Groupwise wins at ACC after flirt with Exchange

Cost of ownership is a key factor in Accident Compensation's decision to stick with Novell's Groupwise after testing Microsoft Exchange. Apart from cost, ACC's general manager for business technology, Henry Carr, says it had also been found that Groupwise was easier to implement than its Microsoft competitor.

Cost of ownership is a key factor in Accident Compensation's decision to stick with Novell's Groupwise after testing Microsoft Exchange.

Apart from cost, ACC's general manager for business technology, Henry Carr, says it had also been found that Groupwise was easier to implement than its Microsoft competitor. He refers to a Gartner Group report sponsored by workgroup leaders IBM, Novell, Netscape, Oracle and Microsoft showing the total cost of ownership of Groupwise was "substantially lower" than that of its competitors. "The cost per user for Exchange came out three times higher than the cost for Groupwise."

Carr also feels that the Groupwise product has a technical advantage — "it's a much more manageable product". Where Exchange would have needed 65 servers, Groupwise will run on only 10. The Novell product integrates better into the ACC environment, he says.

Carr discounts suggestions that ACC had consumed $500,000 on trials with Exchange. The $500,000 is, in fact, the budget for the entire project, he says. Microsoft had received no payment for Exchange. Payment would have been made if it had been deployed.

Carr emphasises that while ACC has decided on Group-wise, Microsft products still play a key role in the

organisation.

In fact, it was the deployment of the Microsoft products that prompted ACC to consider Exchange.

The corporation was, at the time, running Microsoft Mail at its head office and Da Vinci in its branches.

ACC went to the market for a proof of concept last November, and work began on a design architecture in January.

Sources say there were some issues at the time of integration between Exchange and Tivoli, and interoperability with Novell's NDS (Netware directory services).

In May the messaging project lost its sponsor, who moved to Valuation New Zealand.

A two-week Exchange pilot was subsequently halted for a month. It was again given the green light, but the plug was finally pulled on June 25.

Craig Wallace, of Advanced Technology Partners — a member of the project team — confirms that his company was asked to terminate activity on the Microsoft Exchange project.

"While we understood the business motivations behind ACC's decision, I'm very disappointed that the project was not able to be completed due to the revised ACC time lines," says Wallace.

"Neither the technology involved nor the status of the project have been questioned by ACC. We were on time, to budget and specification per the original ACC requirements."

q Gartner Group's study, "Workgroup and intranet computing: the total cost of ownership", examines issues associated with running workgroup applications.

Gartner vice-president Tom Austin says that, for the most part, the varied cost of ownership was based on how companies used the software, rather than on the software itself. "Some organisations may dedicate two engineers to support the top 12 senior [vice-presidents] — if the system is only used by those people, the costs are going to be enormous."

Exceptions to the findings were Groupwise and Exchange, which Gartner Group says lend themselves to planning, implementation and operations cost comparisons. It pegged the per-person, per-month cost of GroupWise at $US3.77, and Exchange at $US13.05 in a Netware environment. But Gartner says administrative and support costs for Groupwise may be buried in local area network (LAN) costs.

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