e-business software management software
business software

Business solutions for small business
Beyond ordinary accounting software
business software solutions

The Right Email System for You

business accounting software

The following article discusses the different strategies you can use for installing and implementing an email system for your business.  Discussions on different software tools (i.e., mail server software and email client software) for managing email will be introduced with their advantages/disadvantages explained.  At the very end of this article, Intellisoft gives its view on how ManageMore™ fits in this realm.


Determining your Email Strategy
Mail Server Software - Is it for me?
Outsourcing Email to an ISP - Is it for me?
The Role of Email Client Software
Using Web Email Client and AOL Client
Using Standard Email Client
Using Groupware Email Client
Email - The ManageMore Way

Determining your Email Strategy

Email software. It may seem like Microsoft has taken over the world in this arena, but there are many different uses and ways of managing email that make it difficult for any one email product to be a clear winner in all categories.  That is especially true for businesses who rely on email for communicating with customers, contacts, vendors, and even their own staff. Whether you manage your email system yourself or let an ISP do it, you still want to pick the email client (the software that lets you send and receive email messages) that works best for your company's needs. Products range from the multi-tasking Microsoft Outlook (so advanced it borders on the frightening), to simple web-based programs that do little more than send and receive basic text messages.

Consider Your Email Management Strategy. Depending on how sophisticated your needs are and the size of your company, you must decide on how you plan to manage your email system. You have two choices:

  • Manage email in-house with your own mail server
  • Outsource email to an ISP

Typically, an SME business will fall into the second option more often than not.  This is mostly because of the large expense and administration involved in managing your own mail server. 

In layman terms, setting up your own mail server is like creating your very own internal Post Office facility.  You create and maintain your own addresses and are responsible for how mail is sent or received from a recipient.  While outsourced email relies on someone else to do all the work of sorting and distributing the mail (like a mailman) to each individual in your workplace.

Let us look further into these 2 common email options.



Mail Server Software - Is it for Me?

Mail Server Software (like MS Exchange Server) is a sophisticated software application intended to be installed on a dedicated computer (referred to as a "Mail Server")  that is connected to your ISP (or directly to the internet backbone) and to your local area network.  These type of applications are used by all ISP's who host email services for their subscribed customers and also by large organizations that want to administer email in-house. In fact, each time you use any email client software to retrieve  electronic mail, you are communicating to a Mail Server.

The main goal of most mail server software is to provide a unified architecture for creating and managing email accounts, Web access, bulletin boards and newsgroups.  All mail server applications are very sophisticated and offer hundreds of configuration settings for how you want to handle incoming/outgoing email (e.g. max. email messages to store per account, max. email size, how often to delete old emails, alias emails, forwarded emails, etc.).  Some companies use these applications for intranet purposes only (within the company's network only), while other businesses (like ISP's) use it for commercial purposes by offering to host your email account on their servers.

One simply has to register a domain name on the internet and setup a Mail Server with email accounts, and you are ready to retrieve those messages from any computer using a standard email client program (e.g., Outlook, FireFox, etc.) that uses Internet SMTP and POP protocols. 

Are There Disadvantages to Setting Up Your Own Mail Server? 

Well, there are more than a few problems that cause many companies to opt-out of implementing their own Mail Server:

  1. It is extremely expensive software.  It can cost a few thousand dollars in software licensing alone, just to be able to create a maximum of 10 email accounts.  You will have to pay additional license fees for any extra email accounts you need to create using the mail server software.  Consider yourself warned... these programs are costly!
  2. Although not required, it is recommended that you purchase a computer server for the purposes of it managing your incoming/outgoing mail only.
  3. A high speed data connection will most likely be needed for a mail server and special router equipment will need to be purchased as well.
  4. An IT staff or administrator is required to install, maintain and operate these mail servers all year round.  They are just too complex for the average "Joe" who thinks he can read a manual and do it himself.
  5. When connected to the internet, one must take extreme measures in protecting their computers from outside hacker intrusion.  This means that you have to constantly be on top of firewall security measures, and monitoring of network activity to ensure a secured environment.
  6. The purchase, implementation and maintenance of additional software for controlling unsolicited mail will need to be considered to ensure that your internet connection speed is not consumed by SPAM.

When you add up all the expenses and IT staff needed for running your own mail server, it is quite obvious why only larger companies (usually at least 50 employees or more) consider the implementation of their own email facility.



Outsourcing Email to an ISP - Is it for Me?

Probably the most common form of obtaining an email account today is through special web hosting packages offered by ISP's.  These packages range from an individual dial-up account, whereby you are given access to the internet and allowed the creation of one email account for yourself, to more elaborate business packages that give a company the ability to create multiple email accounts (e.g., one for each employee or department) and dozens of alias email accounts for a moderate monthly fee.  The ISP basically deals with  all expenses related to running a mail server, as mentioned earlier in this article.  Your only additional expense is the phone line or data circuit needed to connect to your ISP's mail server and the email client software that will communicate to the mail server and retrieve your mail.

Are There Disadvantages to Outsourcing Email to an ISP?

The main considerations and issues with outsourcing Email are:>

  1. You have no control over the way your email account is setup.  You are restricted to the ISP's rules set on their mail server.  Some restrictions could be the maximum amount of email messages your account can hold at any given time, the size of an email file attachment, the amount of email traffic you are allowed, etc.  Usually, this is not a problem, as most ISP's give their customers ample room and options to increase any limits you may be reaching with your email account.
  2. As your business starts requiring dozens or even hundreds of email accounts, your ISP will charge you accordingly.  Depending on how your ISP bills you, there will be a breaking point where it becomes cheaper in the long run to maintain your own mail server than to pay monthly fees to another business. (Our best guess might be around 50 email accounts or more)
  3. You could get interruptions in service that are out of your control.  You are basically at the mercy of another company's computer system and their management procedures.  However, choosing a reputable ISP with redundant servers and a good uptime track record can alleviate this particular headache.
  4. Internal email is not possible with standard email client software.  There are some workarounds to internally emailing another individual within your organization. However, It usually requires a clunky sending/receiving technique whereby  email is forwarded out to your ISP's mail server and then re-fetched back by your co-worker from the same ISP (not a graceful solution... but it works).  Another alternate solution that is much more viable can be found exclusively within ManageMore's Email Pro product.

As you can see, outsourcing email has some disadvantages, but most have acceptable trade-offs or workarounds to the problem.



The Role of Email Client Software

The email client software is the program that communicates to your ISP's mail server or your own in-house mail server.  It handles all of the receiving and sending of email, and depending on its sophistication, also provides some additional management features.  Although most mail server programs recommend their own version of the email client, most email client programs will communicate with any mail server.

 What Features Do You Need?  There are three types of email client programs, and they fall into the same basic categories as cars (including relative expense):

Luxury Model: Groupware.  Groupware email is the most sophisticated of the bunch, with advanced options on how to handle email, as well as added capabilities like extensive contact management, scheduling, and tight integration with databases. You can even communicate with co-workers through efficient internal email as long as an in-house mail server is present.  This is the way to go if you're a company that relies heavily on email and wants the highest level of contact management and security control.

Reliable Sedan: Standard email. Standard email clients  (a.k.a. ISP-Hosted email clients) are essentially watered-down versions of the luxury groupware model. You can get them for almost no cost, and they have most of the basic features needed for simple sending/receiving email. The downside is that users aren't connected to each other, you can't create policies and rules for how email is handled within a business model, and there is no integration with databases.  Typically, these simple email clients work well for an individual's personal need.

Four Doors and Some Tires: Introducing Web email. Web-based email is popular because you can access it from anywhere, but the text editing options can be very limited, thus making your messages less professional-looking than more traditional clients. Don't expect too many options with this form of email either.  This no-frills manner of receiving email is quick, easy-to-use and often free or dirt cheap.  Common suppliers of web-based email are www.yahoo.com, www.hotmail.com, and www.netzero.com.



Using Web Email Client and AOL Client

Web-based email are much more basic versions of the typical email client. They are limited in size, and prevent you from choosing your own domain name (i.e., if you use Yahoo!, and your company name is Widget, your email would be Widget@yahoo.com).  They sometimes also bring the penalty of heavy banner advertisement and unsolicited email by the hosting ISP.  But they're usually free or close to it, and you can check them from any computer anywhere with a connection to the Internet. 

Today, Web email is quite often used by individuals seeking an alternate email for privacy from their main ISP Hosted email account.  It is strongly recommended you avoid web email for business purposes.  It is very unprofessional and will give your company a bad image in the ebusiness world.



Yahoo! Mail


 Features The most common web-based email, Hotmail's message size capacity is more limited than Yahoo! and loaded with ads and email advertisements, but popular for its easy interface. Slightly larger size capacity than Hotmail, but still limited. You can get additional space for a nominal annual fee, and Yahoo! will upgrade long-standing customers for free. While not technically a web-based client, AOL is one of the more common email clients for those not using groupware or without their own domain through an ISP. AOL has its own proprietary email client, so if you choose AOL you must use their program. AOL charges a monthly service fee, and their mail client isn't as sophisticated as Microsoft Outlook Express or Communicator. But it has more features than most web-based clients, and is known for its extensive content, user-friendly interface and large member community.



Using Standard Email Client

Standard email client software is a big step up from web email and is the most common program used for receiving email.  It still has little to offer for business use, but can address all of the basic features like sending, receiving, forwarding, carbon copy, file attachment, advanced text editing, address book, etc.  


MS Outlook Express

Eudora Mail

Price Free with MS Internet Explorer Free (Or you can purchase the full Eudora Pro for about $40-60 single user)
Platform Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT and Mac Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT and Mac
View/Compose HTML YES YES
Message Filtering YES YES
Calendar/Scheduler NO NO
Advanced Contact Management NO NO
Database Integration NO NO



Using Groupware Email Client

Groupware email client software is the highest level of email capability available currently. These types of email client provide all features that a standard email client offer with additional management tools that often go well beyond anything having to do with email.   There are three well-known products in this arena. However, in order to take advantage of the complete range of features offered by these email clients (including internal email), you will have to purchase the software vendor's respective mail server program.

Product Microsoft Outlook 2000 Novell Groupwise Lotus Notes/Domino Server
Price $75 - $100 for the client, plus cost of server package (typically in the thousands, depending on the number of users). $700 - $3,500 for 5-25 users; prices go up for more users.


$35 for Lotus Notes client, plus cost of Domino Server package. Ranges from $700 - $5,000 depending on number of users.




Email - The ManageMore Way

When Intellisoft sought out to improve the way in which email systems should behave in a business environment, we took a very different approach to email client software. We placed emphasis on an email client solution that was totally woven into a sophisticated business software application.  We also placed emphasis on a simple-to-use and standard "look and feel" interface, like the popular Microsoft Outlook, so that our users could more quickly adapt to an advanced email client software... and that product is our very own Email Pro™.

Email Pro™ is most similar to the sophisticated groupware email client products mentioned in this article, except that its groupware features place more emphasis on email and how it relates to your organization and less emphasis on all the other dissimilar business functions that come with the more sophisticated email client.   It also does not require an expensive in-house mail server (i.e., MS Exchange Server)  for your business to take advantage of sophisticated features (like internal email), similar to ones afforded by larger companies.

With Email Pro, you also get features currently unavailable in all email client software like bulk email for producing e-newsletters, sales promotions, notices, etc.  Email Pro also handles mail distribution for an entire organization through a single POP mail account, takes care of managing shared email accounts, and integrates tightly with ManageMore's CRM capabilities for unsurpassed historical logs on all email conversations between customer and employee.

In summary, ManageMore provides an extensive groupware email client solution that is simple to understand, inexpensive to implement, and fully integrated into your business software for improved efficiency.

To learn more about Email Pro, click here.

©Copyright Intellisoft Solutions Inc.  All rights reserved.
Legal Notices | Privacy Statement | Business Management Software | Site Map
Affiliate Sites   Business Web Resources