Construction giant Aveng solves on-premise email nightmare with Mimecast
Johannesburg – Aveng, one of South Africa’s largest construction and steel manufacturing groups, has implemented Mimecast across two key companies, Grinaker-LTA and Moolmans, giving them urgently-required archival and email hygiene. This will set the stage for Aveng to extend the use of Mimecast’s “software as a service” unified email management across the whole organisation.
The company has an extensive communications network connecting thousands of professionals with clients and partners. It uses Novell’s Groupwise collaboration suite, and has extremely high mail volumes: in the construction side of the business alone over 50,000 emails are exchanged every day.
The Aveng group’s Chief Information Office, John Koninis, was staring down the barrel of an IT strategy nightmare: what to do with the mounting storm of email that needed to be managed, monitored, and archived.
Koninis knew three things: Aveng’s core business was not setting up data centers to archive email; any email solution needed to be rock-solid for availability and compliance; and it would need to operate seamlessly with the Groupwise environment that the users were familiar with.
“We never had true archiving before – but what has happened with new legislation and governance requirements is that archival is essential, but it is clear that you must also be able to execute effectively on retrieval as well,” says Koninis. While Aveng was storing mail as required by good business practice, retrieval was not up to scratch: “It could take two or three days,” he says. It was exceptionally labour intensive, and the system the company was using did not integrate with Groupwise at all, requiring IT staff to intervene whenever it was needed to extract mail.
Koninis explains that the business case had become increasingly clear that the group needed a more comprehensive solution for email, but the only choice he was interested in looking at was to look for an outsourcing partner – doing it in-house was never a workable option. “We knew from the beginning that [email growth] was going to extend to a position where it was uncontrollable for us,” he says, and the group preferred to look for outside experts. “If you believe you’re an expert in everything you have a problem,” Koninis comments dryly.
The Mimecast project had three specific objectives: to control email going into and out of the company, to comply with governance regulations, and to enable standardised stationary and marketing/compliance messages (headers and footers).
The Aveng implementation involved integrating Mimecast with the Novell NetWare environment. Mimecast’s core infrastructure is based on its own carrier-class technology platform, which in turn is based on open industry standards and with powerful Web-based interfaces. Users see no change to how they access email as messages are passed from the Mimecast servers (which do scanning and archival) to Aveng’s GroupWise servers and then on to the clients. Users access the mail archives through the Web console, which provides virtually instant response times on searches.
A significant advantage to Aveng of hosting its mail through Mimecast is reducing local data storage – email correspondents often send large CAD file attachments, which instead of being replicated to every recipient, are now stored as single attachments in Mimecast’s “bottomless” data centres, and are not transferred to users until needed.
The most telling success for Aveng has been in message extraction when there are investigations or disputes. “It’s so easy to extract the data. It’s so quick. It doesn’t sit for three or four days.”
This is a major business advantage, because construction projects require large numbers of people from many organisations to work in concert, so quickly resolving disagreements or queries as to who committed to what ensures no frustrating hold-ups.
For Aveng the future is clear – let experts take care of non-core technology services, especially when shared infrastructure and softare as a service allows enormous economies of scale. The Mimecast solution solves its immediate business needs, and gives it clear visibility and predictability on the long-term costs of managing its email.
Mimecast delivers cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange, including archiving, continuity and security. By unifying disparate and fragmented email environments into one holistic solution that is always available from the cloud, Mimecast minimizes risk and reduces cost and complexity, while providing total end-to-end control of email. Founded in the United Kingdom in 2003, Mimecast serves approximately 4,000 customers worldwide and has offices in Europe, North America, Africa and the Channel Islands.
Aveng is a holding company with regional giants such as Grinaker-LTA, McConnell-Dowell and Moolmans in its construction and mining cluster, and Lennings Rail, Duraset, Steeledale and Trident Steel in its manufacturing cluster. It has extensive operations in Southern Africa, and Australasia/Pacific, with 2008 revenues of almost R30-billion ($3-billion) and over 28,000 employees.
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