Volume 16, Issue 2 - March/April 2012

Open 24/7
By Manny Hondroulis

Managing Mail

My company’s network administrator recently upgraded our server to replace six year-old equipment and take advantage of new technology. Our server came pre-loaded with Microsoft Exchange and our personal computers were upgraded to Outlook 2010 to ensure compatibility. If you are an avid email user, you are most likely familiar with Outlook. For those who aren’t, Outlook is a component of Microsoft Office and is a user-friendly application that allows you to write, check and manage email, all the while integrating almost seamlessly with other Office applications.

I’ve been using Outlook for years and wouldn’t compose an email without it. I use it to check personal and professional email accounts. Prior to the server upgrade, my work email was managed through our website provider, GoDaddy. Essentially mail sent to any company employee was stored on GoDaddy’s servers until we checked our email through Outlook, at which time email is grabbed from GoDaddy’s server and displayed on our computers. This type of email arrangement is called POP and there are pros and cons to it. On pro is that GoDaddy is responsible for making sure that the equipment used to manage your email works. Among the cons, it is very difficult to sync all of your email (inbox, outbox, sent items, deleted items, personal folders, etc) between your computers, tablets and smartphones. In a time when email management and online data organization are key, having all of your devices synced together can mean the difference between high and low productivity.

Microsoft Exchange is the world standard for organizations that want to host their email. Having come with our new server, we migrated our email from GoDaddy/POP to Exchange for numerous reasons. First, our network administrator wanted to manage our email internally for security purposes. Too often incoming viruses sent via email would put our network at risk (just to be clear, this is not GoDaddy’s fault nor is GoDaddy responsible for these viruses). Now that we host our email, it is easier for our network administrator to eliminate or quarantine any potential threats, thereby increasing the security and reliability of our network.

But what was important to me as a user is that Exchange provides great flexibility in how email is stored, managed and delivered. The most noticeable benefit is that email is “pushed” to your device, whether a computer, tablet or smartphone. When checking POP email through Outlook, email needs to be “pulled” from GoDaddy’s servers, either manually or during a scheduled check, leading to a delay in the receipt of email. Exchange email is delivered to my inbox instantly once the sender hits the send button. When an email is sent, my laptop, iPad and iPhone receive the email at the same time.

The most significant benefit is how email is synced between different devices. Any change I make in Outlook can be viewed across my computer, tablet or phone. Here is an example—I send an email from my laptop to John Smith in the morning at the office. Later that day, while at home, and while my laptop is sitting on my desk at the office, I can view that same sent email from my iPad or iPhone because everything I do is automatically synced across all three devices. The same is true for my calendar. If a colleague schedules a meeting with me by sending an Outlook meeting invitation, the meeting is automatically placed on my iPhone and iPad calendars—no double or triple entry required. Another bonus feature is that when I add a contact in one device, the same contact appears in the other two. Don’t get me wrong, this functionality can be achieved through POP email hosting but third party applications and a bit of manual entry may be required. The use of Microsoft Exchange makes it easy.

Given the nature of my job, I often write mass emails to multiple customers. Many POP providers limit the number of emails that you can send in a day.

After using Exchange for almost two months, I regret that we weren’t using it earlier. Having a handle on the correspondence that we send and receive, knowing where we need to be at a given time on a given day, and having accurate contact information on our business associates makes us more productive.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Performance Distribution in Baltimore.

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