Office 365 + Exchange

Exchange Server is the engine of the Microsoft Office suite of collaborative products; Outlook creates the messaging and scheduling, and can provide for the sharing of links and data files from Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and countless others.

Currently offered as a cloud solution, Office 365 uses the complex administrative structure of Exchange to connect people while relieving small business of the hardware-software maintenance required.

As a direct result of my experience overseeing on-premise Exchange Servers, I appreciate the luxury of off-premise service.  This allows mobile access as a matter of course, and doubles-down as disaster & continuity planning.

  • multi-domain hosting
  • users/groups and resources
  • archival and retention
  • journaling and disclaimers

UPDATE July 2015:  Microsoft offers a new Concierge/Ambassador program of free 24×7 phone support for Office 365 small business (really small, not like 300-users ‘small’,  but truly small user pools of 43, 20, 8… 1.  This one-on-one support combines onboarding assistance to you get you started then ongoing implementation advice.  This isn’t one-ticket, one topic:  you tell them what you want to do and they show the steps to do it.  By telephone with optional remote-desktop viewing for interactive guidance.  This is a refreshing change for small business owner-operators and their IT people who usually just need a boost in the right direction.  Users learn the portal quickly as it is a visual gateway to their services. 

At the time I implemented it, Microsoft did not directly implement O365 environments for small business, a third-party partner did the design and deployment duties after which your own Admin user dealt directly with Microsoft tech support and billing.  This is when the ongoing complexities come into play, as you tailor the environment to your evolving needs — some of which you won’t know until you gain experience then adjust operations to match.

I can help you prepare your site study and gain the most from your free support, or we can review an existing environment to increase efficiency and develop customization.

Small Business Options:  Office 365 for Business is divided by Exchange Services and Office software.  You can get one without the other or you can have both.  If you go with Exchange you also get SharePoint and One Drive for Business for data management, and Skype for Business for conferencing.

Whatever plan-combination you choose, Exchange services are always upgraded and the Office software is current.  We all know it’s tempting to delay cash-intensive projects like upgrades and conversions so this is part of the ‘bundled service’ best left to Microsoft.

Insight:  Too often the power and versatility expected from an investment in technology remains untapped because the underlying software features are not properly exploited.  My goal is to cultivate sharp and effective procedures based on full functionality of the technology you already own, then proceed to integrate new options suited to your needs.

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