Why Co-exist with another mailing solution ?

What is a Co-existence solution?

A Co-existence solution, as the name suggests, is a solution where 2 or more mailing systems work seamlessly together to provide a common/ shared address space (email domain name like acmecorp.com), a centralized directory for authentication and personal properties of entities (users, groups), and common contacts of all mailing systems to all users.

Such a solution allows the organization to host separate groups of users on different systems depending on their usage requirements. E.g. in an organization with 1000 users, a typical co-existence between Connect Xf and MS Exchange will allow the organization to host 100 users on MS Exchange and 900 on Connect Xf, sharing a common domain name in their email ids, and with seamless mail flow between the users of both systems.

Why Co-existence?

The main reasons to deploy multiple Email solutions as a hybrid are:

  1. Your critical requirements are not met entirely by one solution, but the benefits offered by that solution cannot be ignored either. E.g. some of the key management people, who are using MS Outlook and Blackberry smartphones, wish to have a seamless anytime, anywhere, any-device access to their email and calendar. This basically means their mailbox, address books and calendar should synchronize between the server, MS Outlook and Blackberry (over a BES server) which is only available via proprietary solutions like MS Exchange or Lotus Notes. The Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and MS Outlook are both proprietary, closed-source products, and hence do not readily integrate with an open-source email server software. BES does not support open standards like CalDAV for calendar or LDAP for address book sync, and will only work with the supported proprietary solutions.
  2. You wish to take a phased approach to migrate from one solution to another and in the interim, to keep disruptions minimum and the transition smooth, you would like to maintain a hybrid solution.

But why shouldn’t I standardize a single proprietary Email Solution across the organization?

This option would ensure that the key management people will get access to features/ functionalities like Email, Address Book and Calendar sync across access devices (mainly Blackberry).

However, the flip side of this is the huge investment required in deploying proprietary Email solutions. Closed and proprietary systems like MS Exchange might require a costly overhaul of an existing hardware/ infrastructure setup along with the latest version of the software. Even a back-of-the-envelope estimation of the fully loaded cost of email, factoring in costs of hardware, server software, client software, spam protection, staff, maintenance, storage, archiving, mobile email, and financing, can throw up an astoundingly high figure [Forrester].

Empirical research shows that the investment required for deploying a proprietary Email solution in a centralized, high-availability setup for organizations can be between 10-15 times (1000-1500%) of the investment required for a comparable Email and Collaboration solution based on Open Source platform.

Question to be asked here is whether the incremental benefits offered by the proprietary Email solution over a comparable Open Source based Email Solution would outweigh (or even rationalize) the huge investments required in implementing a full-scale proprietary Email solution? This question is all the more relevant in the present economic situation, which demands that CXOs take a hard look at their Email & Collaboration infrastructure and look for ways in which they can bring down the cost substantially without compromising on business benefits.

A case for Co-existence

So what is the best way forward?

To analyze the costs of providing email in a way that reveals where costs can be controlled, it’s important to segment your employees based on what they actually need in an email and collaboration application.

Typically in any organization, while the top executives would require a fully loaded email solution with Blackberry & Outlook sync, the other users would need most of the basic email and collaboration features minus the frills.

This presents a strong case for a hybrid setup comprising of a proprietary Email solution like MS Exchange and an open source solution, with a few key users being hosted on MS Exchange and the rest to be hosted on the open source solution.

A hybrid email setup serves three critical purposes:

  1. It provides the critical features/ functionalities required by the top management in a way they would want.
  2. It also enables the organization to save big time on the overall infrastructure, management and upgrade costs, by ensuring that a majority of the users remain on a low-cost, resource-efficient system.
  3. It brings in value from the open world, which gives the business an IT edge, like archival, commodity mobility, access to free clients and applications like Thunderbird, Jabber chat clients etc. E.g. With open technologies, you could use any Android based phone/ pad/ tab, iPhone, iPad, to get seamless access to email, calendar, chat, and address book, while on the move. A possibility like this allows the field force to be more connected to each other and not just the top management.

Can Mithi offer a solution?

Mithi proposes the following solution.

  1. Identify which of the current users in your organization would need functionalities like Blackberry & Outlook sync.
  2. Divide the users amongst the two solutions. Mithi Connect Xf would seamlessly integrate and co-exist with the proprietary Email solution like, MS Exchange on the same domain, offering single-point user management, common address book, single-point authentication (on ADS) etc. In fact, that’s one of key distinguishing factors of Mithi Connect Xf as compared to other open source based mailing solutions.

Besides lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the email system tremendously with no compromise on the critical mail-messaging features and functionalities, Mithi Connect Xf also offers better built-in security, better manageability and better scalability, rich and free clients to access the applications, while ensuring lesser resources are required

Is Co-existence an accepted industry practice? Which customers are already using Mithi Connect Xf in co-existence with MS Exchange?

Aditya Birla Group, Aegon Religare Life Insurance, Aditya Birla Minacs BPO etc. are some of Mithi’s customers who have deployed Mithi Connect Xf alongside MS Exchange to reap these benefits. The Aegon Religare case study is enclosed for your reference. Incidentally, this has been featured by CIO Magazine under Business Leadership as one of 10 best business idea implementations driving cost benefit to business.

In the words of Mr. Srinivasan Iyengar, CIO, Aegon Religare Life Insurance:
“The implementation of Mithi Connect XD at Aegon Religare resulted in impressive savings of between 40 and 50 percent. The results are way beyond our expectations. Which is why I don’t see the reason why more organizations won’t follow this approach given that mailboxes are a commodity. By default you don’t expect much from a mailbox. Unlike an app you don’t wonder what business value it can offer or the sort of revenue it can generate. It’s just a mailbox.
The Open Source solution is also scalable. We have tested this system for up to 20,000 users. And I don’t have to deal with sophisticated or high-end servers. Mithi’s solution has also been routinely taken through a stringent third-party security audit by the Aegon Religare IT team, and has come out with flying colours every-time.”

Encouraged by the savings with Connect XD, Aegon Religare has recently migrated more than 1000 users from Outlook to Thunderbird to further consolidate the cost gains.

Thunderbird, what’s that?

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free open source POP and IMAP email client developed by Mozilla.org, the same folks who brought you Firefox. Feature-wise it is comparable to MS Outlook with very similar interface, which means that switch-over from MS Outlook to Thunderbird can be smooth. Even the data migration from MS Outlook (PST) to Thunderbird is hassle-free and can be done by the users without much intervention by the IT team.

Some of the key differentiating features of Thunderbird include:

  1. Built-in spam filtering and RSS reader
  2. Message color coding
  3. Fast and intuitive (as-you-type) email search
  4. Anti-phishing measures
  5. Spell check as you type
  6. Kerberos authentication
  7. The ability to view your mail in conversational threads
  8. Views, tags, filters and smart folders help you manage your mail better
  9. Searches can be saved to virtual folders that automatically aggregate relevant mail
  10. S/MIME support lets you encrypt and sign mail in Mozilla Thunderbird
  11. Calendar, browser, organizer and many more plug-ins/extensions to enrich your experience
  12. Thunderbird email files can be indexed by the Google, Yahoo! and Copernic desktop search programs

On top of this, Thunderbird is more secure and robust than other proprietary Desktop Email solution, and can easily handle large mailboxes. Both Mithi Connect Xf and Thunderbird, being based on same open standards, work perfectly together and allow seamless access and synchronization for mail, calendar, address books etc. A special Thunderbird plugin by Mithi, allows the users to control some of their key properties from the client itself (e.g. password, quota, etc)

So how would Mithi’s solution work?

Mithi will set up the solution as follows (this is a sample setup for a 1000 user Endeavour Email setup):

  1. Mithi will install and configure the following servers in local data center
    • Mail Routing Server
    • Hot standby server for the Mail Routing server (Optional)
    • Mailbox Server
    • Hot standby server for the Mailbox server
    • Compliance Archive server
  2. Mithi will set up the co-existence and directory connectors to integrate with MS Exchange
  3. Mithi users would connect to the designated Mithi mailbox server and send and receive mail using any email client
  4. Exchange users would connect to their designated Exchange server to send and receive mail using MS Outlook.
  5. Mithi Connect XF will deliver mail locally for all Mithi users
  6. Mithi will then configure the archival server and the Hot standby server

Solution Diagram

 

Components/ Functions and Mailflow

 

Component Description of role it plays in the setup
Connect Xf Mail Routing Server The Mail Routing Server will be the landing server for all mails on the designated domains from the Internet via the Firewall/Security Applicance. It will also be configured to deliver outgoing mail from the domains to Internet (via the Firewall/Security Applicance). It will be configured to archive the incoming and outgoing mails of the designated users onto the Archival server. It will also host the mail policies.The mails for all the users on MS Exchange as well as Mithi Connect Xf will land from the Internet via the Firewall/Security Appliance service on to the Mail Routing Server. After scanning the mails for mail policies, the mails will be relayed to the respective Mail Servers (MS Exchange / Mithi Connect Xf) , where they will be delivered in to the respective mailboxes.Similarly, all outgoing mails (internal as well as external) from  all users on Exchange  the mails and Mithi Connect Xf will be routed via the Mail Routing Server.
DR for Mail Routing Server (optional) This is configured in Active-Active mode with the Primary routing server.
Connect Xf Mail Server This server will be configured to receive mail for the Connect Xf users from the Mail Routing Server and deliver them into the respective mailboxes. It will provide the SMTP, POP, IMAP and HTTP services to the user.
Mail policies would be enabled to control mail flow.
Disaster Recovery/ Hot Standby for Mail Server This is a passive standby to the Mail server, and syncs data in real time. The switch over from the Primary to the DR server is automatic in case of a network or hardware failure on the Primary server.A separate Mithi Connect Server would be configured as a Disaster Recovery Server in a hot standby (HSB) mode for the Mail Server.  Data would be synchronized between the two servers. In case of any downtime to the Mail Server, users would access the HSB Server. This would ensure minimum downtime. The mailstore would be replicated periodically (once or twice a day as appropriate). In case of a primary failure, a restore would need be done from the Primary system backup, and the switchover would be an automatic process
Compliance Archival server A separate Mithi Connect Xf server would be configured as an Archival server.  A copy of all incoming as well as outgoing (internal as well as external) mails for the designated users will be forwarded by the Mail Routing Server to the Archival server. The archiving will happen through this server onto a separate partition on a shared storage or on the local storage. Compliance Archive server will be deployed, which will receive all mail sent/received by all the users. A single interface will be available through which the selected management or administration staff can search for mail.Note: In a multiple domain setup, all mail for users of all domain will be deposited into the same archival system. When a manager or administrator searches for mail through the Archive search interface, he can view mail of any domain. There is no provision to restrict rights to specific  users to search through mail only of their specific domain.
Note: If it is required to have the Compliance Archival server in a separate location, this can be easily done by routing all archive mail traffic to the server at this location. You  may want to do this  to secure the archive data to another location.
Backup We recommend a scheduled once a day full/incremental backup of the system using a third party backup solution. The backup data to be taken on another server/medium for redundancy. Please note that this will have to be in place before we go live.Note: Do this for all servers
Authentication Users are authenticated with the local directoryIf the system is integrated with an external directory server like MS ADS or RHDS, users are directly authenticated with this directory server. This means that the password change operation is done only on the external directory and passwords are not synced to the Mithi directory.Note: There is an option to specify separate authentication servers for each user if required.
Access by end users There are a variety of desktop clients available such as Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc. Either of these can be configured to access the mailboxes over IMAP/POP/SMTP.
Calendar access is possible via Baya (Web client) or any CalDAV compliant client like Thunderbird, iPhone, Android phones.Chat can be accessed using free desktop jabber clients like pidgin, exodus, etc. The same can be accessed from the iPhones and Android phones. Address book can be accessed using LDAP from the desktop clients, mobilie clients (supporting LDAP like iPhone, Android, etc)The users may also access their Mail, Calendar, Address books via the integrated Baya Web client using a compatible browser over HTTP.Some of these clients are free and some are paid.
Provisioning of entities & Address Books User creation/deletion is performed on the directory/administration server of Connect Xf Mail Server.The users use the GAB (Global Address Book) from Connect XF to access all the contacts in the system. The GAB is populated with the directory of the local domain users and external contacts.In a co-existence setup (shared SMTP address space or split domain), the user provisioning is done on both the systems separately with no automatic connector between the two.The personal properties of users in the global address books however can be synchronised automatically using a periodic sync connector. This will populate the global address books of the domains on the Mithi server from the external directory server.

Exchange users see the entire list of users (including Mithi users and Exchange users) in their GAL, while Connect Xf also sees the entire list of users.

Benefits of Mithi’s proposed solution

Enhanced Availability

  1. Real-time replication of directories, address books, configurations, mail-store etc. across the Mail and DR servers
  2. Negligible Downtime (Instant switch-over)
  3. Architecture based on commodity components and OS editions. No need for expensive clustering software and tools.

High Performance

  1. Clean, fast mail flow
  2. Ability to handle heavy mail traffic efficiently
  3. Hassle-free management of users, domains and data (mailstore, directories etc.)
  4. Access to advanced features like shared Calendar, Intelligent Search, Email-to-SMS, Automatic Backup, Archival etc.

Low TCO

  1. Low licensing costs
  2. Low infrastructure costs – enhanced availability setup with just two servers
  3. Low deployment costs
  4. Low maintenance costs
  5. Low migration costs

Seamless Integration with MS Exchange setup

  1. Seamless integration with MS Exchange setup for mail flow and address book synchronization
  2. Both Exchange and Mithi users will have access to consolidated global address book across the domain

Scalability

  1. Same setup is scalable to accommodate multiple domains and large no. of (external) users

So what is not possible with the Co-existence

The solution offers seamless connectivity in

  • Email
  • Address Books
  • Authentication (single password)

And due to the inherent proprietary nature of the following, it is not possible to synchronize them across the two systems

  • Calendar (means an Exchange user cannot share his calendar with a Mithi user)
  • Chat (means an Exchange user cannot chat with a Mithi user with the same identity)
  • Blackberry sync of Calendar, contacts and chat (which is inherent to BES supported only by Exchange and Lotus Notes)

Can we have a co-existence solution working across the Internet, i.e. my Exchange server is in premise, and I take up Mithi’s hosted email service for the remaining users?

Essentially in a hybrid setup, the Exchange server, MSADS server and the Mithi servers connect to each other over standard protocols over the LAN. If we are to set this up such that the Exchange and MS ADS servers are in premise, while the Mithi service is hosted at an ISP, all communication between the two systems will happen over the Internet. While this is not much of a problem for mail flow (performance), it is not recommended for integrating with the MS ADS over the Internet, since authentication requests from the Mithi server to the MS ADS are very large in number and very frequent (for every service running on the Mithi server) and would slow down user response.

This implies that we possibly could look at setting this up, but with local authentication. This means that Mithi users will have a local password, which may or may not be the same as their ADS password (won’t be in sync).

Additionally the address books will also have to be managed manually (every time an employee joins or leaves the organisation)

Read more about External Directory Integration

Less effort-More Money – 3 Easy steps to do business with Mithi

Less Effort-More Money: Partner with Mithi

Less Effort-More Money: Partner with Mithi

 

If you are a Mithi Partner OR a Reseler, System Integrator, or a Cloud service provider, this blog is for you. Please read on.

IDC predicts that the cloud computing market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40 per cent by 2014, from an estimated $66.7 million in 2009, driven by cost and performance efficiencies.

“As cloud service brokerage grows, Indian IT players are getting ready to shift with the inevitable change in business models, partnerships and job requirements” says Gartner

Related: Affordable Enterprise Class Real-time Collaboration Solution for Indian SMBs

Fine there is Opportunity, but Why should I Partner with Mithi?

With a customer base of over 200 leading enterprise customers, spanning across industries/verticals, a highly flexible, mature and scalable product, and a growing ecosystem of technology, business and implementation partners, Mithi is well poised to address this opportunity.

Mithi offers In-premise, Cloud-based or Hybrid email and collaboration solutions based on its Industry leading collaboration platform Connect Xf that are – Easy to Deploy, Easy to Manage and Easy to Scale up.

Mithi offers a high touch Support/Services model ideal for providing Indian customers a great overall Service Experience.

Related: Mithi customers and testimonials

Mithi + You = Success

We believe that a vibrant Partner network would be an intrinsic part of our growth strategy. We are constantly enhancing our product, marketing tools, presales support and service/support infrastructure to help our partners succeed. We have tied up with some of the best known technology, SI and IDC partners in the country. Mithi is expanding its partner ecosystems, and welcomes partners with expertise and experience in the fields of System Integration, Cloud Computing (SaaS), Enterprise software selling and Data Center services.

Besides no upfront cost to sign up with Mithi, you stand to gain from the following benefits

  • Access to Mithi’s large customer and prospect base
  • Strong Online backend support for product presentation, presales consulting, solution designing and sales closure.
  • Access to Mithi’s extensive product documentation and knowledge base.
  • Free Product Training.
  • Best in class Margin on the Deal

But I don’t know about your product and don’t have a spare team to put on this

For a start, you don’t need to know too much. We can kickstart your team with a few hours of sales training and then support them technically from a central Presales back bone, operated by trained and senior resources with years of experience consulting small to large enterprises setup their collaboration infrastructures. As far as technically convincing the prospect, you will really have to do nothing much. That is why less effort :-)

Hmm…sounds interesting, so tell me more?

Once you have signed the agreement, its as simple as this:

  1. If you have customers with real problems or requirements for setting collaboration infrastructures for their teams, we can get started.
  2. The central Mithi Presales team engages with them to understand their requirements, show them demos, walk them through online trials, convince them technically and get them to the proposal stage. You are kept in the loop through this whole process so you have full visibility.
  3. You step in, to close the deal and walk away with your commission, which is both lucrative and has a recurring component for the next 2 years if the customer stays on.

Interested?

So What are you waiting for…sign up now, Its easy.

 

5 Unavoidable Reasons to Adopt Collaboration Services on the Cloud

The way business happens has changed dramatically over the last few years. More and more businesses are keen to engage and collaborate with stakeholders within and beyond the four walls of their enterprise. Whether it’s the coworkers, customers, partners, suppliers, or any other external groups – businesses are keen to collaborate with them in real time, regardless of where they might be located.

Related: Business Impact of Email and Collaboration Technologies

Faster and effective communication between internal and external stakeholders has become the key to a venture’s success. To facilitate the seamless flow of information and knowledge-sharing between stakeholders, businesses use a suite of services called collaboration services. These services essentially include a range of communication and security tools such as email, web and voice chat, video conferencing, shared contacts, calendar, document management, archival, etc.

Traditionally, businesses have been deploying in-premise collaboration solutions on their own servers within their own data centers, managed by their own (or outsourced) IT teams. Managing an in-premise setup comes with its own set of challenges such as the overhead of Capex, getting the most out of ageing hardware, dealing with the complexities of application upgrades and the like.

Related: 7 wants of an IT Manager of a Small to Medium Size business

But cloud, as a platform, has changed the game in the recent years. Although it was way back in the 1960s that the concept of a global computer network first emerged, it’s only over the last few years that cloud computing has come into its own.

By providing readily available elastic components, modules and storage, it has become a no-brainer for application providers to adopt cloud computing as a platform for scalable and reliable delivery of the applications. In fact, the cloud computing market is projected to exceed $241 billion by 2020, according to Salesforce.com, one of the global pioneers of cloud computing.

Related: Understanding cloud computing as a platform

So with so many benefits, what still stops organizations from moving their application workload to the cloud platform?

We believe that the lack of understanding of the business impact of applications delivered via the cloud platform is perhaps the single biggest hurdle in the adoption of cloud-based collaboration services. Besides satisfying the 7 wants of an IT Manager, see if any or all of these five additional compelling reasons make you change your mind about moving your collaboration workload to a cloud platform:

1. Flexibility, reliability and multi-location accessibility

Traditionally, businesses have been using in-premise collaboration solutions. These location-specific solutions work well when users in that particular location have to collaborate with each other. But as is already established, that’s not how businesses work anymore. Collaboration happens across geographical boundaries and time zones. Cloud-based collaboration solutions, since they are central to all locations, are not restricted to a specific geography, and can reach the employees of an organization dispersed across regions (even countries). In his paper, The Promise, Progress and Pain of Collaboration Software, Jason Green, board member on many SaaS firms working to improve workplace collaboration, quotes the solutions built by companies like Yammer, Box, Skype and Google to tackle the problem of employees working together remotely.

2. Grow and shrink your operations freely and instantly

The modern day IT department is one of the most complex and over-burdened part of an organization. Reducing complexity, scaling resources and adapting to changing business requirements are some of the major challenges that an IT department faces. By adopting cloud-based collaboration services, organizations get access to elevated elasticity in resource allocation, which allows them to grow and shrink their operations freely and instantly, without having to carry the burden of provisioning or de-provisioning expensive resources.

3. Leverage the latest functionality of the continually upgraded versions of the apps

The cloud application provider will normally ensure that the latest security patches and the latest application upgrades are always applied on the cloud delivery platform to ensure that the consumers get secure access to the new functionality quickly. The entire upgrade/migration and configuration is performed by the backend teams, relieving you of the effort to manage downtime, and performing the upgrade.

4. Zero Capex and reduced operational costs

With no upfront capital outlay required, cloud-based collaboration services allow organizations to start deployment immediately. Not only are they able to save the cost of buying new servers, but businesses also benefit from the reduced need for space, power and liability, not to mention the expense of managing and maintaining the servers. In addition to that, most cloud-based services run on a ‘Pay-per-use’ subscription model allowing companies to budget for them easily and more accurately.

According to Kristof Kloeckner, CTO for Cloud Computing at IBM, cloud computing can reduce IT labor costs by up to 50 percent and improve capital utilization by 75 percent. Additionally, companies can save an estimated 68-87 percent in energy costs by moving to cloud computing, as per the data shared by Google.

Related: Will the cloud and new devices lower the cost of collaboration for an enterprise? Will they make collaboration richer and more efficient?

5. Reduced risks – Not happy with your vendor? Another one is just a click away!

Shifting from one vendor to another is an easy task (as long as you have stuck to an open platform and used open clients for application access). If you plan your deployment well, you may be able to shift with minimal or no change at the end point. It’s only a matter of deciding. There is no play of complex infrastructure overhaul, upgrade, reconfiguration, etc.

These are just five ways in which businesses benefit from adopting cloud-based collaboration technology. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find many more such compelling reasons to adopt this platform.

So, is your business ready to make the big switch?

 

 

Live Case Study: How FFreedom achieved Better adviser productivity with Mithi SkyConnect

With the objective of making the advisers, selling financial products, better equipped to establish trust and assist the customer with their financial planning, Mithi’s customer FIINFRA (Ffreedom Intermediary Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.) has created a suite of applications that includes a adviser portal and a set of financial planning tools to assist the Advisers in delivering superior financial advice to their customers.

FIINFRA needed to integrate a ready suite of Security and Collaboration Applications like email, video chat, Attachment capture and record, etc with their adviser portal to enable the Advisers to establish a high touch engagement with their customers.

The Team at FIINFRA, after having experienced the benefits of using Mithi SkyConnect earlier, decided to integrate the suite of Collaboration Applications from Mithi SkyConnect into their adviser portal, to provide a seamless look and feel, while allowing Mithi to host and maintain the collaboration application work load away from their data center.

The Mithi SkyConnect collaboration platform constitutes a key component of FIINFRA’s Infrastructure offering to IFAs and Distributors. SkyConnect has enabled seamless and highly secured collaboration across all channels and devices covering mobile, tablet and desktops between our key users – service team, IFA/partners and clients. It has been a perfect fit for our enterprise wide collaboration and Mithi SkyConnect has provided a new benchmark with its open source offerings and integration capabilities.

Harbinder Saini,
CTO, Ffreedom Financial Planners

FIINFRA logo

 

 

Due to this integration, some of the top benefits experienced by FIINFRA and their users are:

  • Better adviser productivity – Enables the IFA to handle more number of clients, while ensuring that the communication, reports etc. keeps flowing to their clients (by the system)
  • Improved net customer experience due to Improved responsiveness in serving the customer requests
  • Saves a lot of time and money in travel and fixing up face to face meetings
  • Post-sales automation – upload transactions, portfolio reports

The FIINFRA team is now free to focus on what they do best – work on and improve the adviser portal, while Mithi focuses on delivering a great collaboration experience from Mithi SkyConnect.

Download and Read the full case study here

 

7 WANTS of an IT Manager of a Small to Medium sized business

Your business may belong to a niche fragment of the industry, or be among the more commonly existing businesses; but if you have more than 50 employees and are looking ahead at business growth, you’ll definitely have things like capacity, productivity and performance hindrances on your mind 24×7.

Interactivity and effective communication (internal and external) is the key to business operations and it can only express itself if it is ably aided by a back-end setup that is strong, scalable and reliable. It is this very platform that contemporary business ventures vie for.

Effective storage, management and transportation of data, voice and video traffic has, in essence, become the spine of modern businesses, regardless of the size or the industry segment that they belong to. The concept has grown to attain incomparable importance in the operations of an enterprise – its availability, utility and performance have become decisive success factors.

What follows is a series of questions that you have possibly been struggling with, and essential components that might be missing from your business.

1. You want Professional Email and not Free email

Do you use free email services to handle business communication?

While a free Email service may seem the most convenient choice, the problem there is that the ID suffixes are @gmail, @hotmail, @yahoo, etc. And although this doesn’t sound totally out of the league, it is always better to take a more professional approach – by getting the name of your business added at the end of the Email address. Not only would it lend a hand to building your brand name, but also make the recipients take you seriously. Check out our blog post on 7 reasons to stop using free email for your business.

2. You want to control ever growing Collaboration Costs

A robust IT structure is central to an organization’s day-to-day operations, of which the collaboration setup is one of the most crucial elements.

Do you find that over time the usage pattern is changing and more and more users are joining the network, using the system more aggressively, storing and exchanging larger volumes of data?

Do you find that ageing hardware, rising costs of AMCs, complex and expensive software licences, ever growing storage needs and man power attrition in your team are making it very costly and complex to manage your email setup?

Maybe you need to change the model of your setup to one that allows easy scale up or down as per your needs and on demand, without any upfront or ongoing investment. Read more on Why controlling cost is so important to you?

3. You want improved levels of Uptime and Services Quality

Yes, the advances that we’ve witnessed in the areas of infrastructure and technology are incredible, but several businesses around the globe still suffer due to database, software and hardware downtime. Research suggests that the average organization suffers ~61 hours of downtime each year (which translates into 99.3% uptime). Of course, >99%  uptime doesn’t sound too bad, but try looking at the loss suffered in terms of costs, lost sales, diminished productivity and dissatisfied customers.

Does your collaboration setup have an uptime of more than 99.9%? Why settle for anything less?

Businesses today focus on customer service and satisfaction, and that is directly correlated to the highest level of network and service uptime, subsequently resulting in elevated customer experience. What you DON’T need is to be the kind of business which spends an unwarranted amount of time struggling to fix network issues, only to see a rise in the number of downtime episodes. What you DO want is a heightened level of uptime and service quality.

4. You want to upgrade your set-up for Higher Capacity and Higher Performance

Your ever growing number of users want to store more data, send more data and are just online more of the time.

Do you find that your current collaboration setup is creaking under the increased workloads and you are trying to squeeze out performance by constantly tweaking an ageing, undersized and expensive to upgrade storage,  server and network system?

Maybe you need an upgrade that will give you all the storage and processing capabilities you might need, enable sending and receiving of larger attachments, cater to the increased usage patterns and prevent any potential loss of data. This way you (and your associates) can store hundreds of thousands of business Emails, and access them anytime, anywhere, all the time.

5. You’re looking for Data Security and improved Control over your email set-up

Data security is one of the primary concerns for today’s businesses. The leakage of sensitive information, secure documents and critical data cannot (and should not) be compromised at any cost.

Do you find users in your network, frequently misusing the system by sending bulk mail (with attachments) to groups of users, frequently sending large attachments to occupy valuable bandwidth and storage, sending confidential information out of the corporate walls? Essentially is it an uncontrolled free for all environment, where you have no visibility?

That’s where regular Email gets beaten hands down by business class Email.

Maybe you need a Business class collaboration system that competently addresses issues of spam, viruses and malware, and uses advanced encryption technology through every session (to jumble up any information that is intercepted), to disable the decoding of the contents of the Emails by unintended outside parties. In addition business class collaboration systems will provide you with strong mail policy controls to allow you encode rules for controlling mail flow amongst users and between users and the Internet and can provide for strong features to manage attachments like SISA, or attachment vaults.

6. You want to move to Open Standards to enable access to a wider range of devices and Free Software

Do you find yourself paying heavily for proprietary client devices and software applications just because your users are “used to” or comfortable with these tools and do you find yourself struggling to maintain/upgrade these tools and integrate them seamless with your existing business systems?

Application independence, platform independence, long term access, mobile access, migration to Free Software and architectural integrity are some of the focal benefits provided by Open Standards.

Augmented interoperability and maximized access to resources and services via multiple devices are two improvements that you’d definitely want to include in your long term business operations.

7. You need to provide email and collaboration tools to a Rapidly Expanding, or Variable workforce (or branches)

Is your business expanding and you see yourself catering IT to an extended enterprise of users outside your core network?

Do the users of your extended enterprise have access to tools like Mail, Calendar, IM access, Audio Video conferencing, document management, contacts, file sharing, multi-layered anti-spam filtering, larger and more reliable mailboxes, Email archiving, mobile Email, capable and efficient administration?

If not, well, it’s almost time your dynamic, ever-expanding personnel got their hands on them. Regardless of what industry sector your enterprise falls into, you require a proficient email and collaboration system to manage the administrative side and the daily operations of the business.

Have you considered moving to an open collaboration SaaS platform that runs off the cloud and can deliver on all the above 7 WANTS and more?

Shift from a Capex based model TO an Opex based pay per use model.

Shift from DIY (doing it yourself) TO YDI (You do it – outsourcing the hosting, reliability, management, maintenance and operations)

Shift from being a Service Provider (for your internal customers) TO being a Service Consumer of a SaaS application.

Shift from Planning Scale To Scaling on Demand

Shift from Buying and Maintaining hardware TO Renting a Service

Shift from Hiring and Training a team TO Availing 24/7 industry leading support

Shift from a Home Grown system TO a Professional cloud computing platform

The technology, tools and solutions under the aforementioned pointers are all part of Mithi’s SkyConnect, the cloud based collaboration platform designed for small to medium sized businesses. It is reliable, real time collaboration that will help you gain the kind of flexibility your enterprise needs, and equip you with more capabilities at much lesser than what you are spending right now.

The effective use of collaboration technology is guaranteed to send your operational cost curve downwards and create a secure and fruitful collaboration environment – one that you’ve never experienced before.

Talk to us and see if we can help make a difference to your WANTS!