OK, this is an inspired article. But since the subject is so highly relevant to the cloud collaboration audience, I couldn’t help but do my own version.
If we see collaboration as evolution, collaborating with Exchange public folders would probably qualify as Neanderthal. But ironically, people continue to use it widely – probably because it is so immediately accessible, or they just don’t know better. Here are 5 reasons you can do (much) better:
1. Exchange Public Folders are not designed for document sharing and collaboration
This is in Microsoft’s own admission. Public Folders do not have the advanced features associated with document collaboration such as version control, audit trails, comments, notifications and so on. As your team grows larger, you need more than a network drive where everyone just dumps documents. Our HyperOffice is an online document management system which lets exactly track who made document changes, when they were made, make sure no-one’s changes are overwritten, have discussions around documents, and keep everyone related to the document in the loop.
2. Administration of Exchange Public Folders is a nightmare
In an era where everyone is used to simple administration screens to manage users and permissions, many of the functions in Exchange, including Exchange Public Folders, have to be performed through command prompts and special commands (reminiscent of the DOS era). For example to specify permissions per user you’ll have to use the Add-PublicFolderClientPermission cmdlet. For the non-geeky amongst us, this is extremely daunting. HyperOffice has a simple admin console which lets you manage users with a few clicks and fine tune permission per user, or even fine tune permissions for groups of users at the folder, subfolder right down to the file level.
3. The lifespan of Exchange Public Folders is uncertain
While talk of Exchange Public Folders being killed off has been around since 2006, we can be sure we are nearer than ever to that event. Microsoft itself is encouraging users to move to other Microsoft tools like SharePoint and Office 365 for sharing documents. While you want to jump from Microsoft frying pan into the Microsoft fire is another question, keeping all your eggs in the Exchange Public Folders basket is risky.
4. Collaboration is more than sharing folders
Even if Exchange Public Folders were a robust document management system, companies are increasingly asking the question – are our collaboration needs limited to sharing folders? Companies are increasingly looking beyond simple information sharing to complete collaboration solutions which include tools like task management, team workspaces, wikis, social networking and more. HyperOffice is a fully integrated suite of essential collaboration tools like document management, project management, email, contacts, calendars, social business, intranet and extranet workspaces and more.
5. The cloud is where it’s at
In an era where companies, large and small alike, are looking to move their systems to the cloud because of undeniable benefits, a larger question to ask is – should you be looking to move away from Exchange altogether to the cloud even for email? Many experts have emphasized the clear cost savings of cloud email. So maybe it’s time to say goodbye to servers, Exchange server experts, ongoing maintenance, and Exchange Management Shell scripting. HyperOffice is a cloud based Exchange Alternative which lets your team just get on your web browser and access enterprise class business email features (including mobile and Outlook synchronization) fully integrated with document management capabilities, and even more collaboration tools like project management and team workspaces.