There is a lot of interest in hosted email services because of the benefits it offers, but there are also a number...
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of risks to consider before moving from an on-premises Exchange environment to the cloud.
There needs to be a strong business case for moving to cloud-based email services, and there are many considerations to weigh. But where do you start? Let’s look at two companies (former clients of mine) that had reason to consider cloud email, the factors they considered and how they came up with their very different outcomes.
Weighing email services
Table 1 details the make-up of each company, its IT maturity and the attitude of executive toward IT and email.
|Company||Size (in users)||IT maturity||Executive attitude|
|A||Pharmaceutical||10,000||Immature – mostly use contractors||
Table 1: Company profiles
The second table illustrates email issues and concerns facing IT at each firm.
Table 2. Company email profiles
Each company considered different paths for delivering email services, including continuing their on-premises Exchange environment, moving to Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft’s Business Productivity Office Suite (BPOS) or Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE).
They also considered business and technical requirements of email and performed detailed cost models that compared costs for mailbox services, collaboration, archiving services, perimeter security (antivirus/spam/malware and message encryption), and mobile services. It also included licensing and maintenance, support, staffing, hardware, network, storage, migration, and other costs associated with delivering email.
Table 3. Study and outcomes
Regardless of the environment or the outcome, building the business case for cloud-hosted email and an email strategy put both firms in a better position to move forward. Documenting rationale, costs and data in the process of deciding which delivery option is best also puts IT in a stronger decision-making position and helps executive management understand the complexities of delivering mission critical email services.
In most cases, hosted email services are the most cost effective or efficient option, but companies have their reasons for putting off a move to the cloud. Many Exchange shops are simply waiting for cloud services to mature and for more options to emerge before making their move. At the end of the day, it’s really a question of the degree of services and flexibility the customer requires.
About the author:
Karen Hobert is an IT industry research analyst focused on communication, collaboration, content management and social software technologies. She offers over 20 years of hands-on and market expertise to enterprises planning, designing, and deploying shared information systems. You can read more of her thoughts at Karen's Connecting Dots blog.
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