Lagan Construction implements Mimosa Systems' NearPoint for email archiving and legal compliance

Lagan Construction uses Mimosa Systems' NearPoint email archiving product to manage email mailboxes, increase search capability and to track legal compliance record of work won.

Lagan Construction implemented Mimosa Systems' NearPoint email archiving product after a chaotic email situation threatened to cost the Ireland-based business millions in lost contracts. Lagan deployed NearPoint -- which is estimated to pay for itself within a month in terms of staff time saved -- as part of a larger, £200,000 project of upgraded EMC storage-area network (SAN) and server virtualisation.

The international construction firm has 1,000 email users at offices across the UK and overseas. According to Jim Fennell, Lagan's information systems manager, email is a critical component because its messages comprise the legal record of work won and carried out by the organization.

Having everything in one place and to be able to discover all communications from one interface is incredibly useful.
Jim Fennell
information systems managerLagan Construction
"Tenders for jobs are conducted by email and we have to have legal compliance, not to any specific law other than the contracts are effectively drawn up in email and we must be able to find things," he explained. "It's an environment where we must keep everything."

Under Lagan Construction's existing Microsoft Corp. Outlook 2003 regime, users were given an email mailbox size limit and were expected to save .pst files themselves. This meant they often saved .pst files to USB drives or other parts of their hard drive, which made it difficult for IT staff to find things. Users were also spending far too much time managing their own email as they struggled to keep within the mailbox limit. In addition, any email that had been deleted more than three months ago was unrecoverable because the company operated a three-month tape cycle.

"We had to look in multiple locations, and searching for .pst files is difficult and time consuming at the best of times," Fennell said. ".PST files were a nightmare. Neither the IT team nor the end users could manage them."

Lagan Construction implemented Mimosa Systems' NearPoint to manage its mailboxes as part of a wider project that saw two new EMC Celerra NX4s installed to store email archives that are mirrored between its two Belfast offices on a 100 Mbps link to provide disaster recovery (DR) capability. This came alongside a project that saw the virtualisation of 29 physical servers onto seven Hewlett-Packard ProLiant DL380 G5 servers using VMware.

The key benefits for Lagan Construction have been that users' mailboxes are now unlimited in size because the product automatically archives mail, .pst files and attachments. User management of mailboxes has been eliminated and search is much simpler, Fennell said.

"Having everything in one place and to be able to discover all communications from one interface is incredibly useful," he said. "Now we're not getting calls about lost emails or arguing over the size of mailboxes. For our power email users, it's saving 15 minutes a day and we're paying about £30 a year per user. On the basis of that productivity gain alone, it pays for the annual licence cost in one month."

Lagan Construction looked at products from a list of vendors that also included CA, Quest Software, Symantec and Waterford Technologies. But Mimosa Systems' disaster recovery option, which allows recovery of a mailbox or storage group in a couple of clicks, cemented the construction's firm decision.

"All of them do email archiving and the pricing was similar, but the feature we really liked on Mimosa was the disaster recovery feature," Fennell said. "We can restore a mailbox or a storage group with just a couple of clicks. It's like having an extra level of backup for nothing."

The decision to go with EMC for storage for the email system was also easy for Lagan Construction because it's already an EMC shop. "We played it safe," Fennell said.

When asked what Mimosa Systems could do better in its product, Fennell said making some of the interfaces more intuitive, as one search filed gave options that started in 1909.

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