Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Businesses Evading Exchange?


According to this article, James Gaskin's happy to see that David Ferris agrees with him that "Small Businesses (are) Evading Microsoft Exchange E-mail". Oh, really? There's a lot moving to Gmail because they offer the same functionality?

For starters, when Gmail goes offline for 2.5 hours as it did a few days back and takes your email down with them, if you'd been running SBS in your office, you'd still have access to all of your email, calendars, contacts and so on. No downtime due to the cloud dissipating in low humidity environments.

Can CRM (Microsoft's CRM or other parties' CRM solutions) integrate with Gmail? How about other Line of Business applications? Can you sync your calendar, contacts and email to your PDA? Can other staff members search across the company's calendars and find a suitable time to book a meeting for multiple attendees? Will you be informed of this appointment and be able to accept/reject it on your PDA, desktop or laptop? Can you keep a regular backup of your Gmail information for the whole company in case of system failure/cloud failure/legal reasons/disaster recovery/sensible business practice?

Can your business accept the Google Terms and Conditions associated with your business correspondence and Intellectual Property being stored on/hosted on/passed through their system?

Yes, I know that Gmail (and other mail solutions) can provide some or many of these features and other features that Exchange provides, but I certainly don't see nor hear of SMBs abandoning Exchange for Gmail. Not right now, and probably not for a while.

Yes, SBS 2008 is no longer a really affordable Small Business office solution (small as in 3-10 users) like it was with SBS 2003, however for the 10+ business it is still quite good value. I'm also not saying that Gmail isn't valid in a number of situations, small or medium businesses included here with larger businesses, and even some colleges and universities are looking (or moving) to Gmail for their student mail. I'm not saying that Exchange will always be better nor even that it is even better now for all of your clients, but is Gmail, the cloud and unreliable Internet connectivity like we have here in Australia a good combination *now*?

I'd like to see better Internet connectivity and more reliable Internet connectivity here in Australia which will really allow us to look at the Cloud as a viable replacement for in-house infrastructure, but right now, unless you have a fiber connection into your office, "reliable" isn't something most people would label their Internet connectivity with.

So, if anyone is seeing SMB clients moving to Gmail, *please* let me know as I'm interested in seeing how many people agree with James and David's viewpoint here. I just don't see it myself nor from any of the other SMB IT consultants I've spoken with.


The Outspoken Wookie

1 comment:

Drew Hills - CognICT said...

Firstly - I agree that Gmail is NOT usually the correct solution for my clients. However you mentioned "fibre to the office"

Your wish is internodes command. Now I know this will not be everywhere, but it is a start.