I'm not really sure where the best place to ask for help on this is, so I'm defaulting to trusty neowin - because you guys haven't let me down before.
Essentially, the company I work for has been using a fairly basic, no-frills email service (IMAP and not much else) for donkeys years now and I'd like to move them onto something better, with things like shared calendars and all that. We're not quite big enough to warrant hosting our own exchange server or anything (Company has only about 20 people), so I'm looking towards things like Office 365, Google Apps and other hosted cloud services.
We are capable of hosting stuff ourselves, but I (And the boss) would much rather have someone else host it more for peace of mind, as I'm not really qualified to deal with it all (I have my day job, still!) and the company is just not quite ready to hire a full time IT Guy.
Anyway, as I don't really have a huge amount of experience with this side of things, I'm looking for some general advice on what others use. How is Office 365? How does it compare to Google Apps? Our current mail provider offers hosted "Zimbra" and this looks promising as well, very promising actually, but I am having trouble finding reasonable comparisons between Zimbra and Google Apps. Has anyone used both? Can anyone give any particularly outstanding reasons to use one, or not use one?
My gut instinct is to go for Google Apps, but this is mostly because I use and love Gmail myself (And the other google services). I am very much used to and like the Google ecosystem but if there's a clear benefit to using a different service, then I am all for pushing the company to whatever works best for them.
In terms of what we actually need, I think requirements are fairly basic. We need good email client support, particularly outlook (I think all of the above mentioned services have this covered). Ideally, a range of supported Android/iOS apps as well that can stay in sync with each other (again, I think they all support this one way or another - but if someone stands out, then by all means let me know). We also need to be able to have email aliases that get sent to multiple recipients within the company (such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) - I don't actually know if this is a trivial thing that everyone supports or if it's something that say Google Apps can't do, any info on that would be good.
And, well, I guess anything that could potentially help a business work better? If there's some feature that someone has that makes things more efficient, then even better. I don't know enough about all this, I just know that things can be better.
Any info or recommendations (or horror stories) would be highly appreciated. Thanks, guys!
Best Answer InsaneNutter , 07 February 2014 - 11:49
Working for a fairly small company myself, who went from using Google Apps to using Office 365 with Exchange I can honestly say the two are vastly different. Exchange / Office 365 are in a totally different league to Google Apps.
If you use Exchange that integrates with Outlook perfectly, it will sync everything, including Email, Contacts, Calendar, Email rules and so on. You can easily access shared inbox’s e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. See other peoples calendars, and so many other small things that just make you feel its so much more professional offering.
For £10 a month per user you get a licence for that user to use office on up to 5x devices, so their work PC, Laptop and even the home PC. 50gb Exchange Inbox, 25gb of storage on Sky Drive (One Drive now) access to Sharepoint, Lync and so on.
Basically the complete Microsoft package. It also integrates with your existing server running Server 2012 (or 2012 R2) really nicely.
I personally can’t rate it highly enough, especially for a small business. The upfront costs are small and you have the advantage of never having any massive upgrade costs, when the next version of office is out you can upgrade at no additional cost.
See the different plans here: http://office.micros...X102918419.aspx
By all means do your own research, however having used them both I recommend Office 365 / Exchange all the way.Go to the full post