According to some very loud voices, all your coming technology needs will be served up in the cloud -- whatever and wherever that cloud might be. OK, maybe not all, but near enough as to make little difference. Whether or not you believe such pronouncements, it's clear that certain elements of your IT infrastructure seem well suited for cloud deployments, and if you haven't investigated the cost benefits and other advantages, you're probably doing yourself -- and your business -- a disservice.
If you've done some looking and decided you could satisfy your business messaging and communications needs with a cloud service, you've probably been steered toward something such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google's conglomeration of offerings that attempts to be the same thing. But it's always good to remember that the big-name players aren't the only ones in the game, and sometimes those big names simply aren't set up to handle the customer service needs of small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs).
There are alternatives! Here's one to think about: Imogo, which comes from "Integrated Mobile Global Office," provides hosted Microsoft Exchange Server, the Microsoft Office suite, and its own branded Digital Telephone Virtual PBX. And Imogo works with each customer to develop a custom "private cloud portal" designed specifically to meet the needs of that business. As Imogo CEO Stewart Irvine said, "Whatever you're running or operating at your premises, whatever's on your servers, we can host it, and we can then essentially become your server room."
Imogo also developed its own migration software, which they've called Imogo Drive, to help customers with the transition. "It's very confusing, what we have found for SMBs and SOHO [small office/home office] people. They all want to be on the cloud, but getting from point A to point B is daunting for them," Irvine said. "We look after that, we take care of that. In a short conversation, we can start building them out. Probably the biggest difference is the way that we look after a client and provide customer service."
I think there's no question that Office 365 is a great service at a reasonable price. However, you're going to have trouble if you have custom needs, or if you want help from Microsoft getting your environment up and running. So, when you hear people telling you that you either need to deploy Exchange Server on premises or go to Office 365, remember that there are still alternatives such as Imogo out there that are worth investigating to see if they might better suit your individual business needs.