Microsoft Outlook is, of course, one of the most popular email platforms for businesses. Giving companies a great amount of flexibility, it connects to Exchange, allowing users to share calendars and contacts. However, not all businesses use Exchange, particularly smaller companies which often employ alternative solutions to connect to a groupware server.

If you use other Microsoft Office tools such as Word or Excel, Outlook is the ideal package choice. But if you’re not making use of Microsoft software, the email program could be a costly decision; the retail price and licensing fees cost £162 for every computer in your company.

What are my options?

Although not all Outlook alternatives connect with Exchange, their flexibility, reliability, security and affordability may well suit your business structure. Our London based IT support team can help you choose the right email platform for your business. Many email clients try to employ a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but the different features and style of using will suit some businesses better than others. Below is an introduction to just some of the alternative options available…

  • eM Client: Ideal for all Windows platforms, eM Client connects to existing email such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail, and features a calendar which can be synced with several accounts. The affordable Outlook alternative is also easy to use and offers a whole host of useful features like email support, junk mail filtering, and extras like Skype and Facebook messaging. Just like Outlook you can store contacts, tasks and appointments and unlike many other types of email software, it shows all messages to and from the person with the currently displayed email or contact information. eM Client’s own Exchange service allows you to sync your PC, laptop and mobile devices and costs just $50 for unlimited accounts.
  • Thunderbird: Many technology experts believe Thunderbird is the best alternative to Outlook. Created by Mozilla (producers of Firefox web browsing) the email client benefits from plenty of handy add ons and a powerful address book providing a stable, reliable performance. Suitable for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Thunderbird can also be connected to Exchange.  Social media plugins, spam filtering and many other features offer users a more digital experience. However, as a free email client Thunderbird doesn’t offer any support plans, meaning users must rely on a forum for assistance.
  • Zimbra Desktop: Taking its name from a Talking Heads song, this quirky software is truly one of a kind. Popular with open source users, Zimbra is known for working with many major email services like Microsoft Exchange and its own server. Connecting to several email hosts and social media accounts, users of Google apps can sync all their email, contacts, calendars and tasks. A full technical support service comes with the licensing system which costs $625 a year for the first 25 usersAs Zimbra is a large desktop system, it may take your staff a few days to get used to it. However, the social elements and ability to work offline makes the system ideal for both small and large companies.

For more information on how to choose the right software for your business, get in touch with our experienced London based IT support team. Let us help you make the most of technology and make life that little bit easier.