April 28, 2010, 9:22 PM — Released about 18 months ago, Exchange Online provides a natural transition for large companies that already use on-premises Exchange, because many of the admin screens look exactly the same.
For Pitney Bowes Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based company that makes postal scales and related equipment, the move to an e-mail server in the cloud was a leap of faith, especially since it was using a competing product in-house.
"We asked the question: Can we live with very critical business data living in the cloud?" says Donna L. Dietz, vice president of technology planning at Pitney Bowes. She declined to name the product the company had been using before its move to Exchange Online.
"We went through a thorough process, even involving Legal," she says. At the end of that process, she explains, the company figured that "Microsoft is 10 times our size" and can manage e-mail more effectively than Pitney Bowes could in-house. The goal, she explains, was to no longer have to deal with constant patches and other maintenance headaches, leaving those issues to the product's creator instead.
Dietz went on to explain that the e-mail server is now housed in a Microsoft data center that is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense and meets service level agreements for e-mail.
Pitney Bowes had a few minor challenges in moving to a cloud-based e-mail service. One had to do with device support and Microsoft's ability to support different types of smartphones, for instance.