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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Top 10 Features in Exchange 2010 for Users
After many interactions with Microsoft clients and end users I have found that many of them are still trying to understand what’s in it for them with an upgrade to the latest and greatest Exchange 2010. This blog hopefully will answer some of those questions. The top features listed here are geared towards making it simpler to manage large mailboxes and improving productivity for end users. In a future blog I will cover the top features of Exchange 2010 that are relevant to administrators and business in general.
1) Self Service Capabilities - There are numerous self service capabilities in Exchange 2010 which include updating your information in the address book, managing distribution groups, subscribing or deleting yourself from a distribution group, managing your mobile phone, etc. Many of these capabilities are still dependent on the type of client that is used but nonetheless all these features are available using Web Access which allows you to use these features without having to upgrade the Outlook client.
2) Conversation view capabilities to reduce noise - Even though other email clients such as Gmail have had this feature for a while, Exchange now provides a more advanced conversation view feature. By grouping messages from a single conversation together, the conversation view enables users to quickly identify the most recent messages and the chain of responses. By treating an entire group of messages as a single conversation, the messages can be managed, ignored, moved, and deleted as a whole. New messages that are part of a conversation that a user has chosen to ignore are sent straight to the deleted items folder. A user could also use the clean up feature to delete redundant messages in a chain.
3) Out of Office - In Exchange 2010, users can now set an Out Of Office response in advance with a defined schedule. It also allows messages to be customized for internal and external users or allowing to send messages only to your contacts.
4) Improved Web Access - Outlook Web Access (now called Outlook Web App) has many improved features including rich experience with other browsers such as Firefox and Safari, name cache, ability to set status for messages, filters, advanced search, Instant Messaging, SMS Text message sync, etc.
5) Sharing calendar, free/busy and contacts with external users - Users can share calendar, free/busy information and contacts with users outside of their organization. This is still dependant on your organization’s policies as set by the administrators with a notable difference in that there are no additional tools required to implement these capabilities.
6) Moderation - Moderation allows for control of messages sent to individuals, groups and contacts by a moderator. When an email is sent to a moderated group or a user, senders are notified via a Mail Tip that mail is being sent to a moderated group. The mail is then sent to a designated arbitrator for further action. Additionally, multiple moderators could be defined for a group or a user allowing for greater control of flow for messages.
7) MailTips - The MailTips feature warns users of any damaging or embarrassing consequences - such as sending a message outside your organization, to a large distribution list, to someone who is out of the office, with attachments that are too big to deliver, and custom MailTips created by system administrators.
8) Personal Archive - Even though Exchange 2010 allows for much larger mailbox sizes and increases the limits on the number of items in a folder, an additional option of an archive mailbox can be provisioned for users. Both the primary and the archive mailboxes can be accessed using Outlook and Web Access. Archiving and retention policies can be applied to messages in your primary mailbox and messages can be automatically archived to the archive mailbox without user intervention. This also eliminates having to use PST files and inability to access those PST files when you are mobile and are using Web Access.
9) Enhanced features of Unified Messaging - Unified messaging in Exchange 2010 has many features such as call answering rules (similar to Outlook rules), voice mail preview in email, protected voice mail, etc. Users can view presence information and initiate chat directly within Outlook and Web Access instead of having to rely on an Instant Messaging client.
10) Protection Rules - Users can apply IRM (information rights management) protection to messages by using policy templates. The protection policy can be applied at the origin when composing messages to avoid eavesdropping on the server.
There are many more features worthy of mention in Exchange 2010. In combination with Outlook 2010 there are many additional features which are geared towards improving productivity and networking such as Quick Steps, Schedule View, and Team Calendars. Outlook 2010 Social Connectors brings together communications history, contact information, and professional and social networking information into the Outlook experience. Social Connectors include add ins for Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.
I hope this blog has been helpful in trying to understand from an end users perspective the many advancements leading to improved productivity with Exchange 2010.