Microsoft Exchange and Teams combined on premises and remotely
// by Matthias Rensing
IT & Management Consulting, Microsoft Outlook & Exchange, Modern Work
Tailor-made concept for medical device manufacturer Dreve
Some companies operate their Exchange on premises and want to use the advantages of a team environment at the same time without loss of functionality. Problems arise, for example, with the synchronisation of calendars or the coordination of appointments, and it often remains with largely separate solutions with redundant results. Dreve, an internationally active manufacturer of medical products, was faced with this challenge and found a perfect solution with the Microsoft experts from noventum consulting. Enthused by the result, the subsidiary Dreve America also adopted the solution and is now autonomous with its own solution architecture and at the same time networked with the parent company.
Corona promotes team winning while challenging local communication solutions
The medical products manufacturer Dreve from Unna in Westphalia has been on the market with its high-quality medical and laboratory products for over 70 years. More than 450 employees serve customers in over 100 countries worldwide. Under the motto "Innovation by Tradition", Dreve has developed into one of the most important companies in its sector. More than 80 patents underline the market significance of the company.
Corona also changed the way Dreve communicates. Meetings were increasingly to take place online, and shared access to the company's data also had to be made possible from home. As with many other companies, Microsoft Teams was the solution of choice.
Dreve operates its Exchange systems completely locally (on premises). Data exchange and information exchange also took place on this on premises basis. The continued operation of Exchange as a cloud-independent central corporate solution was up for debate with the introduction of Teams as a collaboration solution, but was not to be terminated. Without a big migration job, Dreve wanted to connect Teams with Exchange. The question was: can you "marry" remote systems with an Exchange without going to the cloud with it? Can one continue to store mails locally and still couple this system with the cloud-based Teams?
After several service providers had stated that the two Microsoft solutions could only be combined satisfactorily in the cloud, the Dreve managers decided to accept the solution offered by noventum consulting. noventum consultant Karim Fleifel created a solution for the desire to operate the aforementioned systems hybrid in just a few weeks.
Now, as desired, data can be exchanged and calendars viewed in teams, and invitations can be sent in teams or Exchange, although the mailboxes remain local.
"At the end of the day, that's our ambition, that we do system conversions so that customers can do it themselves in the future for common changes and enhancements."
Combination Exchange and Teams with multi-language solution
Among other things, the Dreve company has a branch in the USA (Dreve America). The American branch also had its mailboxes on premises and already had teams in place, albeit unconnected with all the negative side effects (multiple calendars, no invitations, etc.). In addition, the American mailboxes were located in the vicinity of Dreve Germany, which made the technical situation and changes more difficult. Since Dreve America has its own tenant (main Microsoft Office 365 account), a complete migration of the Teams and SharePoint files to the German M365 tenant had to be carried out for a connection with Teams.
After the migration was successfully completed, the Americans changed their view and wanted to move their mailboxes (Exchange environment) completely to the cloud (which Dreve Germany had ruled out for itself). This was a technical challenge for an entire company with complex internal connections, because the Americans naturally wanted to continue to have insight into the German on premises environment and communicate smoothly with German colleagues.
In the following steps, noventum's Microsoft experts developed a customised solution for Dreve's corporate communications:
- Migration of American mailboxes from the local German Exchange server to the German cloud environment
- the cloud users can work smoothly with the local users
- Admins can move local mailboxes to the cloud with a few clicks
- American employees use the connected systems in English, the German ones in German
This task was also solved by noventum's consultants with little effort and today both parts of the company are active with their own concept both in the cloud and on premises. The combination of English- and German-language functions of the two Microsoft applications works smoothly.
The client, Dreve, is very satisfied with the solution, especially since the further administration can be handled entirely by the company's own staff.
For noventum consultant Karim Fleifel, this is a confirmation of the noventum consulting concept: "At the end of the day, that is our ambition, that we carry out system conversions in such a way that customers can lend a hand themselves in the future for common changes and extensions. "
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