Zyg Furmaniuk, Managing PartnerCIOs want the best tools for their enterprises. Microsoft Exchange/Office 365 is often on the top of the list. Calendars and schedules are critical components of daily workflow, yet are often neglected during migration. This omission presents CIOs with big adoption roadblock once users realize they will have to recreate scheduling data into Exchange. Today’s tech-savvy users balk at data and productivity loss. They demand migrations preserve crucial calendar data: guest lists, responses, resource and conference room bookings, and recurrence “Calendar migration requires multiple steps to make the data useful: migrate events and recreate the guest responses and resource bookings,” says Zyg Furmaniuk, Managing Partner of Sumatra Development. “We re-create meetings with connections to guests and resources, saving the enterprise all that time in recreating valid meetings and booking resources.”
“We began by moving Meeting Maker calendar data into Exchange in 2001.” Meeting Maker data format did not lend itself to even simple migrations. So, the company decrypted the server export format and developed server-side methods to insert their data into Exchange. During the migration, Sumatra successfully retained guest lists, the guest responses, recurrence patterns and the conference room bookings. Their product offering expanded to include other calendar servers: Oracle, Zimbra, Exchange-to-Office 365, and Apple iCalendar. “Our goal is to make the migrated calendars resemble the legacy calendars so most end users don’t realize that IT swapped the back-end system for Exchange,” adds Furmaniuk. “We keep our software updated and support our customers throughout their migration. We emphasize the amount of preparation that needs to go into a migration to make it successful.”
“Other calendar migration methods into Exchange enable users to see their calendar in Outlook, but disconnect those events from any other users and the resources,” he adds. “By paying close attention to Microsoft Exchange APIs and working server-side rather than client-side Sumatra gets results that are better than anyone else can offer.” Sumatra so far has done this for 10,000 user corporations, and for similarly-sized universities and government laboratories.
Our goal is to make the migrated calendars resemble the legacy calendars so most end users don’t realize that IT swapped the back-end system for Exchange
Apart from proper planning, Sumatra emphasizes early testing. Microsoft’s continuous product evolution and the diversity of Exchange environments mandates that customers know and prepare for issues prior to the migration. In such a scenario, “We discover sites running several anti-virus software suites that degrade migration performance, sites that block applications that were meant to do the job they hired us for,” explains Furmaniuk.
“Knowing where the problem areas are in advance makes the difference between a success and a resume-generating failure.” The company briefs its clients about the risks they might face when doing full-state calendar migration regardless of how well they have planned. In case of problems during migration Sumatra designed their process to be able to selectively remove only the data they have put in leaving everything else in place. It keeps clients from having to revert to back-ups. Customers term Sumatra’s migration solution is user-friendly because when their end-user interacts with migrated calendars, they conduct real meetings that are updatable and propagate through the organization.
Sumatra’s innovation is calendar and scheduling-centric. They have worked with a business school on server-side methods for publishing calendar data to students and staff on a selective and on-demand basis. “Today, there are very few legacy systems left that we haven’t figured out how to get into Exchange,” notes Furmaniuk. “In calendar migrations you can pick any two of the three of: fast, high quality, or inexpensive. Sumatra only does high-quality.”