3 tips on e-mail consolidation

State government IT managers who have led e-mail projects have pointers for agencies facing on-premise consolidation or moving e-mail to the cloud.

Start small

Chad Kirkpatrick, former CIO of Arizona and now managing partner at B2G Solutions, advises IT departments to launch an e-mail project — whether in-house or cloud-based — with a couple of agencies that have expressed interest in the new system. He also suggested bringing up public safety agencies last.

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Consolidation at the crossroads

“Prove you can alleviate their concerns, get your wins with the other agencies, and then come back for them,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick has experience with e-mail pilot projects. As Arizona CIO, he conducted a “bake-off” between cloud and on-premise e-mail solutions groups.

Communicate widely

An e-mail consolidation is at least as much about people as it is about technology. Keeping everyone in the loop helps ease the migration path.

“We put a heavy emphasis on sharing as much information as often as we could to a diverse group of stakeholders,” said Heidi Brownell, project manager for Washington’s Shared Services Email Project.

The e-mail project team met periodically — once or twice a month — with different groups including Microsoft Exchange administrators, agency implementation coordinators and agency CIOs.

Consider tiered services

Florida CIO David Taylor said large agencies may find value in consolidating and maintaining more than one e-mail system. He said an organization could create a very low-cost, low-feature solution for employees who rarely use e-mail and a full-featured system for power users.

The low-cost tier could meet the needs of a large group of users and lower the overall cost of providing e-mail services.

Florida, however, didn't have that opportunity because of the state-mandated single-system approach. He said the state might have saved more money had stratification been on the table.

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.


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