We are considering hosted Exchange so we can have a common mailbox for desktop, Web, and Palm Treo access. This creates a consistent, central repository for email, contacts, and calendar information that can be easily synchronized. We are considering hosted back up to eliminate the need for swapping back-up tapes internally. We are also thinking about hosted virus management for a more effective monitoring of desktops and server. All these services are more efficient to be outsourced instead of keeping up internally at a five-person accounting firm.
Andrew S. Goloboy, CPA
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We outsource our Exchange Server, Blackberry Enterprise Server, PBX, Email Newsletters, and CRM to Web-based providers. By my simple calculations, the total annual costs for these services are far less than what implementing them on our own would have been. We've experienced zero problems with any of them and in every instance, the difference between outsourcing and doing it ourselves has been seamless, and actually more convenient.
Our firm has outsourced Web development for our own Web site as well as the Web sites of our clients. We do not have the internal skill set necessary to be in that business. However, we have spent a fair amount of time understanding the key ingredients of Web development and feel qualified to select a partner that can deliver a successful result.
Lynn K. Berman
We outsource programming tasks to the Far East. We give them the specifications and they do the programming. We do quality assurance and integration. We are considering expanding the outsourcing tasks to include some QA and customization for our customers. They have issues about user interface programming, but they are good to do low-level work, such as application programming interfaces. However, you need to work with them in several projects before they can be productive.
ICube Information International
We outsourced the management of our Exchange and digital faxing. There is a company called 1and1.com that hosts Microsoft Exchange for $7 per user per month, which is significantly less than the cost of buying a server and maintaining it ourselves. They provide Outlook Web Access and can have up to 2GB for your Outlook file, which is better than most firms allow their own people to keep. I also use J2.com for digital fax as they allow me to send/receive faxes via Outlook and an Internet connection. The cost is $150 per year and it allows me to receive faxes when I am on the road as soon as I synchronize my email.
Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA, CITP
Our firm has outsourced software programming services as the resources are not needed full time and the availability of skilled resources in the market is plentiful.
Marilyn L. Lunnemann, CPA
Humes & Barrington
We have outsourced the document management function using Immediatech's GoFileRoom product. We would need an additional full-time employee to maintain an in-house system, in addition to the hardware and software costs. So our up-front costs were reduced by using an outsourced solution. When we need support, we call them instead of someone in our office. They respond quickly to support issues and usually resolve them in a matter of minutes.
Zvi Gold, CPA
Horwitz & Co.
Coral Gables, Fla.
Programming - The key is to write a good programming specification. With it, you get what you expect. Without it, projects fail, fingers are pointed and clients refuse (with good reason) to pay their bills, if you are lucky, or file lawsuits if you are not lucky. With outsourced (we call it "contract") programming, we can deliver as much programming as we can sell. Without it, we are constrained by internal limits. Even worse, internal programmers must be paid during slack times, or laid off.