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 Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital loves Netmail


Email is a critical business application for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, whose email users have come to rely on it as an essential part of day-to-day communications at the hospital.


Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital chose Netmail to migrate quickly to Microsoft Exchange with minimal disruption to their user community. The hospital is now relying on the Netmail Platform to manage their email system on a daily basis.


Netmail helped Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital migrate to Microsoft Exchange by archiving all email, appointments, tasks, notes, and address books from GroupWise, and injecting a limited amount of email into the new Exchange mailbox to keep it small and manageable.


Netmail provided Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital with an email archiving and migration solution that allowed them to migrate from GroupWise to Exchange with minimal impact on their user community. The solution also helped them consolidate personal archives, standardize the location of the archives, and the policy-based retention features of Netmail Archive will help them keep their new email environment from becoming bloated in the future.


Located in Plattsburgh, New York, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center (CVPH) is a regional medical center recognized as a leader in providing exceptional quality care and improving health and wellness of North Country residents. Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital was created in 1972 by the merger of the private Physician's Hospital with Champlain Valley Hospital, a charitable hospital operated by the Grey Nuns. As CVPH Medical Center, it is currently a not-for-profit facility incorporating a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and community outreach care services.

Critical Requirements

  • Migrate the medical center’s email messaging system from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange with minimal impact on the user community.
  • Archive all email, appointments, tasks, notes, and address books from GroupWise for all users and make the data accessible.
  • Inject a limited amount of email into the new Exchange mailbox to keep it small and manageable.

Business Challenge

In the spring of 2010, CVPH decided to replace its Novell GroupWise email system with Microsoft Exchange. Citing the lack of GroupWise integration with critical applications and a lack of confidence in the future of the platform, the IT team at CVPH began evaluating the migration tools on the market.

Email is a critical business application for CVPH, whose email users have come to rely on it as an essential part of day-to-day communications at the hospital. Initially CVPH contemplated performing a phased approach to the migration by keeping both GroupWise and Exchange in place. “Co-existence definitely caught our attention because we were hesitant to move over. Moving from a familiar GroupWise system to an unfamiliar Exchange system was going to introduce an enormous amount of change to the user community at CVPH and we wanted to make sure we did it right. But in the end, co-existence wasn’t a good solution for us,” says Justin Miller, the Senior Network Specialist at CVPH.

"We considered the Quest tool, but at the end of the migration, you just threw the tool away. You paid all that money just to migrate. With Netmail Migrate and Netmail Archive, we quickly realized that after the migration we were going to have an enterprise-level email archiving solution in place, and email archiving was definitely another project on our IT to-do list. What’s more, the cost of the two products was comparable," says Robert Evans, the Telecommunications and Operations Manager at CVPH.

The Netmail Archive Email Archiving and Migration Solution

The GroupWise system at CVPH was extremely bloated. There were email accounts that weren’t being archived and numerous personal archives scattered throughout the system. With the help of Netmail's Professional Services Team, Netmail Archive was deployed to move the bulk of email messages and associated data out of GroupWise and into a centralized archiving system where the messages would be accessible through WebAccess. Netmail Archive was also deployed on the new Exchange system to allow users to access archived messages from their Outlook clients. Netmail Archive was also used to locate personal archives and transfer them into the centralized archiving system without having to convert them to Outlook PST files, which resulted in significant time savings for CVPH. Finally, instead of simply transferring the archived data into the new Exchange environment, a subset of data was injected and email retention policies were implemented to prevent the new system from becoming bloated in the future.

Having completed the archiving process, the migration from GroupWise to Exchange took place over a weekend. “We set aside a few days of preparation before the go-live date, but it was pretty transparent to our user community, who are still talking about how simple it was. Even our CEO praised the migration as being seamless,” says Evans.

The Importance of Preparation, Communication and Training

Critical to the success of CVPH’s migration project was the preparation, communication, and training provided by Evans and his team. Communication between CVPH’s internal team and the hospital community was extremely important to the success of the project, as was the adoption of the new email system by the user community. To ensure that success, one of the first things they did was move the IT team to Exchange. Coming from a GroupWise background, Exchange was not very familiar to the team, but once everyone in IT was on Exchange, they implemented a full training schedule and customized the training materials provided by Netmail to suit the hospital’s environment.

“At first, I was doing weekly communications and then two to three times weekly communications containing any significant information or training that needed to go out to the teams. I over-conveyed the message that life at CVPH was going to change, so much so that our users bought into it. I made it a much bigger deal than it probably ended up being,” recalls Miller, the Senior Network Specialist at CVPH. But it worked. The training sessions were very well-attended. “Once people understood the value of the training sessions, we were getting twenty to thirty people per session.”

The Bottom Line

Robert Evans Telecommunications and Operations Manager, CVPH