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Email as a managed service

By matthew.wade ·
I have just been asked what it would take to provide email as a managed service. Does anyone know of any company currently doing this or any whitepapers that I can take a look at to shed some insight on this?

I'm looking to use Citrix/Microsoft and want to know what is takes hardware/software wise to do something like this. Can Exchange 2000/2003 host multiple domains? What security risks are there? etc...etc... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Matthew Wade
MCSE, Network Engineer

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more than just email

by matthew.wade In reply to Email as a managed servic ...

I thought I may need to rephrase that email means (calenar, notes, tasks, pdcs..etc..)

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New paint, old house

by Oldefar In reply to Email as a managed servic ...

You can look at EDS as the first major provided of hosted solutions, going back to the 1960's and mainframes.

You can look at HP and Alcatel joint "Easy Office" offering for an example of current solution approaches.

In between you can find hundreds of niche space hosted providers in everything from running auto towing or auto salvage to doing the complete backend and user interface in the medical practice.

For your specific example, drop the vendors and you have Yahoo Business Mail with multiple accounts, each operating as an independent domain and with an ability for shared scheduling, messaging, and tasks.

The technical and IT operations aspects are fairly straight forward, and not significantly different than a well run enterprize infrastructure.

The challanges are in several areas.

First is marketing. You have to have a compelling story as to why a company would move its operations to you, whatever aspect of that operation you are thinking of providing. Cost is one factor, but time, knowledge, and security are at least as important and have to be viewed from your potential clients' perspective.

Having the story, you have to get it in front of the right audience. Keep in mind that when you bring it to IT audiences you challange their prestige and steal their security. If you aren't talking to an IT audience, you have to speak business instead of technology.

Next is focus. It is easy to get too broad and end up trying to be all things to all people. This will sap resources and dillute the story. It is better to begin with a niche, own it completely, and then expand slowly.

Pricing and billing are headaches. Pick the wrong mix and your revenue is eaten up by billing details on the one hand, or lacks flexibility on the other. Plus, change comes quickly so you have to keep a close eye on costs and know when you can drop pricing to stay competitive.

SLA becomes a marketing point. The SLA should be achievable, measurable, and most important meaningful to the clients.

It seems that you are starting with a technology solution instead of a business service to be achieved. "Build it and they will come" is good for movie plots, but not as successful in business. If you choose this approach, plan on spending a great deal of effort and wealth in a market campaign to create that need.

Best of luck.

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