If you use Outlook, it might be the right time to take a closer look at Office 365. Office 365 fixes a lot of the issues that dog on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers. It takes away the headaches of back-up, recovery, security, firewalls and offers really easy integration to other cloud applications. For example, an automated Salesforce Outlook Integration app like Match My Email will easy work with Office 365, while it can be challenging with a regular on-premise Exchange server.
Watch out Google There is a New Groupware Cloud in Town
According to Bitglass, which queried the public MX records of more than 81,000 companies, Google Apps currently holds the dominant market share in cloud-based groupware with 16% versus a near 8% share for Office 365. In large companies of more than 1,000 seats, Google Apps and Office 365 are neck and neck with 9% of the market each. Google Apps still crushes Office 365 at the low end of the market where Google has 27% market share based on the Bitglass sample versus 10% for Office 365. My guess is that the Bitglass sample underestimates Office 365’s global market share because Office 365 is now available in 125 countries and it is gaining Home users.
For business users that already own a copy of Outlook – whether it is Outlook 2011 for Mac, Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 – Microsoft offers a $5.00 per subscription that includes business email with shared calendars, anti-spam and antivirus, Skype Web Conferencing, OneDrive online storage with 25GB free, free web site and free support. Incredible.
Accordingly to Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, 3.5 million Office 365 Home Premium subscribers – that is up from 2 million just six months ago. These are households that spend $99 per year for Office on up to 5 computers and 3 tablets.
Advantage: A Salesforce Outlook Integration App
One advantage of Office 365 over on-premise Exchange that will become more and more important in the future is its easy integration with third-party applications like CRM. Whereas every Exchange server is hidden behind a firewall with a unique IMAP host server name and IMAP port number, Office 365 standardizes IMAP access using the simple convention of imap.outlook.com and secure port 993. This makes it easy for email integration apps like Match My Email for Saleforce.com to seamlessly and effortless integrate Office 365 to Salesforce.com. The advantage of Match My Email is that it will sort and file inbound and outgoing emails automatically from Outlook thru Office 365 and log them in background, 24/7/365, into the right Salesforce record(s) – i.e., Leads, Contacts, Person Accounts, Accounts, Opportunities and Cases. Now that Office 365 includes Skype Web Conference and, in the Enterprise E4 version, Lync VOIP Server, it is just a matter of time before Office 365 will connect to third-party apps like Salesforce on a multi-channel communications basis.
Google needs to watch Office 365 closely. Microsoft has more multi-channel communications options than Google – Outlook, Skype, Lync VOIP, Onedrive, Sharepoint – that it can bring to the party. The future will be won by the best bundle of multi-channel communications options that are easy to integration amongst themselves and with third party apps like Match My Email for Salesforce.com.