We utilize email as part of our everyday lives; be it work or personal use, email is ubiquitous in the 21st century. For the most part, we tend to use Cloud-based email services for personal use and have done so for almost two decades.
However, in the corporate world, the adoption of Cloud based email services isn’t as commonplace. What are we missing? Should services like Microsoft’s Office 365 be the go-to standard?
Let’s explore some of the often overlooked areas when considering a move to Cloud-based productivity solutions and see where our organizations could be benefiting.
So much email
Email, being so commonplace, is often considered to be a simple solution and, much like the apps on our smartphones, we expect it to “just work”. However, there are various elements that come together to make email available like we expect it to be (which is, always!).
First, there is all the data we store; every email sent and received consumes storage. This means that the same storage consumed for each email is often stored multiple times (often, as a minimum, in triplicate).
Next, we have the computer hardware that drives all the systems that make emails flow around our organizations. Again, in the interest of availability, the computer hardware tends to be distributed across multiple physical locations.
We need to ensure that these email systems are backed up in the case of data loss – this consumes more compute and storage.
Security and compliance solutions are next in line in the long list of components that come together to deliver enterprise-class email. These additional layers protect us from malicious factors while also keeping our day-to-day activity compliant with local laws and regulations governing our business activities.
On top of all these systems comes the software licensing needed to enable legal usage of all these technologies.
The last piece of the puzzle is the technically qualified and competent people necessary to run, maintain and support these systems and technology, which all combine to deliver that “simple” productivity tool we all know and love (or loathe) - email.
No more email
We now communicate in a number of ways: instant message (IM), apps, social media, to name a few. This means we need to look beyond an email-only solution to achieve the communication needs of our modern society.
There are start-ups that outlaw internal email! Email is only utilized for communication outside of the organization – yes, this is an extreme example but it illustrates the changes to ways of working.
Office 365 offers communication mediums like social, chat, collaboration platforms, voice, broadcast, and more. Not only does Office 365 enable an organization to abstract itself away from significant technology burden but also makes available entirely new ways of working to support the geographically dispersed, multi-disciplined and multi-generational workforces that exist in our global economy.
So much more than email
Many people equate Office 365 with email as it is the easiest association to make. However, Office 365 is an offering from Microsoft which goes beyond the realm of email to include offerings like the Office software license on multiple devices, access to data storage for each licensed user, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business and so much more!
In fact, Office 365 is made up of more than 20 Microsoft products bundled together under different subscription models (See Figure 1). This is where significant value can be unlocked for the organization. This is not to say that Office 365 is the answer to all our working practices and needs, but there are a number of use cases and various working initiatives (flexible working, BYOD, multi-geo collaboration, etc.) that can be enabled through the adoption of Office 365.