Power Home Remodeling Group, www.powerhrg.com, Chester, Pa., wasn’t pleased with Microsoft Exchange. Like others in construction today, this home remodeling specialist went out in search of replacing a system that it felt was not working sufficiently within its operations.

This home improvement contractor specializing in energy efficient, low-maintenance exteriors recently took a renewed look at its IT infrastructure. The problem was related to the fact that Microsoft Exchange was crashing multiple times a day, says Jeffrey Levine, director of information technology, Power Home Remodeling Group. Looking for a stable operating system, Levine says the ultimate decision was to move away from the Windows environment altogether and over to Linux-based solution.

But this move still left the need for a new unified communications server that could support the company’s multiple remote locations and hundreds of users in the field. The solution it found was from a company named IceWarp, www.icewarp.com, Springfield, Va. The product is a single sign-on secure Web mail server that also features email archiving, among other features.

The solution from IceWarp presents an alternative to the standard Microsoft Exchange, which might not be the best fit for all construction companies.

“I started building IceWarp while Exchange was still running,” says Levine. “Since Exchange had so many problems, the automatic migration was not possible. We created all-new user names and passwords and exported everybody overnight using Outlook. We were up and running in a day.”

Levine says he had users up and running with the browser-based Web client very easily. From there, the company installed the connector for Microsoft Outlook and its desktop users were in sync.

The aforementioned mobile workforce is fully supported by the solution as well. Power Home Remodeling has nine remote locations with roughly 400 field employees that access the system using both notebook computers and cellphones. All users are on IceWarp, using ActiveSync, mobile chat, groupware, shared calendars, and global address lists, according to the company.

Levine likes the alternative to the Microsoft Exchange per-client cost. He estimates that the product has saved the company tens of thousands of dollars and has paid for itself in 90 days.

In today’s technology environment, construction companies have options for everything from the systems they use to run projects to the technology built for the backend IT infrastructure. It’s an opportune time to explore some different options for systems and software that you are not 100% satisfied with using. It just comes down to determining where you can make improvements.