Interchange Group - Case Study - Oxford University
University Medical School picks Interchange to deliver
BlackBerry GroupWise solution for mobile access
in 1976 to provide mission-critical enterprise customer
service solutions and with over fifteen years experience
of designing and implementing mobile data solutions, Interchange
Group offers a full range of integrated voice and mobile
data solutions and services.
IT department of the Oxford University Medical
School, led by Dr. Nigel Rudgewick-Brown, Director
of Information Management, was running out of
options. For months they had been trying to solve
what seemed like a straightforward problem: how
to give staff mobile access to Novell GroupWise
email and calendar.
The department had tried using PDAs, but the users
simply didn't like having to go back to their
desks for manual synchronisation. Further, they
found that the battery life was wanting on most
PDAs. They also flirted briefly with remote access
via mobile phones, but the user interface just
The problem was a serious one. Faculty members,
who spend the majority of their time in lecture
halls, research facilities and the wards of the
John Radcliffe Hospital, felt cut off from the
School's GroupWise system when they were away
from their offices. The problem was even worse
for senior staff that travel frequently to medical
conferences around the world.
Scheduling conflicts were the biggest source of
daily headaches, followed fairly closely by email
access. The problem was especially acute among
senior faculty members, who would make appointments
while out of the office, only to discover that
their secretary had scheduled a meeting at the
one day at a GroupWise workshop, Rudgewick-Brown
attended a presentation by the Interchange Group,
a UK IT company specialising in mobile data solutions.
The speaker explained how BlackBerry® devices
could be used to give mobile workers remote access
to GroupWise email and calendar. "Right away,
I turned to my colleague and said 'that's exactly
what we need'," remarks Rudgewick-Brown.
Rudgewick-Brown could plainly see that BlackBerry
could "solve lots of little problems, immediately,"
as he puts it. When BlackBerry Enterprise Server
for Novell GroupWise was released in the UK, Rudgewick-Brown
engaged with the Interchange Group and his carrier
to organise a trial.
installed the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and
Rudgewick-Brown selected BlackBerry 7290
handhelds for 10 members of the School's IT department.
"We wanted to test it first with technically
savvy users, just in case," explains Rudgewick-Brown.
"But our fears were totally unfounded. It
was immediately obvious that BlackBerry was the
way forward. A no-brainer - just right for our
The Interchange installation of the BlackBerry
Enterprise Server was "a piece of cake,"
says Rudgewick-Brown. "It's very stable,
very reliable. We have had no issues with it at
On the strength of the trial, the IT department
rapidly rolled out BlackBerry to a first group
of 36 senior faculty members. "We gave them
10-15 minutes training in the basics, just to
get them up and running. Very few of them ever
came back for any more help - they figured out
how to use it right away.
Another benefit is that the BlackBerry solution
is highly scalable - the School expects to increase
the size of its deployment to some 200-250 BlackBerry
devices in 2006.
has put an end to scheduling conflicts.
"People really like having a real-time
view of their diary. In fact, the personal
organisation functions, including the address
book, have turned out to be the features
that have won everyone over," according
Next on the list is email, which is particularly
appreciated by travelling staff members.
"They no longer have the inconvenience
of needing to find a PC and a network connection
to remotely log into our GroupWise system,"
comments Rudgewick-Brown. "Some of
them can actually get by without a laptop
on short trips."
End users are not the only group that is
pleased with BlackBerry. The IT department
is equally satisfied. "The devices
are really easy to administer and manage.
Since rolling out the first devices, there
hasn't been an increase in calls to the
help desk. "The deployment of BlackBerry
hasn't added to our workload at all",
"Another thing we like about the BlackBerry
is that we can manage the handhelds remotely.
Users don't have to fiddle with installing
this or configuring that. The IT department
can push out software and provisioning updates
to the devices over the air," explains
Rudgewick-Brown. BlackBerry also meets all
of the School's security requirements. Rudgewick-Brown
appreciates being able to remotely disable
a lost device by sending a kill packet over
the air. "It's quite a powerful feature,"
When asked if BlackBerry has changed user
behaviour, Rudgewick-Brown mentions what
he calls corridor working. "I regularly
see faculty members using the BlackBerry
device as they walk around the hospital,"
But perhaps the most surprising tale is
that of an administrator, who doesn't have
a BlackBerry device but chooses to borrow
one when she goes on holiday so she can
keep on top of email when she has some downtime.
"For her there's nothing worse than
coming back to a pile of unanswered mail
- with BlackBerry this is a thing of the
past" concludes Rudgewick-Brown.
Mobile Solutions: Products and Services
Office Products & Services (Mobile eMail
and PIM, including BlackBerry)
Internet (generic browsing, Intranet, Portals
-XDA and PDA but also BlackBerry)
/ Wireless Devices including portable Bluetooth
scanners and printers
Remote System Administration
Mobile Data Collection
testing, installation, and support of 3rd party
applications and products for BlackBerry, Microsoft,
and UNIX operating systems.
of existing applications
Worker Applications / Wireless Office
Information, Content Management, and Collaboration
Flowfinity Solution Development
Service and CRM
Engineer and Field Operations Portal
Recording & Billing
Consultancy (Technical; Requirements; Business
Process; Change Management; Exploitation)·
and Microsoft device and infrastructure installation
Implementation / User Training
Needs Audits· Data and Network
Mobile Data Applications Hosting with Integrated