No surprise, right?
You’re probably saying, “Yeah, Ian. I get it. Exchange 2010 is a solid release and customers are clamoring for it, like you’ve mentioned many times before.”
Okay, fair point.
And, following all of the energy coming out of this year’s edition of WPC around killer products you can bet your businesses on—like Lync, Office 365, Dynamics CRM, and (of course) Exchange—you probably heard this message from few other Redmondites.
For example, several Microsoft execs (including Kurt Delbene and Kirk Koenigsbauer) said as such by highlighting that you’ve helped us collectively “Exchange” more than 22 million Lotus Notes seats over the past five years. This trend has only accelerated due to the fact Exchange 2010 offers such a clear cut and powerful business value prop over Notes.
Or, how about the fact that sales of Exchange 2010 have outpaced previous releases?
I even have a personal favorite from WPC11: customers are extremely satisfied with Exchange 2010.
“What was that last one?” you ask.
As Julia White shared in her breakout at the big show in July, “customer satisfaction is at an all-time high” and “Exchange 2010 is well ahead of previous versions of Exchange.”
Following WPC—and Julia’s session—I got a bunch of questions from you asking about where this particular fun fact originated. Well, your timing couldn’t have been better since we (your humble Exchange product management team here in Redmond) have just finished reviewing the results of our annual product satisfaction survey.
Cue the big grins!
Here’s the background: for a number of years now, Microsoft has contracted a third-party research firm to independently survey our customer base to garner insights on their true feelings about our products and whether or not we’re really delivering across a number of dimensions: value, quality, performance, ease of use, security, etc. We traditionally get the final report in the summer, around the start of our new fiscal year.
We could not be more excited (note: I avoided the “super” adjective) by the fact the report starts with a statement like “Exchange 2010 establishes a new high watermark for overall customer satisfaction and outperforms prior Exchange versions and Lotus Notes on quality and value.”
Powerful stuff, right?
So, if I were you, I’d be asking: “Great, but how can I use this to grow my business, Ian?”
Simple: Get your customers to Exchange 2010, and they will love you for it.
And, they so want to go there!
We continue to hear, this time from the aforementioned annual survey, that “an overwhelming majority of existing Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 customers are considering upgrading to Exchange 2010.”
If that’s not enough motivation, remember that a happy customer is a customer that is way more likely to call upon you to deploy technologies with equally impressive growth opportunities, like Lync for unified communications.
As I have blogged about before, we still have a significant amount of customers running their businesses off of technology that was conceived more than decade ago. One cannot argue that things have changed a bit in the last ten years. For example, are you still trying to find a WLAN card for that Pocket PC device of yours, so you can ActiveSync your email without a USB cable? (Funny aside, I literally just found an old SD card style Wi-Fi adaptor in my growing gadget graveyard that I bought for my Compaq iPAQ a bunch of years back.)
So, get out there and have those conversations with your customers about everything Exchange 2010 can do for them. Because, you certainly don’t want a competitor of yours to show up with something like Google’s Gmail and win favor with a customer who’s comparing their own current 10+ year old infrastructure against Google’s near facsimile of the Exchange value prop from 9 years back.
But wait, there’s more!
If you still have Lotus Notes customers in your area, it’s important to know that our recently completed research found out that they are extremely unsatisfied with their lot[us] in life. We’re talking about double-digit differences in product satisfaction. This is probably no surprise to you, considering we’ve told you about those 22 million seats that have switched over the last few years.
Don’t get distracted and miss the opportunity to grab this low hanging fruit!
Especially since this same annual survey mentioned that “nearly a third of Lotus Notes users” are looking to make the switch over the next 12 months, with nearly 20% of the remaining base is “strongly considering” making the change. Nice!
Oh, and I really hope you’re not running your business on 10+ year old technology. I know it is hard enough to stay competitive in this fast paced market, but don’t let your email infrastructure hold you back from being as satisfied as your customers are/will be on Exchange 2010. This is where your benefits from attaining the new Messaging Competency, specifically the internal-use rights, can be a HUGE asset for your businesses.
The morale of this post: don’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from this winning equation of hunger for + happiness around Exchange 2010.
And, if your customer really, really wants to move, but is encumbered by budgetary or technology limitations, consider shopping Office 365 (and Exchange Online) as a means to get them to the promise land with even less friction. Again, they’ll love you for it.
And, if it is any consolation, I will too.
Group Product Manager
Exchange Partner Marketing