Most small businesses do not have the luxury to spend thousands of dollars on something and not see any return on it â€“ unlike enterprises that are able to simply write off these expenses if something does not work.
And why wouldnâ€™t these small businesses run a tight-ship? After all, this money is coming out of the pocket of the founder or it has been loaned from a bank or funded by a venture capitalist who is expecting a high return and the last thing any of them would ever want, is a non-performing asset.
So, the question is â€“ can a small business afford to purchase Microsoft Exchange as an email management solution? Is this investment worth it or is it a better idea to spend money on a communication management system other than Microsoft Exchange?
It would be great if this question was as black and white as it seems. There are so many variable factors which are involved in making the decision, that it is obvious that it totally depends on each particular situation, which needs to be analyzed, in order to come to the best conclusion possible.
Some of the factors that need to be considered when making a decision if Microsoft Exchange is the right solution for an email management need include.
Size of Organization â€“ Analyze the size of the organization and take a pragmatic look at how many of the employees actually need to use a corporate email solution.
Also, donâ€™t fall into the trap of preparing for the growth right-now that your business-plan projects five years down the lane. Technologies keep changing, prices keep changing and there is no guarantee that your projected figures are accurate.
Need for Features â€“ Exchange is not just an email management solution, but a complete communication and groupware software. It offers shared contact, shared tasks, shared folders, outlook mobile and web access for all users. It is necessary to decide if it is really feasible to incorporate all of the features right now or in near future.
Initial Setup Costs â€“ When you decide to start using Microsoft Exchange as your communication management software, you need to be aware of the initial startup costs. You will need to purchase licensing for the software â€“ which would cost you roughly about $10,000 for 15 users.
You also need to take into account the cost of in-house servers and the cost of staff which will setup and maintain these servers. If you donâ€™t already have the talent to manage this, you will need to consider the costs of hiring new talent too.
Support and Training â€“ Once you have the system in place, your current staff will need to be trained to use the software optimally and they may also need training when they get struck. That is an additional cost for you. You also have to consider the fact that Microsoft can actually charge you to provide you support for the software they sold you.
Maintenance Costs â€“ Your investment doesnâ€™t end the moment you purchase the software. You will need to maintain the servers and software. You may need to apply software patches or hire someone to do so. You may need to upgrade to the latest version.
Knowing this, you need to analyze your current situation to decide if investing in Microsoft Exchange makes financial sense for your or if you should rather go in for Hosted Exchange Service.
Hosted Exchange Service
A lot of small-businesses decide that even though they would love to have the functionality offered by Microsoft Exchange but the initial investment is too high for them. To solve this problem, some hosting companies have started to offer Microsoft Exchange as a hosted service using Software as service model. Here are some reasons why a many small businesses choose Hosted Exchange.
No Infrastructure Costs â€“ When you are going in for hosted exchange, you have no need to invest in server infrastructure, software licenses and hiring and training people to manage this infrastructure. This investment is done by the company which is providing you software as service.
Fixed Monthly Fees â€“ Companies offering hosted exchange service have fixed monthly fees depending on the number of users you require or the amount of resources you use â€“ which makes your monthly fees predictable and fixed.
No Maintenance Required â€“ The Company which is providing you the hosted Microsoft Exchange takes care of the system maintenance, upgrading to latest version, installing the latest security patches and maintaining data backup. You do not have to worry about doing all of this yourself as you would with an in-house exchange.
Less Cost of Training and support â€“ Since hosted exchange is managed by a third-party, you no longer have the requirement of hiring and training technical staff to manage the software and related infrastructure. Furthermore, training and technical support for end users is provided by the service provider providing software as service.
Instant Setup â€“ With Hosted Exchange, you can usually be up and running as soon as you register an account with the company. However, with self-hosted software, you will have to first setup the infrastructure, install the software, test it and then roll it out for production use Hostway web hosting company is familiar with the Microsoft Google Exchange Server, on a very comprehensive level.