An increasingly mobile world requires agile computing solutions. In this context, swapping the on premise Microsoft Exchange servers for hosted email services is not a bad idea. It saves money, improves productivity and reduces maintenance. The economics of it all is too attractive to ignore.
Having said that, it is important to point out that each organisation is unique and has unique needs and cost savings from the swap will be as little as 30% or as much as 70%. The actual or ball park figure will have to be arrived at by each organisation individually at the start of the exercise.
Cloud productivity suites present an option. For instance, Google Apps will cost users $5 per user per month. If Google Vault is added to the soup, the costs may go up to $10 per month per user. HyperOffice may start at $15 per user per month. Microsoft Office 365 has plans that range from $8 to $22 dollars. Each of these cloud based applications will include a full suite of productivity tools and some minimum storage space per user.
The advantage of moving to a hosted email service is that a number of collaboration and communication tools come with the package. File storage, social networking and document editing tools are often thrown in to enhance their appeal. Furthermore, all or any of these applications can be used by the end users from anywhere, anytime and from any kind of device.
As a result, all sizes of organisations can institute and implement Bring your own device (BYOD) policy without worrying about mobile device management and security of organisational data. The hosted system is not tied to any particular hardware or software and releases the organisation from the shackles that held it down to a particular geographical location.
However, hosted email services demand their pound of flesh. A lot of planning and implementation efforts are needed to successfully commission the service in any organisation. The implementing entity must have a clear understanding of what the business demands and what its processes involve. Without that understanding, the implementation efforts will fail from the word “go”.
For those who are wary of venturing into the unknown, Microsoft Exchange can be abstracted to the cloud using Amazon Web Services or Rackspace.