Office 365 State of the Industry Survey - The Results!

Office 365 State of the Industry Survey - The Results!

Before we dive into the results of the survey I would like to share a story from a couple years ago when I attended the IT Dev Connections conference in 2013.  As an attendee at the conference I was invited to be part of a working lunch where I was able to provide feedback directly to Microsoft employees about my thoughts on email in the workplace, and what I thought was good and bad about the Microsoft offerings for email.  Most, but not all industries were represented in what turned out to be a group of about 20 people, and at the time I was representing the healthcare industry.  It was so interesting to hear the trials and successes of the various industries within the email space both on-premises and in the cloud, and to be able to share my own thoughts.  It was a real-time depiction of the industry at the moment.  I left with invaluable feedback on the direction of where the company I worked for might or might not go with their email deployment.  So now here, we are a couple years later, and I was hoping to get some similar information through some internet searches and I was quite disappointed.  My research led me to minimal information and a bunch of hype around the product options, but not any real answers about what companies are really doing with their email deployments?

So, several weeks back we reached out to Windows IT Pro readers to find out what your organizations are doing with Office 365 Exchange Online if anything at all.  Are you keeping your email on-premises or moving to the cloud?  Did you move the cloud and are you now moving back to on-premises?  What are your likes, dislikes and thoughts on whether or not your organization will move their email to the cloud?  Thanks to approximately 160 reader responses we are now able to unveil some of the truth behind what organizations are really doing with their email systems.

What Industry does your Organization Represent?  As a result of your responses, this survey was able to capture responses from most industries.

What is your role within the company your work for?  Responses came from primarily IT professionals at approximately 71%, but also included the opinions of managers and upper management.

How many users do you have within your Organization?  Survey respondents represented organizations of all sizes.

Which email system are you using?  The primary email system being used by survey respondents is still Exchange 2010, with Exchange 2013 being a second, and then Office 365 Exchange Online trailing closely behind.  Other email systems that didn’t fall into the realm of this chart, but were also being used by readers were Hybrid Exchange, Exchange 2003, Ipswitch, Google Apps, Linux hosting and IceWarp.

Is Email Business Critical to your Organization?  I always find this question interesting, because I have worked at many places that initially didn’t consider email a Tier1 application.  In time that thought process changed, but I am glad to see that is not the norm and that those that responded truly understand what email means to their business.  It turns out that 96.84% of those that took this survey agree that e-mail is a core piece of their day to day business.

My organization requires the following uptime email SLA?   Office 365 Exchange Online offers a 99.9% uptime of their email services.  From an SLA perspective it appears that Exchange Online SLA’s meets the needs of 25.32% of respondents.

How long have you been on your current email system?  Within the realm or product lifecycles it appears that about 60% of respondents upgraded to their current email system in the past 2 years.  So the remaining 40% of these organizations will be spending a lot of time researching what their email product of choice will be in the future, but likely not in the short term.

What is the timeframe of your next upgrade?  Adding up the responses from the “Under 6 months” and the “Next 6-12 months”, it appears that 38.61 % of organizations are going to upgrade to some form of a new email system in the next year. 

When choosing my next email solution, my organization will consider/considered the following:  Security and Features was the number one concerns from survey respondents at 87.5% with how this impacts the organizational end-users being a close second at 75%.  Other fill in-related answers shared other considerations such as cost, lack of single sign-on to Outlook, legal aspects of data being stored on servers outside of the country and accessibility/reliability.  

My organization will consider cloud-based email?  I will admit I was a bit surprised by this answer, but we learned that 66.67% of you will NOT consider cloud-based email for your next upgrade.


Let’s find out why..

My organization will not consider cloud-based email because of:  Security concern was the response with the most answers at 45.21% as to why an organization might pass on cloud-based email.  Cost was the second greatest concern at 32.19%.  Write-in feedback was also interesting, here is what you said: 

  • Exceeds our SLA’s
  • Legal concerns
  • Cost
  • Would not ever trust a vendor with email
  • Add-in incompatibility
  • Outages and loss of control.  

My organization will keep email onsite because:  In a previous question we learned that 66.67% of organizations that took the survey will not move their email off-site.   So why will you leave your email on-premises?   It appears that 50.69% of the organizations have security and data protections concerns, while 21.53% of respondents still feel that more research is required on their part before finalizing any decisions.  The write-in answers expressed many levels of consideration such as concern around 3rd party integrations with email that can be more easily accommodated within on-premises deployments, loss of control if move to the cloud, lack of communication surrounding outages, multi-national locations of backend data, and connectivity/outage risk.

Which email system do you anticipate you will you move to during your next upgrade?  On-premises Exchange 2013 was the leading response in this area at 58.4%, with Office 365 Exchange Online being the second choice at 41.53%.   The top write-in answers were Exchange vNext which was the clear leader, and a few that said they were using or would move to Google Apps when they do their next email implimentation.  Lotus and GroupWise were not feeling any love from survey respondents.

Has your organization previously been on Office 365 Exchange Online, but then moved back to Exchange On-Premises?  Only 3.16% of respondents had implemented Office 365 and then moved back to On-premises.

If yes, when did your organization initially implement Office 365 Exchange Online? Of those organizations that moved back to On-premises 3.5% of them were early adopters of the product having implemented it 1or more years ago.  Only 1% of organizations that implemented Office 365 Exchange Online in the past year are planning to move back on-premises. 

Let’s learn why..

If you moved back to Microsoft Exchange On-Premises, why did you do so?  Only 3.68% of organizations moved back to on-premises due to security.  The remaining 96.32% of respondents chose to write-in their answers. 

Here are their individual thoughts from the write-in responses to this question:

  • To reassert control over our own infrastructure, and refocus our delivered infrastructure around our business needs rather than Microsoft’s.
  • Chose not to leave emails in the hands of Microsoft
  • Cost and do not trust cloud providers
  • Will not allow a vendor to maintain control of business email
  • it SUCKED, lots of outages & unexplained connectivity issues

If your organization is currently using Office 365 Exchange Online, when was it implemented?  This question didn’t apply to 74.17% of survey respondents.  Of those that this question was relevant to 14.57% of organizations have been using Office 365 Exchange Online for more than a year, 3.97% of organizations completed a migration in the past 6 months and 7.28% are currently working on an implementation of Exchange Online through Office 365.

If your organization is currently using Office 365 Exchange Online, how is this product working for your organization?  This question didn’t apply to 74.17% of respondents, but of those it applied to 10.6% indicated that office 365 Exchange Online was meeting the email needs of their organization.  8.61% of respondents indicated that the products was meeting their needs, but could benefit from some improvements.  5.96% of respondents indicated that Exchange online is the best!  Finally, .66% of respondents indicated that they would be considering other product options.


So the results are in and it appears that Office 365 is surely making some ground by providing a great email option for organizations of all sizes.  However, some organizations appear to have concerns surrounding security and legal considerations when looking at the Microsoft Exchange Office 365 product line.  Microsoft does has some work to do creating more awareness around why their product is a secure and viable product option, but also need to work through some of the legal aspects as well.  For example, if my organization is in the United States then is that where my data should be located?  I was surprised by the number of organizations still considering on-premises deployments, but at the same time there are a large number of organizations moving to the cloud.  Just doing the appropriate thoughtful planning to determine when the right time to move to the cloud will be.  Ultimately, like most things one size doesn’t fit all, and your organization should and will do what is best for your organization.

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