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Reduce user-related costs

One of the two people on the IT staff (I'm the other one) in my small business thinks that we should check out Smartmax and qmail. Right now, we're using Microdollar, and we could sure use the money we spend on that for other things if we could get cheaper e-mail. So, I've read the blurbs on Smartmax and qmail. How do they really work in the field? My organization has 50 people now and is growing.
It's not easy running an IT department these days. There is constant pressure to increase productivity and innovate while cutting costs. The e-mail system, which frequently has a high total cost, is a common target for cost control. While I don't have enough information to determine whether switching to qmail or Smartmax will ultimately save you money, Linux-based e-mail can be a very affordable, secure and reliable alternative. Here are ways to think about your e-mail cost structure and how to cut costs.

Start with end user productivity: As you look to reduce costs, you will want to ensure that user productivity and functionality is not negatively impacted. Smartmax and qmail don't support the full range of functionality available in Outlook. If your organization uses calendaring and scheduling, public folders and the advanced features in Outlook, a move to one of these products will mean significant losses in functionality. There are...

Linux e-mail alternatives that support the full set of functionality that comes with Outlook, however. There are two ways to determine this: 1) whether the Linux mail system supports MAPI in native mode and 2) If the Linux mail system supports Outlook running in Workgroup mode.

You can reduce user-related costs by eliminating system downtime. There are many Linux e-mail alternatives that provide superior reliability and less downtime.

Finally, do not forget to account for the cost of e-mail ecosystem components that improve system security and user productivity. These items include anti-virus and anti-spam software, directory and identity management software and system monitoring tools. A Linux mail system that supports a broad variety of open source tools such as Spam Assassin, ClamAV, Nagios, LVM and OpenLDAP can reduce the cost of e-mail by as much as 30% to 70%.

This was first published in June 2005
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