Connecticut town adopts e-mail service

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A local government in Connecticut has unplugged its Microsoft Exchange server and adopted a software-as-a-service approach to e-mail and groupware applications.

The town of Stratford, Conn., about an hour’s drive from New York City, has deployed InfoStreet’s StreetSmart suite as its e-mail solution. InfoStreet hosts and manages the StreetSmart software, and users access StreetSmart applications via a Web browser.

In 2005, an overtaxed e-mail server prompted the town to consider a new e-mail platform. David Wright, Stratford’s information technology manager, said the town had looked at upgrading Exchange Server 5.5, but found that the cost would have devoured its technology improvement budget. “It didn’t seem like the best way to spend money,” he said.

In addition to an e-mail server replacement, the town also sought Intranet services and the ability to provide remote e-mail access. Town officials evaluated a number of different vendors before selecting InfoStreet.

StreetSmart lets on-site and off-site employees access e-mail and collaborate via such tools as shared calendars and automated meeting invitations.
Stratford’s IT department planned to migrate to InfoStreet on a department-by-department basis. But the schedule changed when the town’s Exchange server crashed in mid-July. Wright said the server couldn’t be rebuilt “in a short time so we decided to convert over to InfoStreet in a 24-hour period.”

With e-mail flowing again, the town did rebuild the Exchange server to retrieve historical e-mail messages, employee contact and calendar information. The town shut down that server at the end of August.

Since deploying StreetSmart’s e-mail capability, the town has gradually activated other Intranet functions, Wright said.

Siamak Farah, founder and chief executive officer of InfoStreet, said his company has only focused on local government in the past year. “It’s a market we are very much interested in,” he noted, adding that the company is talking with other municipal governments.

He said that an organization that operates in multiple locations, such as a municipal government, is a prime candidate for his company’s software. He said multiple offices can connect to InfoStreet’s centralized service rather than link to an in-house e-mail server.

Stratford operates 14 town buildings, excluding the school system.

InfoStreet will provide e-mail archiving for its customers starting in mid-December. He said the company’s e-mail archiving service will provide a centralized repository for customers, noting that many local governments have laws regarding e-mail message retention.

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