This post is going to discuss how to pick the right email provider for you and your company. The items we are going to cover are the differences in software, the ability to add-on, and costs. There are many providers to pick from and many different reasons for going with each one. This is a good place to start in understanding the differences between the largest two providers, Microsoft and Google.
Microsoft office is the clear leader when it comes to handling office documents. Most established firms use Word, Excel, and Outlook in their daily business routines. Microsoft Office 365 integrates directly within those flagship products directly. This helps users maintain a certain amount of comfort with products they have already been using, while at the same time allowing the data to be stored in Microsoft’s cloud. Google on the other hand, has their competing products 100% web-based. Software like Google Sheets (spreadsheet software) or Google Docs (word processing) allow you to do all of your editing right in your browser rather than needing another piece of software installed. They work very well, but will require training and a little bit of time for users to get used to them. Also, one big point of contention for some users is the requirement of a middle ware app from Google that is required to use Outlook. While it works pretty flawlessly 99% of the time there are some times where it may take some troubleshooting.
I think most people would agree with me that email is where most of your day is spent. A good amount of business data is stored, and sent within email on a daily basis. Google Apps has something called the Google App Marketplace. It allows users and admins to add-on additional functionality to their email platform. On the surface, this seems like a pretty trivial factor to look at when considering hosted providers. But, when you look at the applications that work directly with the same credentials, and pull the same data, it’s really amazing. Take for example a CRM product: If it has direct access to your email, it can automatically track your emails to the appropriate contact. This saves you the time of having to log emails etc. There is no software to install ever, which makes maintaining marketplace apps a breeze.
Hosted Email Services Are Now A Launching Pad to Many Other Applications
Microsoft on the other hand, uses Outlook plugins in most cases to keep data in sync. While this can be a reasonably reliable in most cases, it requires outlook to be open and operating for the connections to work. Microsoft is working on adding more functionality to its cloud offering, but it is pretty juvenile as compared to Google.
Google’s pricing model is pretty straight forward at $5 a month. Microsoft’s is a semi – graduated scale based on how many users you have and whether or not you need Microsoft Office. Check out the pricing comparison I did here
Google Apps vs Office 365: Cost ComparisonJuly 30, 2014
Another Reason for Hosted EmailJanuary 28, 2014