Many of our clients have a background in a traditional corporate environment. As a result, they often have experience with a Microsoft Exchange Server for their email and calendar.

But now that Office 365 is an option, it’s not always clear which of the two is the better choice. How can you decide which one is right for you and your organization?

What is the difference between Exchange and Office 365?

Office 365 is a subscription-based service from Microsoft. It does include the email and calendar functionality, but also has Office applications and online productivity services. It also includes other business services like online storage.

Exchange is server software run on a Windows Server. It is a mail and calendar server developed by Microsoft, and has been around in various forms since 1993. It is now available on a subscription basis as well.

How can I tell which one to use?

Decisions regarding IT services should always be well thought-out and reflect your overall business strategy. There are a number of questions you should ask yourself to decide if you need the more simple and easier to use Office 365 or the more complex features available in Microsoft Exchange Server.

  • What functionality do I really need?
  • Would the simplicity of a reliable, uncomplicated system be a better fit?
  • Or do I need a more complex set of features, including the ability to collaborate?
  • Do I have the human resources and manpower needed to train my employees on the more complex features?
  • Which product will help my organization be more competitive?
  • Do we need to be able to choose the version of the software we’re running or do we prefer our software to be automatically updated to the newest version?
  • Do we need to stay on top of new technologies or keep the same technologies we’re currently using for quite a while?

The answer to these questions can help guide you toward the right decision. Office 365 will be easier for most people to use, will always have the latest version of software, and is relatively simple.

Exchange, on the other hand, has a much more robust—and complex—set of features. It allows you to control when your software is updated, but is fairly likely to require additional training on many of the features.

We are available to help if you need professional guidance. We frequently help our clients choose the best option for their unique situation.