Exchange 2010: Five Reasons Why I'm Upgrading

Exchange 2010 ships next week, facing more heat than ever from Google Apps and other hosted offerings. Here's a look at one CIO's decision-making process and the five key reasons why he chose on-premises Exchange 2010.

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Tue, November 03, 2009

CIO

Microsoft faces increasing competitive pressure from its Web-based rival, Google Apps, as it prepares to make Exchange 2010 generally available on Nov. 9. Microsoft promises an online version of Exchange 2010 will follow sometime next year.

While there are examples of businesses moving to online productivity suites, plenty of businesses say that they are still uncomfortable with having important company e-mails living on someone else's servers and prefer to keep e-mail system managment on premises.

"We don't have any plans to use the hosted model of Exchange. I think only a small company can do something like that," says John Bowden, CIO and IT Director for Lifetime Products, a Utah-based manufacturer of outdoor sheds, folding tables and chairs, and playground and basketball equipment.

Lifetime Products CIO John Bowden discusses his company's move to Exchange 2010.

With 1,400 employees spread out in locations in the United States, Mexico and China, Lifetime is upgrading to the on-premises version of Exchange 2010 from Exchange 2007 to improve communication, Bowden says.

The need to be in contact with supply chain partners in different parts of the world keeps Lifetime's IT department very focused on unified communications. Lifetime has been on Exchange for many years. In 2007, the company deployed Exchange 2007 with Unified Messaging, which established one messaging platform for all its employees by standardizing Outlook on desktop, the Web and on mobile devices.

But Lifetime CIO Bowden says that he saw enough new unified messaging features and potential cost savings in Exchange 2010 to push for an upgrade. Last month, Lifetime upgraded 150 mailboxes to Exchange Server 2010 and expects to have the entire migration to Exchange Server 2010 completed by the end of November 2009.

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In a recent interview, Bowden discussed new features in Exchange 2010 and how they will improve communication at Lifetime, reduce the amount of desk phones and cut down on IT and storage costs.

One Voicemail Service, with Transcriptions

With Exchange 2010, a feature called Voicemail Preview allows workers to receive text-transcriptions of their voicemail messages, saving the time it takes to listen to messages.

"Often you can't listen to voicemail because you're around other people, and seeing the text and being able to forward it or copy and paste it is becoming a big deal to users," says Bowden.

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