Microsoft Exchange Online Review

It has an intuitive GUI including most features found in Exchange Server

What is our primary use case?

We use Exchange Online to host our company email.  Now that O365 admin portal has been becoming more and more powerful I rarely find myself needing to use the Exchange Admin portal.  

We have many customers that use Exchange Online. All of which has become much easier to manage over the years as the O365 admin portal has developed. 

How has it helped my organization?

I have made about 10 migrations from Gmail, ATT, Amplex, 2007 - 2013 on prem Exchange servers to Exchange Online. The uptime and stability is far better than any on-prem or hosted solution I have used in the past.

Being a MS partner gives you central administration over all of your customers.

What is most valuable?

- O365 Admin portal
- New admin reports
- Office 365 Secure Score 
- Integrated Security
- Ease of migration from anywhere
- Intuitive GUI for control (Has greatly improved)
- Filters
- Granular control
- Encryption for HIPPA standards
- Central administration over all applications and clients
- Built in support ticket system
- Free mobile applications (applies to specific subscriptions)

What needs improvement?

Microsoft does not provide an automated way to migrate Public Folders. At this time you will need to run a series of complex PowerShell commands.

Supposedly Microsoft has done something about the public folders, however I have not investigated it.  This may or may not still be an issue.  

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The dashboard reveals when there are issues but none that my customers have ever experienced.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Exchange Online is extremely scalable. I know a company that migrate over 10k mailboxes. I am sure there are many companies that are much bigger yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10 out of 10

Technical Support:

10 out of 10

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As stated earlier, I have used Exchange on premises solutions, google, ATT, Rackspace and other solutions. They all do mail and do it well, however the ease of integration, simplicity of administration, and the overall support is the best! 

How was the initial setup?

There is a learning curve when migrating from other solutions. Once you understand the process it is straight forward

What about the implementation team?

All implementations were performed by me.

What was our ROI?

Currently as a Microsoft Partner we do not pay for an E3 license of O365 which includes Exchange Online. As for customers they are billed directly from Microsoft.

As a partner of record on each customer Microsoft pays out residuals as long as the customer continues to pay for the service.

If you are not a partner the ROI is based on the fact that you no longer need to pay for hardware/software, hardware/software maintenance, and labor to perform upgrades, maintenance, and troubleshooting of hardware/software.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The plans can be confusing. Take time to understand what you need, what you will need in the future, and buy a plan accordingly. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Gmail, ATT, Amplex, other ISP solutions, On-prem Exhange. 

What other advice do I have?

Moving to Exchange Online open doors for many options that come with O365 and Azure. As technology continues to move forward it is pushing us to the cloud. Starting with email in the cloud open doors for other solutions that may fit your business. 

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partners
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