Quantum Marine Engineering, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., custom makes boat stabilizers, thrusters and other hydraulic equipment for yachts all over the world. Staff members rely on e-mail to communicate with customers. IT Director Michael Bartlett tells IncTechnology.com how e-mail archiving helped the company manage mailboxes and facilitated e-mail retrieval on demand.
Elizabeth Wasserman: How does your business use information technology?
Michael Bartlett: The single technology that the owners of Quantum have decided and maintained as critical to our business is e-mail. Our market is worldwide. We build custom equipment that is essentially for boat builders. A lot of communication is from the sales side and engineering side, between our engineers and ship builders, and between our engineering staff and captains and those on board. These often have to do with specifications on board, changes in specifications back and forth and, because sales are worldwide and we’re driven by e-mail, keeping records of who said what to whom and when is critical for us.
Wasserman: So what problems did you encounter?
Bartlett: Everybody wants to grow their mailboxes without restraint. They want to keep all of their inbound and outbound e-mail as a record. Because technical specifications are spent back and forth and projects stretch of several years, sometimes staff changes and then you have a point of dispute with the customer. The original specification was half inch. At some point, it changed to three-quarters of an inch. And we have to know who changed what and when. Some mailboxes grew to 2 gigs. At that point, we started have problem with our Exchange performance and the individual users’ performance — especially if they were mobile users.
Wasserman: Why did you decide on an archiving solution?
Bartlett: To have a permanent record that is separate from the Exchange server. We decided to use the GFI MailArchiver. This way, the e-mail is not deleted, it can’t be manipulated, and we can search it and track things down. A huge reason is to keep the size of the individual Exchange mailboxes down. We have a default limit of 250 megs for individual e-mail boxes. Once people understand we have a separate archive of all e-mails, they realize they don’t have to save everything. It keeps the database smaller and it has improved the Exchange system performance.
Wasserman: How has this helped your business?
Bartlett: The system we’re using is searchable. Our administrators can search the whole database. Each department head has the ability to search through their department e-mails. We had a moment already when the owners realized that this was a good move. We had one of those situations where a product arrived at a shipyard and the specifications were not right. We had to find the e-mail where the specifications were changed. The engineers on both ends had made changes. I was able to find this e-mail in five minutes. That proved the worth of the system in everyone’s eyes.