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Head of the Class

This article appears in the issue May 2003 [Volume 12, Issue 5]


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User stories from the knowledge front

The Broward County, Fla., School District has purchased new software to replace several outdated e-mail systems districtwide. The board has chosen the latest version of FirstClass Communications Platform, an integrated suite of messaging and communications software from Open Text.

"We have a responsibility to taxpayers that is always foremost in our minds when making investment decisions," explains Frank Till, superintendent of schools. "Total cost of ownership was a tremendous, influencing factor for our final selection of FirstClass. However, it's important to note that the three vendor finalists were selected based on features and functionality. From a technological point of view, the FirstClass system meets our requirements and costs significantly less money than the other systems we tested."

The Broward County School District, the fifth largest in the nation, will replace its old system, which was considered slow and ineffective. The new system connects approximately 28,000 teachers, principals, administrators and other employees at more than 250 locations. Its scalable architecture makes it possible to serve a large organization cost-effectively, according to Open Text, while providing collaboration functionality, e-mail, instant messaging, calendaring and the ability to retrieve messages remotely.

The district wanted a system that could support both Macintosh and Windows-based personal computers. Although county schools are largely Macintosh-based, many of their public counterparts operate Windows as well.

"It is critical that we provide a simple, easy-to-use system for parents with varying levels of computer skills," the superintendent adds. "Via the FirstClass system, all users will be able to access information from any Web-enabled device--be it at the local library or on their home computer."


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