The Miami Herald Case Study

ABOUT THE CUSTOMER

The Miami Herald was first published on September 15, 1903. Today, Miami-Fort Lauderdale is the US’s ninth largest market, and The Miami Herald’s 2000 employees serve a daily readership of more than 300,000 print customers plus one million daily web site visitors from South Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

THE CHALLENGE

Keep Microsoft Exchange E-mail Flowing to Meet Publication Deadlines

In an industry full of high-pressure, can’t-miss deadlines, reliable e-mail communication between advertisers, contributors, reporters, and internal staff is absolutely critical.

“We were experiencing sporadic e-mail outages that lasted hours,” says Travis Farrell, IT Support Manager for The Miami Herald. “When e-mail is down, user productivity plummets and pressure to meet publication deadlines increases everyone’s stress levels.”

Mr. Farrell began to search for a product to enable his team to monitor e-mail flow from the perimeter to the core. When a colleague alerted him to Mailscape, “I knew immediately that my search was over,” says Mr. Farrell.

THE SOLUTION

Automate and Streamline Daily Exchange Tasks with Mailscape

“Microsoft Exchange is the world’s leading e-mail server for many reasons,” says JP Gundotra, principal architect at ENow, Inc., the developers of Mailscape. “It is stable, scalable, and easy to install. But keeping an Exchange server healthy according to Microsoft’s own best practices requires regular maintenance for which many Exchange administrators simply cannot find time.”

Mailscape evolved from ENow’s decade of experience in high-end Exchange consulting. “Our clients needed a single solution that would automate and simplify the multitude of daily Exchange management tasks,” says Mr. Gundotra. “We built Mailscape to make our clients’ lives—and ours—easier.”

Mailscape combines Exchange monitoring, reporting, and administration in a single intuitive solution that installs in minutes. It is a unique combination of features that ENow’s marketing team describes as “everything you need—and nothing you don’t—to keep Exchange healthy and happy so you can manage Exchange with a quick glance at a single screen.”

THE TEST DRIVE

The Miami Herald Puts Mailscape Under a Microscope

“Mailscape made us more proactive and increased our efficiency right out of the box,” says Mr. Farrell of The Miami Herald. “But we also had a few custom requirements: We still have one Exchange 2000 server, and we could never be certain if it was backed up; we needed to monitor our Symantec relay server; and we needed some advanced SMTP queue monitoring.”

ENow proudly describes Mailscape as being built by Exchange admins for Exchange admins. “It would also be correct to say that Mailscape is evolved by admins,” says Mr. Gundotra of ENow. “We welcome comments and suggestions from our customers and partners because we know that feedback from the market will improve the product for everyone.”

Mailscape’s development team worked with The Miami Herald’s IT support team to define requirements and then to test the new features. ‘Gold code’ for the custom enhancements was delivered in less than thirty days, and the new features are now included in the core product.

At the same time, Mr. Farrell’s team was busy incorporating Mailscape into their Exchange management processes.

“My team’s acceptance of Mailscape was immediate and total,” says Mr. Farrell. “It required virtually zero user training, while the improvements to our efficiency and to our ability to solve issues before they could impact our end users were realized from day one.”

THE RESULT:

The Miami Herald Gets ‘Mailscaped’

“We’ve been living with Mailscape for a couple of months now,” says Mr. Farrell, “and we could not be happier with the product.”

The Miami Herald originally wanted Mailscape for its one-look dashboard (pictured); but after spending time with the software, they quickly adopted all the other features.

“The one-look dashboard has enabled our data center operators (non-help desk, tier-1 support) to confirm at a glance that we are having a problem if a user calls,” continues Mr. Farrell. “From there, Mailscape’s aggregation and reporting of relevant data quickly points us to a solution— without the time-consuming difficulties of collecting information using conventional tools.”

Case in point: The Miami Herald’s Exchange server crashed one night during routine offline maintenance. When the server was rebooted, the information store stayed offline. Mailscape alerted the IT support team to the problem when the SMTP queues started to back up. Thanks to Mailscape, the on duty operator noticed the problem immediately and alerted support before the users in that store realized they had a mail flow problem.

“When I first visited ENow’s web site to read about Mailscape, I saw a quote from Lasse Pettersson, an Exchange MVP from Sweden, that said ‘Mailscape is a product that every Exchange admin on the planet will want to have,’” says Mr. Farrell. “After living with Mailscape for a short time, I wholeheartedly agree.”