Why do some companies choose to keep Outlook on the clients even when they've switched off of Exchange on the server? My company (with about 60 users) wants to move to Linux messaging, and we're looking at ways to do that. Someone suggested that I keep Outlook. That seems crazy to me.
This is a very interesting question. I can confirm that your company is not alone in considering retaining Microsoft Outlook while migrating to Linux-based messaging servers. A survey by Osterman Research in January 2004 confirmed that more than 55% of enterprises would seriously consider switching to an alternative messaging system that provided better performance or other advantages if the desktop infrastructure currently in place could be retained."
The question you ask is "why?" Some of the reasons that customers have given me include:
Due to the mission critical nature of e-mail, avoiding disruption to end users is a top priority. Changes in usability, functionality or user interface all represent a potential end user disruption and productivity impact that most organizations are hesitant to introduce.
Ultimately choosing a messaging server that strongly supports Outlook, the IMAP and POP protocols and that offers a highly usable web client offers the greatest choice and flexibility at the client level. And fortunately, there are several messaging servers on Linux that support a range of clients. The level of client functionality supported can vary widely, so it's important to understand your requirements when evaluating alternatives.
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