This high quality, exponentially-growing airline
relies on secure and reliable Cobweb Hosted Exchange Services and
Cobweb BlackBerry Services for critical global email communication
1. Customer Profile
Business Start Date:
Number of Employees:
Services with Cobweb:
Microsoft Exchange &
With Headquarters in Dakar, Senegal, in the very west of the
African continent, Senegal Airlines has established itself in a
very short period as a high quality, reliable airline in West
Africa. Focused on three fundamental values – quality, flexibility,
and innovation – Senegal Airlines’ first flight operations took
place in January 2011, with a route structure that includes much of
The delivery of additional Airbus 320 aircraft will provide the
airline with the infrastructure to continue its expansion to
central Africa and beyond.
The airlines strategy for continuing expansion is also dramatic:
Senegal Airlines has positioned itself to become an Ambassador for
Africa, planning to become Africa’s leading Airline and helping to
build Dakar International Airport into a primary transportation
hub, connecting international passengers with Africa, South
America, and Europe.
The airline’s expansion plans follow that strategy, with new
routes to Central Africa planned in 2011, with international
flights to other continents as early as 2012.
2. The Challenge
Senegal Airlines Chief Information Officer Andy Guenthard has
long recognised the critical nature of email communications for the
airline, and the challenges that it faced.
"Due to the nature of our industry, and the many tasks that our
staff undertakes, email is critically important," Guenthard
"Flight crews are notified of rosters using email; our technical
and maintenance personnel are sent technical drawings with email;
and our customer services teams use email to communicate with
Senegal Airlines’ passengers and travel agents regarding their
However, Senegal Airlines was faced with some major challenges.
"When we originally started the airline, we were using local email
services, and staff’s personal email accounts due to a lack of
internal infrastructure and skills".
Needless to say, a professional, reliable email service was
needed urgently to sustain the Airlines explosive growth during the
start-up phase and beyond.
"By definition, and as an airline, we’re global. We communicate
with vendors, customers, and potential alliance partners all over
the world. The Airline needed to find a state-of-the-art email
solution that could be deployed quickly. Also, it had to be easy to
While we try to source local Senegalese nationals and skills for
the company, the critical nature of our email infrastructure made
us realise that we needed to outsource our requirement. At the same
time the hosted solution would enable us to gradually build up our
"Additionally, any new solution would have to be cost-effective
and flexible enough to be scaled-up quickly to meet new staff
expansion requirements. It would also have to be reliable while
minimising network issues."
Finally, Guenthard notes that email archiving was of critical
importance. "In the past, management and staff would store email on
their personal or work laptops and PCs." However, in the event of
an equipment failure or theft, emails would be lost. "We needed a
solution that would archive staff email including attachments,
thereby providing a history of email communications."
Senegal Airlines management embarked on a search for a hosted
email solution to meet its specific requirements. "Initially, we
used the Internet to research possible providers," Guenthard notes.
"We came up with four possible vendors to meet our needs."
Vendors were then shortlisted to two. "We had received a very
strong recommendation for Cobweb Hosted Exchange and BlackBerry
email solutions. On the basis of that recommendation, we delved
deeper into the Cobweb solutions."
During that discovery process, Senegal Airlines management
talked to Cobweb, but found that a face-to-face meeting was
unnecessary. "We were looking for a virtual solution that
worked,"Guenthard explains. "We’re based in Senegal, thousands of
miles from Cobweb’s offices.
All we needed to make a decision was to be provided with enough
information about the Cobweb solutions to have confidence in them.
Based on our discussions with Cobweb personnel, that’s exactly what
"Price was also an important consideration. While Cobweb was not
the least expensive, it was cost-effective. We made the decision to
go with Cobweb solutions."
3. The Solution
Today, all 230 Senegal Airlines staff uses Cobweb Hosted
Exchange email services. "Senegal Airlines has a wide number of
locations. At Dakar, we have our operations centre, commercial, and
sales offices. We also have 12 airports served by the airline. Our
truly global work force has now the benefit of using reliable
Cobweb Hosted Exchange for their email."
Senegal Airlines personnel can access email using a variety of
platforms. "A day without email is a lost day, and Cobweb Hosted
Exchange provides a reliable platform," Guenthard states. "Airline
management uses Cobweb BlackBerry Services.
All of our other staff use Cobweb, and can access the 24/7
Hosted Exchange services via Android/iPhone handheld devices or
Cobweb Hosted Exchange now provides Senegal Airlines personnel
with all critical email and relevant attachments.
"Flight crews receive their rosters, flight planning, and post
flight reporting via Cobweb enabled email; our commercial
department communicates to travel agencies. And our technical
people use Hosted Email Exchange to conduct critical work.
"For instance, we’re currently taking delivery of a new
aircraft. Our technical people are in Shannon, Ireland conducting
some technical work. Critical technical specifications are easily
despatched to them from our Technical Director in Dakar, who also
needs to be involved and informed at all times."
Guenthard notes that Cobweb Hosted Exchange provides the
inherent flexibility the airline requires to match its plans for
continuing growth. "The ability for the Cobweb solution to grow as
we grow was one of our primary selection criteria. We can do this
very quickly by adding new accounts and mailboxes quickly and
Two, we can quickly modify the storage space to match individual
requirements. Some personnel within the airline won’t require much
storage space. Others will require a great deal. We can quickly
re-allocate storage in order to optimize the use of that storage
resource while also minimizing cost."
By matching storage requirements to individual needs, Guenthard
is also confident of Cobweb Hosted Exchange’s ability to meet the
airlines’ email and document archiving requirements.
"Secure archiving of emails and attachments is critically
important. Storing such vital information on personal laptops or
PC’s is risky. Cobweb Hosted Exchange provides email archiving as
part of the solution, and is a perfect place to store such
"This archiving capability is crucial to us. It provides the
airline with a complete email communications history. If we lost
that today, it would be a real problem because we’d also lose that
Guenthard highly recommends Cobweb Hosted Exchange and
BlackBerry Services, and for a variety of reasons. "Most
importantly, Cobweb Hosted Exchange reduces complexity from an IT
It provides stability because I don’t have to deal with servers
going down, or power cuts that affect those servers. Our staff
simply needs to access the Internet to use Cobweb Hosted
"And if we do encounter an issue, the Cobweb Helpdesk is very
responsive to our needs. For instance, we recently had a document
corruption issue, and the Helpdesk resolved it very quickly.
"Cobweb Hosted Exchange and BlackBerry Services are reliable,
cost-effective, stable, easy to manage, and provide the flexibility
to meet our growth targets. And importantly, the knowledge of its
reliability and the confidence that I have in it means that I can
sleep at night."
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