By Irina Shamkova, SVP of Product Management, Intermedia
As most partners know, the market is led by just a few managed cloud email options, with Microsoft Office 365 being the most dominant. But Office 365 Outlook email isn’t always the best choice for partners. Many find it difficult to differentiate their offerings with Office 365, or to make the margins necessary to compete with the many other resellers in the market, including Microsoft, which is undoubtedly paying more attention to the enterprise communications market, even adding “intelligent communications” capabilities to its chatbot collaboration tool and debuting “365 Business.”
There is, however, another robust productivity solution that offers both partners and their customers a more customizable option: Hosted Exchange. Hosted Exchange is a powerful, collaborative, scalable solution that is often an great fit for partners and customers. Let’s take a look at why.
For partners, one significant difference between Hosted Exchange and Office 365 is the level of stickiness.
With Office 365, Microsoft makes it easy for customers to switch providers or even purchase services directly from Microsoft with just a few clicks of a mouse. With no data migration required, customers can easily provider-hop to get a cheaper price, even if the partner did all of the work to initially migrate them to Office 365. With Hosted Exchange, switching providers requires a full migration that often requires significant technical assistance. This makes Hosted Exchange more “sticky.”
Hosted Exchange also allows partners to develop email solutions customized to their customers’ specific needs — with the option to provide complementary productivity and collaboration add-ons, such as encryption, advanced archiving and unified communications as a service (UCaaS), that are able to be sold under either the provider’s or the partner’s own brand. Hosted Exchange is also available in a multi- and single-tenant cloud for additional scalability as a client’s needs might change.
Hosted Exchange also provides a high level of reliability, meaning less unplanned downtime and, ultimately, fewer customer support calls to troubleshoot issues. This is no small matter for partners tasked with delivering the best experience they can to their customers, at a lower cost than the competition. When customer-support calls increase, the amount of time and money that partners spend in trying to fix the issue increase as well. Not surprisingly, the level of frustration for both the partner and customer can rapidly escalate.
Typically, reliability comes down to how many “nines” a service vendor can provide. Microsoft Office 365, for example, has three nines, or 99.9 percent, uptime, meaning there can be as much as eight hours of unplanned downtime per year. Hosted Exchange, by contrast, can have up to five nines, or 99.999 percent, uptime, which equates to less than six minutes of unplanned downtime per year. Narrowing downtime from hours to just minutes can save companies from losing customers, communications, productivity and significant revenue.
Because of this increased reliability, partners can feel confident that their customers’ email is going to be available nearly 100 percent of the time, and they won’t need to …