felt we had to have in order to add value to our communications platform.”
As Przybylski explained, the school needed a way for faculty to easily coordinate personal calendars for meetings and events. Students, who often have to review worksheets, test results, diagrams, slides and the like from teachers, needed to be able to open and view file attachments whether or not the associated application was on the PC they were using. Email usage suffered as well from the lack of spell check and publicly-available contact lists.
To top it off, the school needed to find a way to add these capabilities without flunking out on its budget. “We have over 600 PCs on campus,” stated Jim Ross, St. Michael’s Network Support Analyst. “Whatever solution we chose, had to be suitable for installation at the server level. After all, buying software licenses for 600 PCs is very expensive.”
To add the necessary functionality, the St. Michael’s IT staff searched the Internet for an OWA enhancement tool. Ross said he and Przybylski quickly selected the Messageware OWA Suite for Exchange.
“There weren’t really that many alternatives to Messageware—none that offered the same wealth of features anyway. And considering the number of users we have, the per-user cost of Messageware OWA Suite for Exchange was substantially less than individual licenses.”
Messageware OWA Suite is a comprehensive package of Outlook Web Access features, installed on the Microsoft Exchange Server, that adds both security and productivity functionality. Among the products in Messageware OWA Suite is Messageware CalendarShare, which not only adds side-by-side views of shared and personal calendars but also allows users to delegate rights to others to view and manage personal calendars on their behalf. Messageware AttachView, another product within the Suite, converts attachments to secure HTML pages so users can view files securely without their native application. Over 300 different file types are supported in AttachView, with others added regularly.
In addition to these and other features, OWA Suite for Exchange includes Plus Pack, an email enhancement package that delivers Outlook-like addressing, global address list contacts, roaming personal dictionaries and more. “Plus Pack is ideal for distribution lists—especially so if you’re dealing with unusual names like ‘Przybylski’,” Ross joked.
– Jim Ross, Network Support AnalystThe best thing about Messageware OWA Suite from an IT standpoint is that it is simple to install and works properly. You’d never know OWA has thirdparty software in it.
Installing Messageware OWA Suite took only a half-hour, Przybylski recalled, and went live immediately. “The application is so tightly integrated in the OWA environment that users would never know the difference, except that there are new capabilities available,” he stated, adding that the few issues his team encountered were quickly resolved by Messageware technical support.
“I don’t know if Messageware is as responsive to everyone as they were to us, but we got individualized attention. Anytime we asked for a fix, they were back to us quickly,” he noted. Added Ross, “I have always been impressed with the way that Messageware Technical Support has always gone the extra mile to satisfy our needs. If they don’t have a ready answer, they always set up a test base at their location and produce results.”
Once Messageware OWA Suite went live, the enhancements were announced to students and staff via email. Training was made available to administrative staff, but few felt the need. “The main thing I’ve heard from the students and staff is that OWA is ten times faster than our old solution. I’ve never had one person complain,” Przybylski said.
“When you’re working with a server-based platform like Microsoft Exchange, you don’t want to have to be installing software all over campus,” commented Ross. “The best thing about Messageware OWA Suite from an IT standpoint is that it is simple to install and works properly. You’d never know OWA has third-party software in it.”
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 companies 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.Download Book a demo