I cannot remember how many times I have walked into the office and someone has said “outlook is down” – for at least 6 months this was such a drain on me and a pain to the team. You see, in the old days, when you registered a domain name you had to go to a hosting company or web registrar. As part of the package when registering a domain name you were asked if you wanted a hosted solution and email.
For about £50 per year I would get my domain name, web hosting and email which was a pretty good deal. The problem was that the email was POP3 which meant that you either had to go online and navigate through an awful online inbox or buy and install Microsoft Outlook.
Microsoft Outlook was our choice of preference because it was feature rich and easy to navigate. The problem with Outlook however was that you had to have it installed on each and every computer if you were using a traditional local network (which most SME’s choose).
This now meant that you were reliant on the computers, the online connection, outlook, your pop3 account and everything in between – if any one of these failed I would hear “outlook is down”.
I solved this by moving to Google Apps – my initial hesitation had been the branding – I did not want to be sending emails from @gmail addresses but then I learned that you could edit MX records and continue sending from your own domain. This sealed the deal for me.
I now have access to my emails wherever and whenever I want. My iPhone and iPad sync with my account and of course I can check it from the browser on my desktop.
I don’t rate the other tools because of formatting problems. Microsoft Office is the predominant player in the market and Google need to get formatting issues resolved for people cutting and pasting between the 2 applications which is the only way people can migrate.
But then again, it is free so don’t complain too much.