Hosted Email Solutions Through Open Source Solutions

hosted email solutions through open source solutions

It used to be where companies, especially enterprise-level ones, would mainly use proprietary email software such as Microsoft Exchange Server.
Open Source
Such software was useful for email, yet because it was proprietary, it had limited ability in being customizable, easy to use, and affordable.

Yet in recent years, an increasing variety of email software has sprung up whereby proprietary software no longer has a grip on much of the market for email software.  Enter open source email software.

Open source email, unlike its proprietary counterpart, has increased capacity for customizing its features, operating from a user-friendly interface, and being more affordable through free or low-priced software licensing via its distributors.

All in all, open source email offers a company the opportunity to enhance its communications productivity, while doing so at a lower cost.

ZarafaOne example of open source email is Zarafa.  Zarafa stands out from proprietary and other open source email platforms in that it is the only known platform that combines open, compatible, and enterprise collaboration.

Zarafa offers quite a bit of customization based on integration with Linux operating systems (which also enhances its stability and security), a user-friendly interface akin to Microsoft Outlook, and a lower price than Microsoft Exchange Server.  And like many email platforms geared towards business, it comes with collaboration features such as a multiuser calendar and task lists.

Zarafa can provide a Web feel via web access from any mobile device and on all ActiveSync compatible mobile devices and Blackberry.  Zarafa may be offered as a a hosted email solution, instead of in-house on one’s own computer servers.

Zarafa is offered through AE Technology Group, which is a Zarafa Certified Partner.  A business can try Zarafa before buying it, as Zarafa comes in a free 25-user trial.

Check out more information regarding hosted email solutions, or contact us.

Customer Relationship Management for Small Businesses

customer relationship management for small businesses

CRM diagram

What to Look Out for When Getting Started

Using Customer Relationship Management software for a small business is an essential tool now to help bring a better sense of organization to your customer information. When using a version that uses the cloud, you can make it work like a data center to gain updated information on your customers to bring better customer service. But can CRM become too complex for some companies?

It some regards, it can be, though that all depends on what you want it to do. In a company using CRM technology for the first time, it’s much better to go simple.

Why Simpler is Better

Forbes says that a good CRM software should always be simple considering you only need a few basic elements to make it work. These elements are  essentially basic information on customers, follow-up data and figuring what kind of monetary gain could potentially be made. Anything more complicated than that isn’t really necessary and can potentially confuse employees who have no experience with this software.

You also should make sure everyone in the company uses it as a background for every lead that’s been gathered. Everyone can be on the same page this way and bring a unity to the company in knowing which customer prospects are the strongest.

Utilizing Easy Integration

When seeking out CRM software, you have to make sure it’s going to integrate with your other software. Can it easily transfer information from the CRM software to another program without causing disruptions? Hiring a consulting IT firm can be your best bet in helping you decide if CRM can easily fit in with your company’s systems and style.

Enabling CRM for Mobile

Your biggest incentive for getting CRM software is training your employees to use it on mobile devices. This also brings a simplicity in its use, even if you have to test first to make sure the software is workable this way. Many of them are mobile compatible now, and using CRM data while on the go is helping to shape businesses for the better.

Particularly because CRM is a part of cloud technology, getting real-time reports on customers can also bring an advantage when you have a sales team on the go. It’s just one way to prove how the cloud is the new backbone to evolving businesses into marketing powerhouses.

We can help you bring CRM to your own business here at AE Technology Group. With our attention to understanding a business first, we’ll analyze to make sure any IT solutions we offer are the right fit for your company.

Contact us and we’ll introduce you to iceCRM, our top cloud-based CRM software that helps you organize only the data you really need to make the best marketing decisions.

What is Open Source Software?

what is open source software

open source logo

What is Open Source?

The best way to describe open source is that it is publicly accessible software that can be modified to suit a user or users’ specific needs. This type of software celebrates products and projects that embrace open exchange of collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, and community development.

In essence, open source software offers its source code to anyone who would like to modify it. By definition “source code” is the coding programmers use to design and modify how a program operates. This code determines how a program reacts to certain commands and prompts. This code can be modified accordingly, allowing programmers to add or remove portions of code that aren’t allowing a program to operate up to snuff or to improve program feature accessibility and runability.

Here are some advantages to implementing open source software:

Quality and Control: You can implement a generic program that has been developed by a thousand programmers, or you can choose the open source way. In open source program development a handful of developers work in collaboration with your firm to create a personalized system which suits your needs.

Freedom to Customize: Get creative. You can tweak and change your open source software whenever the need arises. Since the code is open, it can be modified however you choose. You are also free of vendor lock-in which determines price, timetables, usage, maneuverability, and priority of the software.

Flexibility: Unlike traditional generic OS like Windows, you do not have to constantly update your open source hardware so it operates properly. Microsoft keeps your organization on a treadmill of endless hardware and software upgrades. Since open source software is less intensive than big Ops like Windows, you will be able to run it more easily and for a longer period of time on your current hardware system.

Increased Security: In comparison to proprietary software, open source is inherently more secure. Since generic code is easier for hackers to access, data breach is a constant threat. Since open source software is personalized by your organization, the opportunity for cyber threat decreases. Open source software code is closed to public view; therefore its vulnerabilities are illusive to potential threat.

For more information on how your company can benefit from open source software, contact the experts atAE Technology Group. Their group of professional IT staff can help your company integrate and maintain open source technology within your firm. Tap into your organization’s full IT potential, call AE Tech Group today.

What are the financial benefits of a Hosted Email solution?

what are the financial benefits of a hosted email solution

The average employee of a modern company sends and receives email with little thought to as how much overhead is required to maintain the system. However, those that manage the IT budget do, and over time the paradigm of on-premise, company hosted and managed email servers has started to show inefficiency. Thankfully, there are many options currently available for hosted email solutions. Some recent findings are not just validating the intuitive notion that hosted solutions shave off IT costs in noticeable amounts, they also carry added organizational benefits beyond just the explicit TCO.

It has been shown that certain organizations can stand to save over $62,160 (£40,000 ) by switching to a hosted email solution, particularly SMBs with approximately 70 users. This factors in the following considerations:

  •  Individual mailboxes incur storage costs.
  • On-premise email searches are not always optimal.
  • The typical three-year cycle of replacing hardware is expensive.
  • On-premise email ultimately means costly long-term licenses.

However, some have also noted that a hosted solution can bring with it less-obvious productivity and integration gains. For instance:

  • Hosted solutions are invariably more scalable.
  • Hosted solutions are often readily bundled or integrated with additional collaborative tools that can add further dimensions to workplace communication.
  • Hosted solutions bolster the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative – they are inherently platform-independent and mobile devices are geared towards browser access.

Hosted email solutions are a major shift in an organization’s communication strategy, despite the fact that they still provide one of the most familiar forms of digital business interaction. It takes a trusted partner to help a business make the shift to hosted email. For more information contact AE Technology Group, a trusted technology partner that provides service with Zarafa, a leading open source email and collaboration solution.

What alternative email solution is better than Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange and its associated Outlook client have been the face of enterprise communications for many years and are pretty much synonymous with the idea of work email. That does not mean, however, that there are not open source alternatives. There is a slate of clients/email servers that replicate the functions of Microsoft’s email solutions and not only have transparent code but plug into Linux server backends. One of the most well-known is Zarafa.

Zarafa released its email client/server technology as open source in 2008. Its distinguishing feature is that it is offered as a full-fledged, transparent replacement for Exchange, giving all its benefits as well as some additional features not available on the proprietary system:


Zarafa has maintained an almost identical look and feel compared to Outlook, which is good news for any organization that decides to switch over as users can easily adjust. It not only is familiar in layout but carries similar features such as the address book, calendar, and public folders to which Outlook users have become accustomed. It also provides connectivity with Outlook by means of a plugin. Microsoft uses the proprietary Messaging API (MAPI) for communication between Exchange and Outlook. Zafara has implemented its own version (Mapi4Linux) for compatibility. Like Exchange it can also perform authentication through LDAP and Active Directory.


Linux is the platform of choice for Zafara, as you would expect, and it plugs into a MySQL database for added security. In addition to the difference in OS, the email client for Zafara is an AJAX-based web-app as opposed to being a stand-alone application like Outlook, giving it high accessibility as well as ease of use from mobile devices. As with all open-source solutions, it is cheaper than Exchange to license but not entirely free, as it comes in Standard, Professional, and Enterprise editions at different price points.