Qld Health dumps GroupWise for Exchange … 2007?


blog Queensland Health has become the latest Australian organisation to ditch Novell’s ageing GroupWise platform in favour of Microsoft Exchange. iTNews, which broke the news, writes:

“Queensland Health has revealed it will bring the first of at least 50,000 users onto an Exchange 2007 email system early next year.”

This all sounds good and proper. After all, a stack of organisations right around Australia are currently migrating off GroupWise and IBM’s Lotus Notes platform onto Microsoft Exchange, or in some cases, Google Apps.

But what I can’t work out is why Queensland Health would move to Exchange 2007. As I’ve previously explored, Exchange 2010 comes with a number of features which are attractive to organisations. Better storage management (a key issue with Exchange), an improved Outlook Web Access platform and more. And it was released to manufacturing in October 2009, so it’s not exactly cutting edge code.

It’s not precisely clear at this point, but I’ll ping Queensland Health to ask the question. I guess it’s not outside the bounds of possibilities that the organisation is simply following the ‘N-1’ approach to software upgrades. We’ve seen this before … notably when the Federal Parliament deployed Windows Vista just last year.


  1. maybe its a cost decision. i know big company in Sydney recently moved to the new exchange / cloud product, deal is on a per user basis however even they’ve balked at the cost re the rollout.

    i could easily see a customer looking for a cheaper deal with a very similar set of functions and support.

    that said though i reckon the corporate gmail product is pretty good. Having used it for a year or so and then moved to an outlook environment I feel like an arm has been cut off (and here I whinged about moving to gmail in the first place).

    • Really? Is there actually a cost difference between Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010? I would have thought MS would charge pretty similar prices for both, under an enterprise licence etc.

  2. Brisbane City Council has just moved from Groupwise to Exchange (2010 by the look of the webmail). Wheels of government move slowly …

    The web interface is nice, with fancy graphics etc, even in Firefox. If only QUT would do the same thing …

    • Yeah Exchange 2010 is quite good — from rumblings I hear, many IT departments are quietly upgrading etc. Execs are always happy with better OWA.

  3. I doubt you could buy Exchange 2009. Typically you are forced to buy licenses for the latest version and if you’re lucky that comes with downgrade rights to run the version you like.

  4. I’m surprised the news just leaked out now. I saw people planning this project back in early 2009.

  5. I work in a government department that migrated from GroupWise to Exchange/Outlook and it was a significant backward step, both financially and functionally. Outlook could not do a lot that GroupWise client could and Exchange had a lot less functionality than the GroupWise server. Note that this was four years ago and so we are talking Groupwise 6 (itself a very old version at that time) moving down to Exchange 2003 back then (and it was not a technical decision but an executive onedevoid of technical merit or financial business case). We’re on Exchange2010 now and fundamentally there is no significant difference from 2003 – only the chorus of end user complaints about reduced functionality compared to what they could achieve (from less mouseclicks to do tasks through to more limited client-based rules/filters compared to the previous server-based GroupWise function – among a long logged list of deficiencies) has died off with time and staff turnover – however, although no longer a user of the product I understand that GroupWise development has continued since then regardless and is still (or even more so) a robust, enterprise-class collaborative suite that runs rings around the M$ competitor. It doesn’t have a huge penetration outside of USA and Europe anymore, but this is far more likely a result of agressive and oftimes questionable marketing by the Exchange bohemoth. If you were ever talking to Qld Health again about their Novell to Microsoft products migration perhaps some questioning about implementation and licencing costs would be in order. Afterall, what business justification is there in paying a lot of money to replace one email system that works, with another, more expensive, email system that works almost as well?

  6. Well the move to exchange began in 2009, it was suppose to be complete by late 2010, then that got pushed back to 2011, and now 2014. And meanwhile the cost just keeps escalating, how they can justify the money involved for such little benefit over the GroupWise software, all the time sacking staff due to lack of funding is beyond me.

    One of the main drivers in the business case for spending all this money was to standardise the QH email system with the IDES (Whole of QLD govt Identity and email) platform. The Newman govt has dumped the IDES scheme, quite rightfully, it was a waste of money. Yet they hang onto this project, why? Now that is a story worth looking into.

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