To boost their modernization efforts, the State Government of one of India’s most populous states was looking to provide an e-mailing solution to all its 30,000 employees for improved productivity and turnaround times. Embee helped them overcome the challenges of outdated software, security requirements, quick scale-up and rapid infrastructure growth by implementing a hybrid mailing solution, on-premises and on-cloud, for 30,000 users
Our customer is a key department of the Government of one of India’s largest and most significant states, from a population and development standpoint. Encouraged and buoyed by the country’s Digital India movement and in an effort to improve the functioning of the administrative machinery, the Government of this state has been investing heavily in modern software and infrastructure solutions to leverage technology and transform archaic processes.
Our Customer’s Challenge
While our customer employs over 2 Lakh employees, it only provided a modern mailing solution for approximately 1000 senior employees. With e-mail today being the leading communication tool for any enterprise, this was clearly a growing challenge within the state department. Additionally, the existing solution was rather complex and unintegrated, leading to delays in communication, inefficient collaboration and compromised security. The key challenges were:
- Lack of a modern, comprehensive communication solution: A vast majority of the Government’s employees were still relying on outdated means of communication that included traditional mail, physical meetings and/ or communications over the telephone. This led to reduced productivity, inefficient collaboration, long paper trails and approval processes, and potential data security hazards.
- Legacy mailing solution lacking features: The 1000 odd employees with access to a mailing solution were using an obsolete application. This solution lacked modern features such as large mailbox sizes, security and permissions, integrated calendars, etc. There was no dedicated or remote support which led to frequent complications and resulted in loss of critical time and data.
- Lack of uniformity: As only a small subset of customer’s employees were using a mailing solution, there were major gaps in communication. All could not leverage the productivity and collaboration benefits accompanied with an emailing solution leading to double the effort, halved the productivity and brought in inefficiency in the processes.
The customer’s existing on-premise infrastructure did not have the storage or compute capacities required to support 30,000 users. Considering the customer’s employees had access to key confidential documents – reliability and security of the solution were key considerations. They also required a solution that would be cost-effective upfront as well as during maintenance and scaling up.
As per the Government’s procurement process, enquiries were sent to all of Microsoft’s Leading Solution partners in India. Embee was chosen based on our extensive experience with large-scale transformation projects, specialization in Microsoft’s on-premise and on-cloud solutions, as well as our recognition as Microsoft’s Country Partner of the Year (2018).
The implementation began with Microsoft Exchange ad Outlook for transforming their communication and collaboration landscape. Embee and Microsoft conducted joint-workshops with the customer to better understand the product requirement fit and to design an architecture that could support the customer’s unique customization requirements.
The key features of our solution include:
- Mailing solution upgradation: At the offset, the customer’s 1000 employees already using Microsoft Exchange 2006 had to be upgraded to a newer version of Exchange in an on-premise model. This was a complex implementation as many new features and changes in the accounts had to be configured along with the migration of existing user data to the new mailboxes. Embee also implemented Active Directory to implement the single-sign on feature. The upgrade gave the users access to the latest features including improved Webmail support through Outlook, higher security, data loss prevention and a consolidated dashboard UI which administrators could use to create new accounts and manage existing ones.
- A hybrid mailing solution: As a strategic technology partner, Embee recommended a hybrid mailing solution that enabled the customer to configure new mailboxes instantly without the need for upfront investment in physical hardware like mailing servers, storage and dedicated disaster recovery setup. While an on-premise infrastructure was setup to store mandated data over on premises. As per the business mandate, Embee finally recommended to keep initially created 1000 accounts on the on-premise infrastructure while the 29,000 new accounts were created and managed on Exchange Online in the cloud.
- Customization: One of the customer’s key requirements from the solution was customization:
- Unified Login Page: As per Microsoft’s solution, the URL’s to log into individual accounts were different for on premise and on cloud users. However, to maintain a simplified infrastructure the customer wanted a single URL. Embee’s team of engineers designed a unified single landing page to make it happen. On the backend, the credentials would be securely transferred to the login process – allowing both sets of users to seamlessly use the same URL.
- Self-Service Password Reset: One of the customer’s key challenges was the “Forgot Password” mechanism which would require administrators to reset account passwords in case a user lost access. Embee designed and implemented a self-service password reset (SSPR) module that allowed selected on-premise and on-cloud users to reset their passwords through a one-time password (OTP) sent to their registered mobile number. This resulted in time-saving for both users and administrators.
- Multi-Lingual Landing Pages: Catering to the language requirements of their users, the customer wanted their login page to be multi lingual. We at Embee have been able to design and implement the same as per the customer’s expectations.
Transitioning 29,000 users to the Cloud was a mammoth task but it was a larger one to ensure 100% business continuity and zero downtime during the transition. Embee managed to migrate the users successfully and rather effortlessly.
Impact of Our Solution
Embee’s expertise, experience and innovative solution helped the customer successfully undertake this ambitious project. The key benefits delivered included:
- A simplified collaboration landscape: This solution brought all its users onto a single well-integrated collaboration platform. The modern security features integrated into Office 365, Azure and Outlook enabled the customer to address their security concerns. Sensitive Government information is now protected through end-to-end encryption, policy-based access, multi-factor authentication and data loss prevention. The employees could also use the anytime-anywhere access provided by Outlook to respond to mails on the go, while the chat facility and unlimited storage enabled easy file sharing and quick collaboration among employees. IT administrators could easily manage all mailboxes through cloud and on-premise dashboards enabled as the newly introduced Exchange Management Console. Embee and Microsoft continue to provide necessary support to the customer.
- Cost-Savings through a hybrid solution: Embee’s hybrid on-premise and cloud approach helped the customer drive cost-savings while also bolstering security. Key accounts with sensitive data were stored on secure on-premise servers, while the remaining accounts were implemented in the cloud to benefit from the available intense security and scalability. The customer did not need to invest in hardware or disaster recovery for a vast majority of the accounts as this was accompanied with the cloud solution.
- Improved User Satisfaction: The latest features provided by Exchange and the additional enhancements made by Embee provided the customer’s employees with a new solution that was convenient, easy to use and customized to their needs. As more and more users transition to online mailboxes, the customer is able to see clear productivity improvements and faster response times.
Embee is a recognized leading technology partner in India with 34+ years of experience in delivering digital transformation to its 2000+ customers. We are uniquely positioned to empower businesses to be more with Cloud and Datacentre Technologies enabling them to leverage the latest resources on various cloud platforms while optimizing costs, through application modernization and serverless computing.
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