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Thread: Should I support the web-client only?

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    Default Should I support the web-client only?

    Many of you know that I moderate/troll/reply to a bunch of forums all over the place - of course I always point them back here/encourage them to post Q's in these forums because it's good for the collective knowledge.

    I also comment over at Experts Exchange and often find questions from Zimbra users. This one's from jjcheap (jjcheap1 in ExE):
    Quote Originally Posted by jjcheap1
    Title: Is there any reports out why companies use a standard email client program?

    We have deployed Zimbra. 95% of the users are happy with using it. The problem is a few persons are demanding to use another email client program. Our company is no longer a mom and pop operation. The persons that are demanding to use another email client program have not worked in large corporations which has standards.

    Has anyone seen a report on why companies have standards and the reasoning why ? This is common sense answer. But a report will really help me out why company standards are important for companies.
    Replies so far:
    Quote Originally Posted by RDAdams
    The biggest reason is support. Support means cost.
    If you have a team that need to learn the software to support it. That team needs to learn more than one product.

    The company I work for tries to eliminate duplicate software. If we have one product like excel then why should we support a second similar product like lotus. It is less efficient.

    From a cost standpoint you need to expend more training dollars to have people use multiple software solutions.

    There is a report but you need to pay to review the entire document.
    Standardized Software Change And Configuration Management: Achievable Goal Or Wishful Thinking? by Jeffrey S. Hammond - Forrester Research
    Yup, first support & just after that would be training costs. It doesn't seem like much when your a small organization/where everyone's technology proficient but it slowly grows.

    What thick-clients are they asking to use? Are we talking Thunderbird, Apple mail/entourage, iSync & Outlook connectors, etc, etc.

    So I assume you currently have disabled IMAP/POP. Some pro/con's to help you back your stance/decision to do so in their eyes include:

    If you have a really weak mailserver, are short on bandwidth while serving a TON of people, or don't care about reliability/if you can individually make sure people select 'leave message on server' than that's one thing. Or if you have limited storage and do want them to delete from server etc.
    On the other hand - there's always that person who has a 4GB mailbox; and EVEN if they don't delete it from the server, when they loose their laptop or hose their desktop, then they moan about having to reorganize it all. And even worse would be if they didn't store it on the server and lost it all!

    Obviously a much better alternative, because they can choose what to download & keep it organized in both client and server. They can still drag stuff to local folders if their at some quota or something. (Though I would rather cough up the money for more server storage & use HSM instead; disk storage only gets cheaper by the minute.)
    But then support of their thick-client of choice comes into play.

    And for that being able to see what options they have set or logging in as them in the web-client ('view-mail') saves a ton of time-at least for me.

    Here's the catch: Many try to say "Hey, we'll enable IMAP but you're on your own to support it." And that works pretty well as long as you keep reminding people of that fact - lol.
    But for that new hire that sees IMAP is physically possible, you can't just say "sorry we don't support this" when they come to you crying for help down the line.

    Obviously, efficiency wise it's nice to have everyone on the same thing. At the same time, using other thick-clients will often have a feature that you're missing-out on or even need. And the good 'power-users' spur ideas back towards making zimbra the best in the world.

    It comes down to effort, time, & money tradeoffs afterall

    It's still in alpha, but I personally look forward to every Zimbra Desktop release because it's one step closer each time towards to only having to support & train end-users on one interface for both their online & offline needs.
    The concept of offline support isn't anything new; you can do the same in outlook/thunderbird with offline folders mode (not to be confused with local folders). BUT the user is on the same exact interface as the web client with no extra settings or much extra configuration differences for a user to muck up.
    Someday it may even turn into a standalone POP/IMAP & calendaring client without the need for a Zimbra server/account!
    Last edited by mmorse; 10-31-2007 at 05:13 PM.

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