August 26, 2013
If you run a small business, one of the biggest decisions you can make is which web tools and email program to use. Microsoft Outlook is the choice du jour for many companies right now, and it has been for years. Anyone who’s worked in an office is probably familiar with Outlook because by and large it’s the most popular tool in administration.
What makes Outlook so great? Take a look at the many pros and a few cons of this widely used program. From startups to mega-corporations, companies find many reasons to put Outlook on top…but there are also some impressive up-and-comers.
1. Pro: good filters
Unlike other programs, Outlook has very strong filters for keeping spam at bay. This helps to keep employees’ time clear because they’re not having to sift through junk throughout the day and scramble to keep their email box clean. It can also keep the company safe because employees won’t be tempted to download or click on a potentially dangerous email.
2. Pro: user friendly
Almost anyone can easily pick up how to organize email in Outlook – even the new hire who’s not tech-savvy at all. Mail grouping, simple search tools, and features like Snappy get everyone easily on board. Few people need to call in tech support to help with Outlook, and that’s a good thing. Again, little time and money are wasted.
3. Pro: simple integration
When a system has been around for this long, nearly all the bugs have been worked out and integration is pretty much a done deal. Outlook plays nice with almost every other system and program out there, and it’s designed to connect with a variety of social media platforms. Unlike newer programs, it’s “been there, done that” and rarely will anyone encounter problems working in various programs.
4. Pro: you get numerous accounts
With Outlook, managing numerous accounts is a breeze, whether a person is using Hotmail or some other linked account as well. This is especially important for busy administrative staff who have a lot on their plate.
5. Pro: safe downloads
You’ll have no concerns when downloading updates for Outlook since it’s one of the most secure programs available. Plain text is the default and images are never downloaded automatically. This helps keep work computers secure from hackers and also keeps them running quickly so that workers can get more done.
Con: too many options
Outlook might be easy to use, but there are so many options that it can be overwhelming for newbies. To set up customized Outlook is a lot of work. For someone who’s used to an older version of the software, newer versions have moved some items to different folders, which can have employees stuck on a wild goose chase for a while.
Con: rigid templates
Some users have complained that the email templates leave something to be desired. This may improve in future versions, but unfortunately, a lot of admin workers depend on templates today. To get a better look, managers might need to encourage people to put in a little more work customizing templates…or provide a company-wide option for branding purposes.
How can a business decide whether Outlook is its best choice, or it should go with another reputable option? Most people have used Outlook at least once, and if it worked well, it’s definitely the safe alternative.
Managers can also rest assured that most people have at least some experience with the program. It’s tried and tested, and a safe bet is typically a good idea for a business.
Guest author Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He’s written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.
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