Messaging (email), calendars & collaboration

As part of my charge at MCNC, I’m responsible for the corporate IT infrastructure for our organization of ~45 people. We have a hodge-podge of software for collaboration — IMAP email daemon, MeetingMaker calendar, a plethora of IM clients, standard Microsoft Office clients and a Microsoft file server environment. We need to replace our IMAP daemon as it has some issues, the calendar software is not everyone’s favorite, and we email too many files around. We have experimented with Google Apps for your Domain, and that’s very promising, but not quite there. I really think it needs IMAP support. There’s a good article in the current issue of the Economist magazine that highlights Arizona State’s use of Gmail for students. I think, though that in the next 12-18 months, we’re going to see a lot from Google in this space. My colleague Paul Jones also wrote about this in his blog recently.

We’re looking right now at a product called Zimbra, and it is promising, though a bit sluggish in performance, I think. It’s inexpensive, though, and might hold us until we could actually outsource much of this to Google or someone like that. Organizations like mine don’t need to be spending their resources supporting email, calendaring, IM, etc, and need to focus on their core mission.

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