ADM Investor Services: Enhancing IT Infrastructure and Communications
A new e-mail infrastructure helps ADM Investor Services improve responsiveness and reliability, while reducing costs and support requirements.
System migration was completed in two months, offering enhanced e-mail features, including anytime, anywhere access and a simplified administrative environment.

ADM Investor Services, Inc., offers comprehensive trade execution and clearing services to retail, commercial, institutional, and introducing broker clients in an environment of strong ethics and financial stability. It is a subsidiary of the Archer Daniels Midland Company, a registered Futures Commission Merchant and a clearing member of all U.S. futures exchanges.

ADM Investor Services (ADMIS) relies heavily on e-mail—both for internal communication and for communication with current and prospective customers and industry contacts. In keeping with its commitment to maintain current technology standards, the company sought to upgrade its e-mail infrastructure to reflect current best practices, as well as to meet trading industry expectations for availability and disaster recovery.

At the same time, ADMIS wanted to enhance its communication services with new features such as unified messaging, mobile messaging, message tracking, and remote e-mail access.

Finally, to support these new features and capabilities and ensure the capacity to handle significant short term growth, ADMIS planned to replace dated hardware, consolidate servers, and improve efficiency of its e-mail administration processes.

An experienced partner. 
For assistance with designing and implementing a new e-mail infrastructure, ADMIS turned to West Monroe Partners. The West Monroe Partners team demonstrated strong credentials in Microsoft Exchange mail system upgrades and migrations, as well as significant experience with the infrastructure and communication needs of trading industry firms.

West Monroe Partners designed an enhanced and redundant end-to-end messaging experience that incorporated best practices, increased availability, boosted administrator productivity levels, and provided e-mail services at a lower cost.

A comprehensive process delivers an efficient, successful migration.
The West Monroe Partners team worked closely with ADMIS’s vice president of IT and other IT stakeholders to understand the company’s current environment and design an efficient conversion process. Key project steps included:

Requirements gathering:

  • Conducted interviews with e-mail administrators to understand business needs and desired service levels
  • Evaluated the current domain and messaging environment
  • Researched third-party applications to identify compatibility issues
  • Reviewed migration scenarios and options
  • Documented the current domain and messaging environment

Design:

  • Determined all hardware, software, and licensing needs
  • Determined all configurations for the new environment
  • Designed the migration process, connectivity between environments, software and service dependencies with e-mail, and other requirements

Build:

  • Ordered all hardware, software, and other equipment
  • Set up and configured all hardware and software, including Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Sphere, and RightFax
  • Tested the new environment and the migration process
  • Tested VoIP and faxing capabilities on the new environment

Support:

  • Provided on-site support for several weeks following migration
  • Provided knowledge transfer and documentation to ensure that the ADMIS IT team was prepared to support the new environment following migration

One of the project’s biggest challenges was minimizing downtime during the migration—a critical requirement in high-availability trading industry. This required careful coordination of all plans and system components.

In the end, West Monroe Partners managed all key project elements in just two months’ time.

Usability, manageability, reliability.
The new communication infrastructure has produced a host of benefits for both ADMIS and its employees.

The company’s employees now communicate using Exchange 2007, which has many more features—including access to e-mail anytime and anywhere through Outlook Web Access and Outlook.

Anywhere, and the ability to synchronize e-mail and calendar information to PDA devices through the Exchange 2007 ActiveSync service. In addition, ADMIS is now able to track messages that have left its domain, enabling greater responsiveness to its clients.

ADMIS users now have a full-featured web interface access to their mailboxes— providing features and advanced mail tasks that were not available in the company’s legacy environment. Not only does this make users more productive; it has decreased the amount of support required by the company’s e-mail administrators.

The company’s new environment requires fewer servers, which has reduced hardware, power, and software licensing costs.

Finally, ADM Investor Services now has a more reliable production e-mail environment, with a full replica in place to back up its primary Chicago site in the event of a complete failure.

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