The IBM Lotus Notes software that the former Bank Degroof was working with was ready for replacement. The IT department opted for Microsoft Exchange Server because this application is better suited to organising the employees’ workplaces more efficiently. The possibilities for integration with other applications that the bank uses, such as Office and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, proved decisive too. The project was the foundation for a smooth email migration following the merger with brokerage firm Petercam, which was already using Exchange.
In October 2015, Bank Degroof merged with brokerage firm, Petercam. This meant lots of integration work for the new Bank Degroof Petercam’s IT teams. One of the most urgent projects was the email management. Together with Xylos, the IT department migrated some 1.000 users to a new domain name, degroofpetercam.com, in Microsoft Exchange.
The former Bank Degroof’s IT department had already decided to switch its email from IBM Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Server. ‘Our previous software was quite outdated so we had to choose: upgrade or switch’, explains Steven Claes, IT Project Manager at Bank Degroof Petercam. ‘We were able to organise the workplaces more efficiently with Exchange and Outlook, and our colleagues at Petercam were working with Outlook already too, which made the email migration a bit easier.’
The improved efficiency comes mainly from the possibilities that Exchange and Outlook have for integration with other applications. ‘We work with the whole Office package and Microsoft CRM, and want to transfer various applications from Lotus Notes to SharePoint’, says Steven Claes. ‘So of course it’s better if you can integrate all applications with each other.’
In an initial phase, Degroof Petercam migrated more than 1.000 Belgian email accounts to Microsoft Exchange. Then it was time for other countries to follow suit. ‘Our colleagues in Spain and France are working with Outlook now too, which improves our collaboration. We’re going to implement the integration for our colleagues in Luxembourg soon too’, says Steven Claes. ‘Their contact details appear in our internal address books and we can look up their diaries to schedule meetings.’
As well as the integration possibilities, the ease of use is also a big benefit. ‘Our colleagues who have already made the switch to Outlook are very positive about it. Most of them are already very familiar with Microsoft products’, continues Steven Claes. ‘They’re happy that they have the same ease of use at work as they do at home with their personal email.’
Bank Degroof Petercam chose Xylos following its fairly traditional selection procedure. ‘We drew up a list of specifications and received various quotes’, explains Steven Claes. ‘Xylos had lots of experience with similar migration projects, and offered the right level of support with good value.’
Bank Degroof Petercam was allocated a project team and the collaboration ran very smoothly. ‘There was a very clear distribution of tasks and each phase was formally validated’, continues Steven Claes. ‘The team from Xylos supported us with the architecture and designed the server software. We also defined the migration approach for different types of users together. They took care of the tools required for the migration and implemented the software together with our people. This whole process ran very smoothly, in an almost industrial way.’
Because a migration to a new technology has a significant impact on users, Degroof Petercam also called on Xylos Learning to provide a specific training plan to ensure a smooth transition. ‘The support consisted of three components’, says Steven Claes. ‘Reference material and a user guide, brief sessions in which a trainer from Xylos explained the difference between Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, and specific processes for our employees who use quite advanced features in Outlook.’
A collaboration with Xylos is highly recommended by Steven Claes. ‘They really threw themselves into the role of trusted advisor. For example, we’re now looking at the further consolidation of our Active Directories and how we can archive our email traffic more efficiently. There’s no doubt we’ll call on Xylos again to make us another offer.’
‘Outlook provides more options for organising the workplace more efficiently thanks to its extensive possibilities for integration with other applications.’