Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: Metafore Technologies from Montreal, Quebec

Describe the solution or service provided?
It was the objective of Saint Elizabeth Health Care to upgrade its Exchange 2003 Mail environments to Exchange 2010. At the same time it also wanted to migrate and consolidate four email domains into one AD domain to support enhanced Blackberry services with BES integration into Exchange. This included 6,653 email boxes. The upgrades, consolidation and migrations needed to be seamless in order to NOT negatively impact patient care with this national organization. Metafore provided the professional services required to assist Saint Elizabeth with the design, plan and execution of these requirements. Metafore also provided significant knowledge transfer to the client team so that they were able to support the environment operationally, moving forward. This initiative required collaboration, commitment and perseverance from both the Saint Elizabeth and Metafore teams.

What makes this solution original and innovative?
Saint Elizabeth needed to bring four email domains together under one AD domain as well as upgrade users to keep current with technology. Through the implementation of SCCM, we reached each end user to achieve better management and deployment of software going forward: Project Management, communications, resource scheduling; Discovery & health check of current Exchange environment; Prepare, develop and design Exchange 2010 architecture; Prepare AD for Exchange 2010; Install and configure Windows Server 2008 R2 on 8 -10 servers; Install Exchange 2010 environment including HA functionality; Configuration of all mail services including message routing, connectivity of OWA and Outlook Anywhere, SSL certificate and migration of recipient policies; Install and configure Trend Micro Scan Mail on Exchange Servers; Assist with BES, Malware and backup configuration under new environment; Test/POC of user migrations and mail flow; Migration of mailboxes (6653); Migration of mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to 2010 (Estimate 70 mail boxes per day); Migration from 4 older domains to one new Exchange 2010; Documentation; Knowledge transfer; Migration of Symantec Enterprise Vault; Build and testing for Outlook for migrated devices. Together, we brought multiple AD domains into a single AD domain – simplifying administration of Active Directory.  A great success for our customer.

What were the benefits to the customer’s sales, revenues, and/or efficiency? Provide measurable evidence.
This solution is innovative because it steers away from the norm. In many companies, they manage multiple domains, which is more complex for the business. Saint Elizabeth, in alignment with its vision, moved to one domain to minimize management. This simplified employee access to information pertaining to work they do across multiple service points. Employees now have a single unified identity to connect to Saint Elizabeth and gain access to information pertinent to their job. Consolidation of email was a piece associated with that. Instead of employees having multiple usernames and passwords to get information, it brought them into a single username and password environment. One domain reduced helpdesk calls by 20% and simplified the support requirements for these multiple domain users. The single domain also enabled self-service password reset for employees – again reducing calls into helpdesk for user IDs and passwords. Saint Elizabeth was able to use the same staff and team on its helpdesk to provide higher level services to the environment. This shifted tasks away from one area to another which provides higher value to the business. This new solution is critical as it enables the Saint Elizabeth staff to be more agile and focused on its mission and vision, which is to share its talent and wisdom to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and families in their homes and communities and, to honor the human face of health care, respectively.

How did your organization achieve customer satisfaction and how was this demonstrated by the customer?
Saint Elizabeth has identified Metafore as its partner in this area of IT development. We work hard to understand Saint Elizabeth’s business, the base technology platforms in play, and their service and infrastructure development expectations. Saint Elizabeth has agreed to offer referrals when possible and it continues to work closely with Metafore in a highly competitive environment. They have choices and Metafore is their choice.

Describe the benefits of this solution to your organization in terms of new skills, certifications, products, and services.
Metafore has, in 2013, more firmly embraced (among others) Microsoft technologies as a spring board investment of over $1M. Our competencies have skyrocketed and our loyal customers like Saint Elizabeth will continue to benefit from this focus. Additionally, Metafore keeps a keen eye on the up and coming disruptive technologies in the marketplace to ensure value, optimization and ROI.

How did the solution improve your customer’s ability to serve its internal and external clients?
Metafore continues to benefit from this solution by providing high level consulting services on complex projects like the Saint Elizabeth Exchange project. Our end-to-end solution which encompasses software, services and project management, gave Metafore the opportunity to provide Saint Elizabeth with one single point of contact for all of their IT requirements. Metafore benefits from this opportunity as we continue to expand our solutions value to other health care clients. The business benefits to Saint Elizabeth resulted in simplifying the support requirements for these multiple domain users calling helpdesk by 20%, while also giving the migrated domains the ability for self-service password reset for employees – again reducing calls into helpdesk for user IDs and passwords. Saint Elizabeth was able to use the same staff and team on its helpdesk to provide higher level services to the environment. This shifted tasks away from one area to another, which provides higher value to the business.

How does the solution or service go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
Like any partnership, there are opportunities for challenge. However, in our projects with Saint Elizabeth, we stuck to a plan and worked closely with the Saint Elizabeth IT team. Honesty and perseverance aligned with commitment and a focus on customer excellence has led to the development of a strong partnership.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
Saint Elizabeth reduced the number of physical servers in the data centre because they reduced the number of domains. The combination of retiring the Active Directory and mail servers, and reducing the physical servers enabled Saint Elizabeth to take advantage of virtualization. This allowed an overall reduction in rack space and a reduction in power and physical space which delivered a solution that furthered Saint Elizabeth’s green and environmentally friendly plans.

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