Is It the Right Move for Your Organization?
Most small businesses have quite a lot on the plate and team members wear multiple hats. Between meeting the needs of your customers, generating new business, worrying about employee issues and managing the day-to-day finances of your company, do you really have time to concentrate on your email system or worry about the latest online virus? More and more small businesses are simply outsourcing these tasks, leaving the associated burden and headaches to a trusted industry expert.
There are a number of key benefits to Hosted Exchange that work well for organizations of all sizes. Depending on whether you currently use on-premise Exchange as opposed to POP mail, your existing technology approach and support infrastructure, these may work well for you:1) Fast Return on Investment.
In IT studies looking at a Hosted Exchange solution over three years, some users estimated an ROI of more than 1000%, with payback in less than 30 days. With on-premise solutions, you have to pay for hardware as well as Windows and Exchange Server licenses. There may also be costs related to anti-virus and anti-spam software and client access licenses (such as Microsoft Outlook). Additional costs come in the form of spare parts, overtime for administrative staff and other maintenance-related expenses. In fact, the long-term costs associated with server maintenance usually far outweigh the initial acquisition costs over the life of the server. With Hosted Exchange, there are no initial upfront commitments for infrastructure, hardware, licensing and ongoing IT costs, so the returns are immediate.
2.) 24-7 Reliability
Most companies don’t have redundant power sources, backup generators and internet connections. If email is mission critical and uptime must be guaranteed, Hosted Exchange is definitely the way to go. No matter what your site situation is, users will be able to access their email and calendars remotely.
3) Increased Productivity.
Hosted Exchange’s productivity improvements are often enormous. Hosted Exchange customers often attribute gains to: 1) shared calendars, contacts and files; 2) anywhere, anytime access via Outlook Web Access and wireless messaging from your Blackberry or Windows Smartphone; and 3) ability to refocus IT resources on key business priorities.
4) Easy Scaling as you Grow
Scaling an in-house Exchange environment can require purchasing additional servers or upgrading hardware or software. Hosted Exchange customers avoid these costs by simply adding more email mailboxes as needed.
*Enterprise-class Infrastructure. The best Hosted Exchange providers have designed and built their network to minimize email downtime. This means they have highly secure, geographically dispersed data centers that can guarantee 99.9% network uptime. Translation: Your email is always available. This also means that your service provider manages the upgrades and security patches that are required to keep your network running smoothly.
5) Refocus Your IT Resources.
If you are not currently employing a fixed-fee Managed Services model for technology, you can dedicate precious time, resources and expertise to doing all the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep your in-house network and hardware up-and-running optimally 24-7-365, but why? A hosted solution allows you to focus your technical staff on core business issues to grow your revenues and profitability.
6) Managed Spam and Virus Protection.
Some Hosted Exchange providers also offer spam and virus protection, which can help eliminate 99% of unwanted email before it ever reaches your inbox. It also screens for and quarantines any viruses, which can bring your email system to a screeching halt.
7) Outlook Client Licenses Included.
Several Hosted Exchange providers offer a complimentary copy of Outlook 2007 for access to your email when you’re not connected to the Internet. This way, you can read all of your email as well as draft new emails and schedule meetings, which will then be updated (synchronized) the next time you are connected to the Internet. In addition to Outlook in the office, users can securely access Outlook email, calendars and contacts from any browser, from any location with Outlook Web Access (OWA), the online companion to Outlook.
Another benefit of Hosted Exchange 2007 is the pricing model. The cost for this hosted service is generally charged on a flat per user, per month basis (often between $10 and $15 for each mailbox). This makes budgeting easier and streamlines your cash flow, since you don’t have to worry about depreciation of expensive upfront capital expenses.
*Manage Email Accounts.
Some of the best Hosted Exchange vendors offer a simple Web-based management portal, which lets you directly manage your Exchange environment without having any in-depth technical knowledge. Your administrators can easily set up new users, perform tasks like email routing and manage mailbox storage limits and permissions with just a few key strokes.
*Mobile Devices Included/Blackberry Support.
Many Hosted Exchange accounts can easily be upgraded to include real-time synchronization of email, calendars, contacts and tasks with your BlackBerry and some include ActiveSync for Windows Smartphone and iPhones. Managing this setup can be complex for on-premise solutions and Blackberry devices require also running a Blackberry Server to have access to all features.
Because you have effectively shifted your IT burden and headaches to a IT hosting provider, they are on the hook to serve you. Look for for providers with U.S.-based support centers with a responsive help desk and 24/7 support.
Interested in learning more? Check out Part I: Into the Cloud – So What is Hosted Exchange Anyway? or contact our Client Solutions Team at 888-920-3450 x 210 to explore The Launch Pad’s Hosted Exchange Platform .