What is cloud email and why should you care?

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By Michelle McIntyre, Microsoft Guest Author
Most of us, probably without thinking about it, use cloud email every day for personal use. We just don’t call it that. For example, would you say, “Can you cloud email me the Neighborhood Watch meeting agenda?” No. You just say, “Email me the agenda.” But what is cloud email exactly and why should a business leader care?
When I searched for the definition of cloud email mostly just cloud computing definitions came up. For example, Dictionary.com says: Cloud Computing: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
Email by itself is well known. (By the way, contrary to popular belief, it’s not going away any time soon. Email is key to social media because you can’t sign up for a website without an email address.) We send messages, documents, images and newsletters through our various collaboration correspondence systems and people can answer back. For better or worse, we use email to store stuff.
Therefore, cloud email is an online correspondence program that’s Internet based and uses another organization’s hardware (storage, servers), and related electricity, cooling, maintenance and floor space.
The main reason CXOs should care about cloud email is cost and time savings in many areas. To me the key benefits are huge real estate and floor space savings. The second reason to switch to cloud email from on premise is to be more attractive as an employer to Generation Z, the 61 million people who were born after 1996.
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I’ll elaborate on both points. A 9,000 square foot brick office building popular with law firms, is going for $8.9 Million in Sunnyvale, Calif. That’s around $1 million per 1,000 square feet. If a large business in Sunnyvale switched to cloud email and got rid of their hardware to support that think about the real estate or floor space savings: A company there with 18,000 square feet in space housing servers, etc. could save $18 million.
The second point is that CXOs need to set up a work environment that’s friendly to future workers called Generation Z. My son who is in Gen Z has been using cloud-based tools with his teachers for years. Schools actually require it now. Cloud email represents the future of work!
In summary, saving on real estate or floor space costs and being attractive to Generation Z are just two of the many reasons to care about cloud email.
Blogger Michelle McIntyre, president of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC, has worked, volunteered and thrived in the Silicon Valley tech community at small, medium and very large companies for more than 25 years. She has blogged for Huffington Post and was named VLAB Volunteer of the Year in 2017 and serves on the TEDxSanJoseCA Executive team. You can find her musings at @FromMichelle on Twitter.

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