Bottom Line: Getting the Message Right

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2009-02-03 Email Print this article Print


Re-Thinking HR: What Every CIO Needs to Know About Tomorrow's Workforce

To host or not to host, that is the question many solution providers are asking themselves when it comes to e-mail and collaboration packages. Find out which ones serve the customer best, while still preserving solution provider revenue.

Getting the Message Right
Solution providers will find that there’s a lot more to comparing those three scenarios than just dollars and cents. Solution providers will also have to weigh the pros and cons of each implementation and judge which is a best fit for their customers and their pocket books.

For example, a customer may not like the idea of their data living in the cloud–in that case, both the DirectPointe and Microsoft BPOS may fall off the list. Some customers may want to know how their hosted data is protected from damage and unauthorized access. In some cases, hosted service providers have turned customer data over to the authorities via a mix of confusing legal and ethical assumptions.

Solution providers may also want to take future growth into consideration. Here, the DirectPointe solution may prove to be the least flexible for expansion when compared to the SBS2008 and BPOS solutions. Expansion can lead to custom configuration needs and custom applications, in that situation the SBS2008 solution will reign supreme. Some customers may prefer the comfort of a fixed monthly fee without a major capital expense upfront – here the DirectPointe solution could meet those needs. 

It all comes down to balancing perceived needs against future considerations. For many businesses, the solution may not matter as much as the availability. Hosted applications can edge out premise solutions by offering anywhere/anytime access and are pretty much immune to downtime.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at


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