Currently around a half of organizations ranging in size from SMEs to large multinationals use cloud based email services such as cloud based storage and cloud archiving . In this article we look at some of the perceived benefits of doing so, and gauge the levels of satisfaction that they have expressed.
Certainly there is a trade-off between the benefits of cloud based email services in terms of reduced running and capital investment costs against the perceived problems of relinquishing in-house control, particularly if and when problems are encountered. Should things go wrong, then the cost savings could be wiped out by concomitant business losses.
The motivations of using cloud based email vary. Around 55 percent of users consider the reduction of IT infrastructure costs to be an important driver, 52% consider the elimination of complexity to be so, and 46% consider improved compliance to be important.
These are followed by increased worker productivity (41%); reduced development and management costs (38%); better surface and support then usually enjoyed from software suppliers (34%).
The important question is whether or not these exceptions are being achieved in practice. In fact it seems that it is a little like the curates egg; partly bad, but with some redeeming features. There is a great deal of variety in terms of customer satisfaction between the various suppliers.
In a survey carried out by the Enterprise Strategy Group published in 2013, one company that outperformed the average supplier on every count was Mimecast. Here we will examine the satisfaction levels in a number of areas as a whole, along with the satisfaction level with Mimecast.
The main areas surveyed were: the features and capabilities of the cloud email supplier; the Service and Support Challenges; and overall satisfaction with the supplier.
Taking these in order:
- In terms of service functions the average provider fell short of what was expected. For instance, on average only 61% of customers were able to speak head to head with a company representative when necessary; however with Mimecast customers the experience was considerably better with 86% of customers being able to.
- Mimecast customers also experienced far fewer service and support challenges compared with the overall customer base: 66% of Mimecast clients experienced no issues, compared with just 39% of the overall client base.
- In terms of overall satisfaction levels, over half of Mimecast clients reported that they were extremely satisfied while only 20% of customers of other suppliers did so. Just 1% of Mimecast customers expressed that they will look for an alternative supplier, compared to 20% of non-Mimecast customers.
The SaaS industry is relatively mature, though there are improvements that could be made. Some suppliers, and in particular Mimecast, are very much ahead of the game. The conclusion must be that it pays to shop around.