Email communication is essential to most businesses regardless of size. There are a range of considerations to make when deciding which email set up is right for your organisation. Budget is often a big factor but other points you may consider is:
- Do I need to backup my emails?
- Do I want to access my emails from multiple devices?
- Do I want to synchronise multiple devices?
- Do I want my messages hosted locally and maintain the infrastructure myself?
Zimbra Collaboration Suite and Microsoft 365 are two solid email systems with enormous customer bases around the world.
Device and OS support – Zimbra is cross platform and will work on any Operating System and any device. Office 365 will work on Windows but has limited accessibility on some editions of Android.
Features – Office 365 includes the Microsoft Suite of desktop applications and hosted versions of Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Zimbra provides hosted email, Calendar, file sharing, document management and an award winning AJAX user interface. It also offers useful features such as cross platform sync, search and email sorting.
Zimbra’s web interface is second to none. It is considered better than clients such as Outlook. Across platforms it offers a consistent experience so there is no need to worry about Mac or PC for the end user.
The big attraction for a lot of users is the inclusion of the MS Office applications. For an organisation already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem, the inclusion of Word, Excel and Outlook is a major consideration. It is possible to use a version of MS Office without the email integration provided by Office 365 but this is often too complex and messy to consider. OneDrive doesn’t have its own web interface which often prompts users to opt for an alternative such as DropBox – if you don’t use OneDrive, the constant prompting and messages can be very irritating.
Cost – For a hosted Microsoft Office 365 including business email account, the cost is currently £17.60+VAT per user per month. For an Exchange account without the MS Office applications, it is £6+VAT per user per month. All Microsoft 365 accounts require an annual commitment. For a standard Zimbra account it is £3.95+VAT per user per month. Zimbra accounts require 30 days notice to terminate.
Both Zimbra and Microsoft Office are scalable and can cope with an expansion and contraction of users. They are ideal for small and medium size enterprises that are looking for a collaborative approach to working, improve mobility, security and productivity.