ReSoft Blog - | ReSoft http://www.resoftco.com/blog Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:33:22 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb ResourceXpress and FM:Systems Expand Partnership by Offering Touchless Hot desk Devices to Help Improve Workplace Safety for the Post-Pandemic Return to Work http://www.resoftco.com/blog/451-qubi3-touchless-hot-desk-for-fm-systems-resource-scheduler http://www.resoftco.com/blog/451-qubi3-touchless-hot-desk-for-fm-systems-resource-scheduler

ResourceXpress and FM:Systems have expanded their partnership by enabling the ResourceXpress QUBI3 touchless hot desk device to integrate with the FM:Systems Resource Scheduler (RS) solution. Organizations using or considering FM:Systems Resource Scheduler for their scheduling platform will be able to take advantage of the touchless hot desk booking capability of the ResourceXpress QUBI3 device.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created great pressure to implement socially-distanced office environments, reducing the density and capacity of existing real-estate and requiring organizations to better utilize the space they have.  In many cases, employees will no longer have permanent desks-theywill book hot desks when they are in the office location.

Resource Scheduler (RS) is the flagship product in the FMS:Employee product line; a cloud-based scheduling platform designed to increase efficiency and drive productivity in today’s dynamic, digital workplace. From desk-sharing initiatives and conference room scheduling to integrated office services and visitor management, 

ResourceXpress is a software/hardware solution that integrates into the FM:Systems RS infrastructure to provide QUBI3 hotdesk devices using RFID access badge reading capabilities to manage authorized bookings and reduce no-shows. ResourceXpress can be run in a cloud SaaS environment or in an on-premise data center.

The combined solution, leveraging the new version of ResourceXpress, offers significant capabilities to organizations planning their return to work:

Touchless Devices: To address the new work environment, the new version of ResourceXpress introduces hands-free use of QUBI3 desk screens, offering built-in RFID technology to allow a user to touchlessly scan a security access badge to walk up and book, check-in, check-out and extend the use of an RS managed workspace at the device.

Social Distancing and Safety Restrictions: The new "ringfencing" feature restricts contiguous workspace usage, so if a user books a space, the related workspaces are automatically put into an "out-of-service" color-coded status so they cannot be booked.

QUBIRingFence

Meeting Attendance Recording:By capturing in-room data about when employees actually attend meetings on the devices, ResourceXpress can assist in more accurate contact tracing and space utilization procedures.

QUBICheckin

Travis Kemp, Global Director of Hardware Product Management comments "FM:Systems is excited to partner with ResourceXpress to leverage their Qubi3 desk booking solution as we continue to promote the efficient management of meeting rooms, desks and huddle spaces . This solution fits very well into theFM:Systemssuite of offerings and offers some exciting new functionality as our clients consider how to return to work involving contact tracing, ring fencing and touch-less device interaction".

Clive Horton, CEO of ReSoft International, the master reseller for ResourceXpress in North America adds "We have developed a very successful partnership with FM:Systems having deployed the joint solution in large Enterprise customers. By listening closely to our customers, we are introducing a range of features which reflect new ways of working to help ensure workplaces are safer places".

ABOUT RESOURCEXPRESS
ResourceXpress software and the QUBI3 devices are provided by ResourceXpress Inc based in Northvale, New Jersey with parent company QED Advanced Systems based in the United Kingdom. Established for over 30 years, QED is a manufacturer/integrator of room and desk booking software and hardware solutions. They have a truly global presence, with ResourceXpress now being used in over 40 different countries. http://www.resourcexpress.com

ABOUT FM:SYSTEMS
More than 1400 organizations worldwide trustFM:Systems' workplace management technology to empower their facility and real estate teams to identify, plan and deliver the ideal workplace experience for every employee. Our leading software and hardware solutions are used to manage over 3 billion square feet across 80 countries worldwide. In 2019 alone, over half a million people made more than 40 million reservations withFM:Systemsproducts.FM:Systemsis headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, and conducts business worldwide. For more information aboutFM:Systems, please visit www.fmsystems.com.

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Conference room, hot desk and signage Workplace Strategy Hot desks Wed, 15 Jul 2020 13:06:14 -0400
New Touchless Hot Desk and Meeting Room Management Solution Helps Better Workplace Safety for the Post-Covid-19 return to work http://www.resoftco.com/blog/450-reduce-covid-19-meeting-room-and-hot-desk-booking-concerns-with-hands-free-and-mobile-device-use-of-resourcexpress http://www.resoftco.com/blog/450-reduce-covid-19-meeting-room-and-hot-desk-booking-concerns-with-hands-free-and-mobile-device-use-of-resourcexpress

To meet the changing work dynamic brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, ResourceXpress Inc. has announced a major upgrade to its flagship ResourceXpress Workspace and Conference Room booking solution to enable touchless booking, social distancing and support for safety restrictions in office hot desk or hoteling workspaces and conference rooms.

The pandemic has created pressure to implement socially-distanced office workspace and meeting room environments, reducing the density and capacity of existing real-estate and requiring organizations to better utilize the space they have. In many cases, employees will no longer have permanent desks, they will book hot desk usage for when they are in the office location.

Gartner Group suggests nearly three in four CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to remote positions. Similarly, a recent Osterman Research publication reported over 50% of organizations will increase their work-from-home policies.

Touchless Devices and mobile First for Safety

To address the new office environment, Version 5 of ResourceXpress introduces hands free use of it's Aura LED meeting room screens and QUBI3 desk screens to the workspace. This leverages built-in RFID technology to touchlessly read security badges to book, check-in and extend the use of a workspace.

Additionally, a QR code can be embedded into a meeting room screen display so the employee can use their mobile phone to scan the QR code and book the space directly from their phone. The kiosk capability of ResourceXpress allows a user to use their mobile device or a regularly sanitized touch-screen kiosk to view a floorplan map showing room and hot desk availability and out-of-service status.

covid1

Social Distancing and Safety Restrictions

ResourceXpress V5 introduces an automatic cleandown extension to a booking to allow cleaning staff to decontaminate a workspace before the next person uses it.

The new "ringfencing" feature restricts contiguous workspace usage, so if an employee books a space, the related workspaces are automatically put into an "out-of-service" color-coded status so they cannot be booked.

And by capturing data about when and where employees book hot desks and attend meetings, ResourceXpress can assist in contact tracing procedures.

RX AllBooking

ResourceXpress’ Broadcast feature allows room screens to display policy reminders to employees on the use of workspaces.

ResourceXpress integrates with most enterprise calendaring and workplace management systems including Office365, Google, Accruent (EMS) and FM:Systems (Resource Scheduler). It can be installed in a SaaS cloud environment or in the customer's data center.

V5 of ResourceXpress will be available in June 2020.

More information is at http://www.re-soft.com/datasheets/ResourceXpress%20and%20Covid19v1.pdf

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Workplace Strategy Hot desks Mon, 18 May 2020 15:40:33 -0400
Qubi3: a multi-functional device that optimizes every meeting room, huddle space or desk http://www.resoftco.com/blog/449-qubi3-a-new-low-cost-multi-functional-device-that-optimizes-every-meeting-room-huddle-space-or-desk http://www.resoftco.com/blog/449-qubi3-a-new-low-cost-multi-functional-device-that-optimizes-every-meeting-room-huddle-space-or-desk

QUBI3graphic

 

ReSoft International with UK manufacturer QED Advanced Systems Limited, best known for its ResourceXpress range of booking solutions, has built on the proven technology of the Qubi2, which is widely in use as a desktop device leading many clients to achieve space utilization improvements of over 40 per cent.

Compact, simple to use and compatible with RFID multi-frequencies, the new Qubi3 can be deployed with different LED and display configurations to suit meeting rooms, huddle space and desk environments.  Coupled with ResourceXpress’ dynamic Kiosk application, Qubi3 leverages powerful Search and booking features from meeting room touch screens within the office, desktop PCs or via a mobile app on the fly. 

The Qubi3has a compact 3.12-inch OLED touch screen and capacitive touch controls that can easily be applied to both meeting rooms and hot desks.  It can run across SaaS, private cloud or on-prem environments and is compatible with Microsoft Outlook, Exchange and Office 365 as well as IBM (Lotus) Notes, G-Suite Calendar and a range of other supported advanced booking systems

The Qubi3 has no virus or malware vulnerabilities as it uses a hard-coded application with no operating system, making it super-secure and extremely low-maintenance.  

It offers fully scalable workspace control – complete with on-demand booking, authorized check-in/check-out/extend functions and a solution to the all too common “no-show” problem.

qubi3 desk awaiting checkinqubi3 desk free all dayqubi3 room busy

 

A unique LED countdown feature on the Qubi3 provides an at-a-glance indication of near future availability for meeting rooms or huddle spaces.

“Organisations worldwide are switching onto the significant real estate savings achievable with meeting room booking systems,” says Andy Fisher, Business Development Director of ResourceXpress. “Desk booking – or office hoteling - is the logical next stage for those parts of a business which operate agile working and where staff really don’t need to have a dedicated work station.

“To make the very most of this type of technology, the resource management system has to be clear and simple to use: increasing the sophistication of your room and desk management. It should never be at the expense of creating barriers that make it too complex for personnel to use. And that’s what we’ve majored on with the new Qubi3

“However, it was increasingly obvious to us that to maximize an organization’s return on investment for its resource management system, the industry needed a device that could multi-task for meeting room, desk or huddle-space environments. Qubi3 does just that. 

“We are already managing a large number of requests from potential clients who are keen to look at how they can reduce the cost of ownership for their resource management solution by saving 50 per cent compared to deploying conventional meeting room touch screens.”

Another key benefit offered by Qubi3- along with all ResourceXpress products - is that it can be tailored precisely for each organization’s unique needs. “We don’t have the ‘one size fits all approach’ that make some other booking systems hugely inflexible, ineffective and expensive to deploy,” says Andy Fisher. 

“Many users want to pick and choose from the vast array of available functions, so our systems take an entirely different route from the competition: we start with an entry level template onto which you can bolt as much additional functionality as you want – either during installation or through an ongoing program of continuous improvement.”

Also on show at the exhibitions will be other products in the ResourceXpress range, including the industry-leading Aura meeting room screen.

“We’re looking forward to talking to current and new Microsoft partners at the event on ways that they can take advantage of the new Qubi3 and our other products to deliver flexible savings to their clients,” concludes Andy.

More can be found at http://www.resourcexpress.com/qubi3

 

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Conference room, hot desk and signage Employee Communications Office 365 Workplace Strategy Mon, 24 Sep 2018 09:00:00 -0400
The power of Mailscape with Microsoft Exchange http://www.resoftco.com/blog/447-mailscape-for-exchange-comprehensive-review http://www.resoftco.com/blog/447-mailscape-for-exchange-comprehensive-review

A very thourough review by Paul Cunningham on the benefits of deploying Mailscape in the Microsoft Exchange world

The Mailscape Dashboard

I recently reviewed Mailscape 365, which is ENow’s monitoring product for cloud and hybrid environments. If you read that review along with this one, then you’ll notice that Mailscape and Mailscape 365 are very similar looking products. The two products share many design elements, and in some areas the two products work the same way. If you have both products deployed, they even integrate into the same unified dashboard. But they are two separate products. Mailscape was developed before Mailscape 365, and has matured over several years based on input from several Microsoft MVPs, as well as customer feedback.

Mailscape does away with the confusion of most monitoring dashboards and takes a visual approach by utilizing a simple traffic light system. The aim is to provide simple, visual clues for the health of your Exchange environment. Red is bad, yellow is a warning, green is good.

 mailscape-dashboard-01.png

Once Mailscape has drawn your attention to a problem, it then provides you with an easy way to drill down into the issue and identify the root cause. As we all know, troubleshooting is a game of elimination. To solve a problem, you need to understand the product itself, and how it is implemented in your environment. Then you need to consider all the possible conditions that might be causing a problem, and investigate each one to find the root cause. The ENow team call this “trimming the troubleshooting tree”, and when you see how Mailscape works you understand why.

Consider a typical support case. One or more end users contact the help desk to complain of a problem with their email. The help desk spends time eliminating basic causes (e.g. restarting Outlook, restarting the computer, checking for locked accounts, sending test emails). When they exhaust their knowledge, they escalate to the next support tier. The second level support person runs their own troubleshooting, which might include repeating the same steps as the help desk (let’s be honest, we’ve all done this). They'll open PowerShell and run diagnostic commands. Meanwhile, more users are complaining of email issues, and each report is being analyzed to see if it is a unique issue or the same issue that is already under investigation.

I’ve been in those situations myself, so I’m not being critical of anyone here. That’s just the reality for many support teams who don’t have a monitoring system in place that is actually adding value to their incident response.

When you add Mailscape to the mix, the story changes. The product provides the ability to have custom dashboards for each functional group in your organization. When the help desk receives the first support call they can look at the Mailscape dashboard and see whether there are any red or yellow indicators. They can click on alerts and see more details about the problem, such as the MAPI connectivity issue shown below.

MAPI-Connectivity-Problem.png

They can drill down even further to find the cause of the MAPI connectivity problem, which in the case below is due to a database problem.

MAPI-Connectivity-Problem-detail.png

Any by clicking on the database alert, they can see the root cause of the alert is that the database is dismounted.

MAPI-Connectivity-Problem-detail-2.png

So, within seconds the help desk is able to correlate a user reported issue with an actual problem in the Exchange environment. They can escalate to the appropriate support team faster and with more relevant information at hand.

How Mailscape Monitors Exchange Server Environments

The Mailscape traffic light system is unique. But what’s happening behind the scenes to give you that view of your Exchange landscape?

To begin with, yes you get traditional server monitoring features such as disk space, CPU, and memory usage. The data for these is collected by remote monitoring agents that you deploy to your servers.

mailscape-disk-space-monitoring.png

Typical Exchange monitoring of metrics such as database backups, transport queue sizes and database copy queues are also included. These are the sort of things that Exchange admins need to check whenever there’s a problem, such as users reporting that emails they’re expecting to receive haven’t shown up yet. Instead of digging into PowerShell cmdlets and event logs, obvious problems like back pressure will be detected and alerted by Mailscape.

Mailscape also uses remote probes to generate synthetic transactions that simulate user activities. Where traditional monitoring systems look for stopped services, or dismounted databases, Mailscape is able to use its synthetic transactions to actually test the availability and health of specific Exchange components. A good example is the Outlook Web Access health alert in the screenshot below. To create that alert I stopped the MSExchangeOWAppPool in IIS. A few moments later, Mailscape is showing an alert in the main dashboard for client functionality. Drilling down into the alert details takes you to the view of the CAS protocols showing OWA as unhealthy.

mailscape-owa-problem-detection.png

After I started the app pool again the Mailscape monitor returned to a green status within a few minutes.

The Mailscape remote probes can be deployed throughout your network to provide more context into issues in your environment. Let’s say you have a datacenter or two that host your Exchange DAG, but dozens of remote sites where the clients are connecting from. Remote connectivity to Exchange relies on good network connections, which could be supplied by multiple vendors. Network engineers also love to add things into the picture such as wan optimizers to try and squeeze the most performance out of the links, and security folks love to put firewalls and packet inspectors in the way as well. Any of those can cause problems with client connectivity, and remote probes are what gives you the view from your remote sites that will help you to narrow in on network issues vs server-side issues.

Mailscape’s monitoring of client access is more than just per-server awareness. In high availability environments, there are more moving parts involved, such as load balancers, multiple namespaces for different regional datacenters, and maybe even geo-DNS. Even if your Exchange servers are completely healthy, the Exchange service can be impacted if a lad balancer configuration error occurs, or a mistake is made with a DNS change. Within Mailscape you can define specific DNS namespaces to monitor, so that it alerts you to problems with those extra moving parts as well.

Aside from Exchange service availability, Mailscape can also alert you to overloaded servers. These are usually identifiable by excessively high client requests. Collecting that data in Perfmon is a pretty tedious job. Interpreting the data is quite difficult as well. And of course, you only get data from the time you start running Perfmon, so you lose visibility into the history of a performance issue.

exchange-performance-threshold-tuning-mailscape.png

The thresholds for what is considered over-utilization are configurable in the Mailscape admin interface. In fact, extensive tuning is available for all of the Mailscape monitors.

Backups are a good example of tuning that actually helps you remove unwanted alerts. Knowing about failed backups is important, but one failed backup is often not a cause for alarm. In a lot of cases, the next backup runs successfully and the problem is resolved. However, two failed backups are a cause for alarm, because that indicates something may be wrong with the backup system or with the Exchange mailbox database itself. In Mailscape you can tune the backup alert thresholds to avoid those unwanted alerts, but still be alerted when multiple backups have failed.

database-backup-monitoring-thresholds-mailscape.png

I also like the external mail flow test that Mailscape performs. All you need is a Gmail address set up to auto-reply to emails from Mailscape. Your Mailscape server is then configured to send a test email to the Gmail address. Mailscape watches the designated Exchange mailbox for the auto-reply to arrive. It’s a simple test, but very important because so many external mail flow problems go undetected for a long time before someone notices that they haven’t received any external emails in a while. And many external mail flow issues aren’t actually caused by Exchange problems that you can detect by monitoring Exchange itself. A firewall issue, or a DNS issue, can easily cause mail flow to break even if your Exchange servers are completely healthy. So as with the synthetic tests for client access issues, the mail flow test is a feature of Mailscape that adds a lot of value.

external-mail-flow-test-mailscape.png

What about Managed Availability?

The speed of alerting raises an interesting point about how Mailscape fits into the Exchange world. Now that we have Managed Availability for Exchange 2013 and later, what's the point of monitoring Exchange?

As a quick overview, Managed Availability is a built-in health monitoring and remediation service for Exchange. It uses its own synthetic transactions and health probes to detect faults, and then initiates recovery actions when a problem is detected. Managed Availability was created to allow Microsoft to run Exchange at the scale of Office 365. It's useful for on-premises servers as well, but is somewhat of a “black box”. Many administrators are still uncomfortable with what Managed Availability is silently doing to their servers.

Mailscape works alongside Managed Availability in a few different ways. First, Mailscape is aware of servers being placed into what is known as “maintenance mode”. Exchange admins place servers into maintenance mode to effectively disable Managed Availability and keep it from interfering during routine maintenance, such as when installing patches and updates on the server. When you place an Exchange server into maintenance mode, Mailscape recognizes it as well and will stop alerting for that server. This is in addition to Mailscape's own “maintenance mode” which you can enable when you need to suppress alerting for a server.

The second way that Mailscape gets along with Managed Availability is through the use of alert thresholds. Consider a well-designed Exchange environment that has a database availability group that hosts four copies of each mailbox database. At any given time there could be an issue with the health of one of the passive database copies; anything from an unhealthy content index to a full-blown loss of the database copy due to underlying storage failure. That would leave three out of four database copies still available. Not a major concern, especially if you have auto-reseed configured.

During auto-reseed, which is a Managed Availability recovery process that uses a spare disk volume to replace the failed storage and then reseed the failed database copy, you would not want to get an alert from Mailscape about the failed database copy. Instead, you would want to allow Managed Availability to do its job and complete the recovery action.

mailbox-database-redundancy-alert-thresholds-mailscape.png

Finally, Mailscape also provides you with a view of the Managed Availability escalations for a server. This takes Managed Availability out of the black box that it usually hides in, and makes you aware of what it is actually doing behind the scenes, such as cycling services or restarting servers. If you’ve ever had to open event viewer and dig into the crimson channel on a server to hunt for Managed Availability events, then you’ll appreciate this simple and easy to access view in Mailscape.

managed-availability-events-mailscape.png

Monitoring Database Availability Groups

Although Managed Availability works for single mailbox servers, it was primarily developed for keeping Exchange database availability groups working. As anyone who has supported a DAG knows, they can be a real challenge to keep an eye on. Even a well-designed DAG is going to have problems. In fact, Managed Availability was developed on the basis that problems are never 100% avoidable.

It’s quite challenging to keep DAGs healthy without a good monitoring tool helping you out. Mailscape shines in this area. The DAG health status view in Mailscape tells you everything you really need to know. You get health information, as well as the configuration information that is good to have on hand without needing to drop into a PowerShell session.

mailscape-dag-01.png

In terms of database copy health, Mailscape will alert you to critical issues such as databases dismounted, failed copies, failed content indexes, and also issues of a less critical nature such as databases not being active on the preferred copy. The preferred copy check would have been very useful in the environment I was working in where unexpected failovers were a daily occurrence. When I started working there the only way the database failovers were noticed was when they caused the nightly backup job to fail, because the backup software depended on a specific active database layout. I ended up writing a PowerShell script to gain more visibility into the database copy status, and that custom script cost a lot of hours to develop. It’s one of those perfect examples of a lack of investment in one area (monitoring) resulting in higher costs elsewhere (my time spent developing a custom script).

dag-health-details-mailscape.png

My custom PowerShell scripts have tens of thousands of downloads, and I regularly get feedback from Exchange admins letting me know about the problems that the scripts found in seemingly healthy DAGs. But despite the time I’ve invested into them, the scripts still aren’t written with anywhere near the depth of coverage that Mailscape has, and they’re only intended as a zero-dollar solution for people with no budget for monitoring tools. Overall the DAG monitoring in Mailscape is a real highlight.

Mailscape Reporting

The monitoring capabilities of Mailscape provide a lot of value, but there is also a reporting feature included. It’s unusual to find a monitoring tool that does reporting well, or a reporting tool that does monitoring well. Mailscape somehow manage to do both well, which I suspect is due to their focus on Exchange Server.

There are over 250 reports included with Mailscape. On the chance that you aren’t satisfied with that many, you can also create your own custom reports. You can also plug your own reporting tools into the SQL database that stores the data Mailscape has collected. Mailscape also allows you to write your own PowerShell scripts to pull reporting data from Exchange. Mailscape then handles the scheduling of your custom PowerShell, and the display of the data through the Mailscape reporting interface. In effect, this means you can combine Mailscape reports with your own custom data in a single dashboard that you provide to stakeholders in your organization.

mailscpae-reporting.png

As any seasoned admin will tell you, Exchange is pretty good at providing useful log data for reports, but has absolutely nothing to help you create the reports. Believe me, I have the battle scars from years of pulling reports together by scraping message tracking logs, or IIS logs, or protocol logs. I've spent as much time in Excel manipulating CSV files as I have in the Exchange Management Shell. IT managers love to ask questions like how many emails are sent internally vs externally. Parsing through gigabytes of message tracking logs to answer those questions is not an easy task, especially when the request is for historical data that you no longer have logs for. So, I’m quite pleased to see internal and external traffic reports built in to Mailscape.

email-traffic-report-mailscape.png

There are also executive overview reports, with nice summary data such as the number of mailboxes and the amount of storage being used.

executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.pnghttps://www.enowsoftware.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Gallery/blog/executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png?t=1515178879177&width=1024&name=executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png 1024w, https://www.enowsoftware.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Gallery/blog/executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png?t=1515178879177&width=1536&name=executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png 1536w, https://www.enowsoftware.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Gallery/blog/executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png?t=1515178879177&width=2048&name=executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png 2048w, https://www.enowsoftware.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Gallery/blog/executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png?t=1515178879177&width=2560&name=executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png 2560w, https://www.enowsoftware.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Gallery/blog/executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png?t=1515178879177&width=3072&name=executive-summary-server-utilization-mailscape.png 3072w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" style="width: 1024px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;">

Notice that timestamp and button at the bottom of the screenshot above? That’s how Mailscape lets you get the most up to date information in its reports. Ever had to send a manager a report of mailbox sizes or storage usage, only to get a request for updated figures a few days later? With Mailscape there's no need to collect the data and send it again. Your manager can just go see the latest numbers in their own custom Mailscape dashboard any time they need to.

storage-usage-trend-mailscape.png

Among the Mailscape reports are all the popular reports such as mailbox sizes, mailboxes breaching quotas, Outlook versions, mobile device users, login times, and traffic stats. There are also some real gems, like the inactive distribution lists report, empty public folder report, and a series of Exchange auditing reports for activities such as delegate mailbox access and send-on-behalf. Again, all these reports are able to be created manually using scripts and log parsing, but it’s incredibly time consuming and tedious to do so, not to mention inaccurate if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The Mailscape reports don’t need any special admin privileges in Exchange, so they can be accessed by non-technical staff. The reports can also be restricted to specific audiences, for example if you have teams in different parts of the world that shouldn’t see reporting data for other regions.

I always advocate for customers who need more than occasional ad-hoc reporting from Exchange to invest in a proper reporting tool like Mailscape.

Summary

There’s been a bit of noise in recent years about the death of email. That is partly due to instant messaging and other chat services like Slack or Microsoft Teams growing in usage. It also has a lot to do with the utility nature of email these days. People don’t think about email as an exciting communications channel. Instead, they just expect email to work. It’s that user expectation that makes us work hard to build stable, reliable Exchange Server environments that our users can depend on. And a key component of running a reliable email system is having a monitoring product that helps you to keep Exchange healthy and available.

During my evaluation, the only time I needed to call on ENow support was when I couldn’t locate some of the tuning options in the back-end admin screens. Although Mailscape gives you a lot of quick wins straight away, many more than other products that I’ve tested, the configuration back end was a bit confusing at first. I imagine that many admins would need to call on ENow support during that initial tuning phase to get the monitoring policies working just right. Fortunately, ENow support were quick to respond to my questions. And most of what you see in the back-end is “set and forget” anyway.

So, who would benefit the most by deploying Mailscape? Large, complex environments are an obvious candidate. When there’s so much infrastructure to keep an eye on, human operators need help. But it’s not just a question of scale. A small team with broad responsibilities in a smaller environment needs the same help as a dedicated messaging team in a larger environment.

The hours invested to build and maintain custom toolset that fills in the gaps left by most monitoring solutions are just not an efficient use of time. Take it from me, I’ve been there many times in the past.

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Exchange management Enterprise Email Management Mon, 08 Jan 2018 09:03:29 -0500
Improved Exchange & Office 365 Reporting http://www.resoftco.com/blog/439-improved-exchange-office-365-reporting http://www.resoftco.com/blog/439-improved-exchange-office-365-reporting

New Mailscape version improves reporting on Office 365 and Exchange on-prem

The Mailscape develpment team work on four key product principles :

  • Help customers cut the mean time to resolution (MTTR) for Office365 and Exchange problems
  • Provide actionable insights, not just collections of data—we need to process and display the monitoring and reporting data we collect, and filter and prioritize it so that…
  • Trim the troubleshooting tree to eliminate wasted time (such as RDPing into a server and looking at its event log as a first step)
  • Accelerate migrations both to the cloud and between on-prem systems. We do this not by providing tools to migrate data but by applying #1 and #2 to migration operations.
 
The latest version of the Mailscape suite adds significant reporting improvements.  Insights, the reporting feature, marks the introduction of a new reporting engine that lets you see and work with the reporting data collected, using a modern, responsive interface. Starting with a dozen of the most frequently-used reports, all existing reports will migrate to the new Insights engine.
 
Reporting in Office365 and Exchange
 
You can sort columns, group data by dragging column headers into the grouping area, and export the report easily to PDF or Excel. Many of our enterprise customers use our products’ reports to help generate key performance indicators (KPIs) for their executive management or to track long-term trends over time, both of which get much easier with these new features.

Along with Insights, two new sets of reports have been added to Mailscape 365: one for Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) usage and security, and one for Office 365 mail transport actions such as DLP rule hits. Reports on Office 365 license usage, suppressing expired trial licenses and handling the new workloads (including Customer Lockbox and Delve Analytics) have been improved.

In the “reducing MTTR” category, Mailscape will integrate with SNMP-based monitoring solutions—whenever we detect that a monitored parameter has gone into or out of an exception range, we can fire a trap to the destination of your choice. This makes it easy to tie our powerful application-aware logic to your existing Microsoft SCOM, HP OpenView, or other SNMP-aware components. In Mailscape, we also added monitoring for disk performance counters and the ability to set monitoring exclusions for individual Exchange databases.

This version offers full support for Exchange 2016 and Skype for Business 2016.

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Exchange management Enterprise Email Management Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:57:23 -0400
Digital Signage improves utilization of your meeting rooms http://www.resoftco.com/blog/437-digital-signage-improves-utilization-of-your-meeting-rooms http://www.resoftco.com/blog/437-digital-signage-improves-utilization-of-your-meeting-rooms

Using Digital Signage to improve meeting room utilizationUsing Digital Signage to improve Employee Communications

ReSoft applies sophisticated digital signage technology to make better use of your existing meeting spaces by:

  • reducing room booking conflicts and no-shows
  • improving visibility into the actual utilization of meeting room resources
  • contributing to smarter building initiatives
  • improving your image with visiting clients
Digital signage empowers your employee teams. With nothing new to learn, employees book meeting rooms using your existing calendaring system. Digital signage technology sits outside each room displaying its availability to everyone walking past.  If an organizer cancels or doesn't check in for a meeting, the room is put back into the availability pool. If a room is free or a meeting needs to be extended, the employee can book it on the digital sign.
 
Existing clients include Coca-Cola, Baxter Healthcare, Samsung and Airbus.

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Conference room, hot desk and signage Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:09:14 -0400
The 7 dangers of PST files http://www.resoftco.com/blog/375-the-7-dangers-of-pst-files http://www.resoftco.com/blog/375-the-7-dangers-of-pst-files

#PST files continue to be a thorn in the side of the messaging group, IT security, Compliance and Records Management. Here is an analysis of why you need to get control over your PST files.


PerilsofPSTs

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PST Sun, 29 Nov -0001 19:00:00 -0500