After Wirral Partner Homes took over the ownership and management of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s 13,000 homes, the £150 million transfer programme has included a strategic review of its IT systems, with emphasis on its email capabilities.
As email has become the key method for internal communication and external communication with contractors and tenants, WPH has seen a dramatic rise in email volumes and email administration which poses long-term storage problems. Despite restricting users to 70mb limits for their Outlook PST files, dealing with users’ queries about archiving and storage became a burden for the IT helpdesk. At the same time, the email infrastructure limited WPH’s ability to use journaling to capture emails for audit purposes
WPH engaged Phoenix Software to establish the core functionality needed for the long-term security and stability of its email systems. Phoenix identified three areas to be addressed: managing mailbox growth; dealing with PST files; and auditing emails.
Based on its ability to handle email storage and archiving for up to 100,000 mailboxes, Phoenix recommended Symantec Enterprise Vault, with the advantage that it could also archive data from other systems such as Microsoft SharePoint, EMC Documentum and SAP.
WPH and Phoenix defined the system’s business rules, such as moving emails older than three months into the tamper-proof archive at specific intervals or storing HR and finance emails for three and seven years respectively. Phoenix’s technical implementation of Enterprise Vault took three days, with no impact on end-users, followed by a further three days’ product installation and technical handover to the WPH IT team.
The benefits of the system have gone beyond improved management of users’ mailboxes and reduced storage requirements. By providing an ‘infinite mailbox’, helpdesk calls regarding email limits have been reduced to zero, journaling ensures readiness for future compliance requirements, and email access and performance has improved.
Gordon Flack, IT manager, Wirral Partnership Homes, said, “The implementation of Enterprise Vault provides us with a future-proof solution to deal with the growth of email data, as well as enabling us to comply with legal compliance for any disclosure of information. The implementation process was very smooth and straightforward due in part to the technical expertise of Phoenix staff, the project management and the simplicity of the product for our end users.”