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|Headquarters||Uusikaupunki, south-western coast of Finland|
|Situation||Mixed environment: MS Exchange with Outlook and webaccess in combination with Horde webmail|
|Solution||Zarafa Collaboration Platform for 800 users|
|Further requirements||Sustainable open email & calendar solution with reliable local software support and helpdesk services|
|Local partner for this project||Verkkotaito Oy|
|Advantages||Local support services and local language interface, cost efficiency, mobility|
The city and municipality of Uusikaupunki are located in the Finland Proper region, in south-western Finland. The municipality has a population of 15,828 (31 January 2011) and covers an area of 1,932.68 km2 (746.21 mile2), of which 1,430.07 km2 (552.15 mile2) is inland water. The language of the municipality is Finnish. Its name in both Finnish and Swedish (Nystad) literally means "new town".
The original name of the main village that was incorporated into Uusikaupunki was Kalainen (Finnish for "having plenty of fish"). In 1617, the town of Uusikaupunki was founded, with the rights of commerce, by decree of Gustav II Adolf, the king of Sweden. In 1721, Uusikaupunki hosted the signing of the Peace of Nystad, which ended the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia.
It was an important port for commerce and fishing up to the 19th century, and as of the latter half of the 20th century, retained a significant ship building industry.
“I believe that the implementation of Zarafa by the city of Uusikaupunki shows the software’s ability to meet the demands of public administration, demonstrating that it is a noteworthy alternative to the software that traditionally dominates the markets, even in Finland. In Central Europe, many large enterprises and governmental organisations already use Zarafa”.
Tommi Valtonen, CEO of Verkkotaito
In 2009, the city of Uusikaupunki began researching the market to find a new email solution. Over the previous years, its communications requirements had completely changed. The system needed to be updated to meet the demands posed by the public administration, and to communicate effectively with the citizens.
The city approached this research of the market with an open mind: there was no real preference for a particular software vendor or software package. However, the city did want an email solution with an open architecture. Using open source software would enable the city to avoid lock-in and to benefit from both cost savings and easy integration with other software applications.
The city of Uusikaupunki considered both basic email solutions and full groupware solutions such as Horde, MS Exchange and Zimbra. The city first became aware of Zarafa during an OVI event in the city of Turku. The Zarafa Collaboration Platform appeared to be a very interesting alternative because of its modern web interface. Zarafa also offered truly versatile functionalities on a Finnish language interface. “Another distinguishing aspect of Zarafa was the local software support in Finland, specifically in Turku,” says Olli-Pekka Kari, IT Manager for the city of Uusikaupunki.
But the city did not rush into a decision. Before making the final decision, the city’s IT staff and a pilot user group both tested the software. These tests confirmed that the email and calendar software provided the required functionality and usability.
Before the solution was implemented in March 2010, Zarafa’s local partner Verkkotaito organised training for some 350 of the municipality’s 900 employees. The training focused on the basic use of the software, aiming for a smooth transition of the users to the new email system.
Over just one weekend, the data and emails of around 700 users were migrated to the Zarafa Collaboration Platform (ZCP). When the basic healthcare cooperation was expanded at the beginning of 2010, an additional group of 70 users, who previously worked with Exchange, was transferred to the Uusikaupunki organisation. As ZCP seamlessly integrates with Outlook, this transfer posed no difficulties at all. The city now relies on a single, uniform system, with employees using only Zarafa Webaccess from the workstations. All email is archived and backup copied on a central server.
“Since the implementation in March, we have not had to perform a single client update for email on the workstations. With the current, centralised solution, we are able to enhance our own maintenance operations. And with the centralised data storage, users can access their email more easily and with greater flexibility, regardless of their location,” explains Kari.