A Richmond, B.C.-based IT solutions provider is helping Tourism Vancouver gear up for the 2010 Olympics.
Tillica Technology Solutions Inc. recently implemented Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 running on Windows Server 2003 at Tourism Vancouver’s main site to keep pace with its growing team.
the past two years, Tourism Vancouver, a not-for-profit organization responsible for marketing the Greater Vancouver area to the rest of the world, has seen a 33 per cent increase in users. It alsoplayed a key role in the 2010 Olympic bid win.
With the Olympics on the way, Tourism Vancouver said it expects travel and tourism, which has seen a three-year decline, to grow.
“”As we lead up to 2010 in working with other partners in the tourism industry, I don’t believe we’re quite ready on the road to 2010,”” said Ted Lee, Tourism Vancouver’s chief financial officer. “”We’re trying to figure out how best to service what we anticipate to be a significant increase in numbers.””
The decision to upgrade was also made in conjunction with the expansion of the convention centre in Vancouver.
“”They needed a very robust, very stable platform that would provide them with the performance as well as meeting their needs and all their projected needs growing forward into the future looking at the next three to five years,”” said Will Liley, national manager of technical services for Tillica.
Previously known as Voyus Canada Inc., the Microsoft Canada Co. partner was renamed last year when Meridex Software Corp. purchased the On-Site Services Group of Voyus.
“”They needed something that could stay within their existing IT infrastructure requirements but at the same time be scalable to accommodate any potential growth on a rapid side or in regular projected growth through tourism,”” added Liley.
Tourism Vancouver, which has worked with Tillica in past projects, approached Tillica about ten months ago during Vancouver’s Olympic bid.
“”In order for us to be effective, we felt that we needed to create and upgrade to a reliable, integrated, scalable information technology platform,”” said Lee.
In one month, Tillica upgraded Tourism Vancouver from Exchange Server 2000 to Exchange Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, which works with Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 to deliver e-mail based collaboration services including Office Outlook Web Access. With Outlook Web Access, Tourism Vancouver employees can read their corporate e-mail messages, schedules and other information that is stored on a server running Exchange. Tillica also offers assistance to Tourism Vancouver’s two-person IT department including help desk and server monitoring services.
“”We sat down with Tourism and mapped out how to get its existing Exchange 2000 environment from a single server setup to a multi server Exchange 2003 configuration running on Windows Server,”” said Liley.
“”We implemented the Exchange system running in parallel with their old system and ran it for 30 days,”” explained Liley, adding that once the pilot phase was successful, Tillica migrated users to the rest of the platform.
Over the next six to twelve months, Tillica will be implementing Outlook Mobile, currently in testing, which will enable Tourism Vancouver’s 50 permanent employees who are mobile to check their e-mail via their PDAs.
“”Exchange Server is the first step in our technology road-map,”” said Lee. “”Given the diverse geography of our client groups, we have a lot of staff that travel all over the world. Remote access into data and files is going to be critical for us.””
Tourism Vancouver’s client groups include business members from industries such as hospitality and tour companies, customers such as travel agents, media and press partners, and a host community such as local government and associations.
The total cost of the implementation, including licensing fees, was $65,000. But Lee says because Tourism Vancouver does not generate sales dollars, he cannot provide the return-on-investment in dollar figures.
Instead he expressed the improvement in another way. “”One of the staff members uses his notebook quite often. He was able to take his e-mail with him when he’s off-line.”” Staff also have access to calendars for scheduling appointments and to customer data. “”It’s really given staff the ability to be productive while on the road.””
Liley said Tourism Vancouver’s IT infrastructure will now be able to keep up with its growth.
“”This will allow them to expand and accommodate both the messaging volume that they are currently experiencing growth in,”” he said. “”It will also allow any potential users to scale to whatever they deem necessary quickly and adjust their technology infrastructure to keep pace with that.””
Tillica is currently working on developing a SharePoint portal server solution for Tourism Vancouver’s document management support.