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Small business, big-company email

This two-person company uses software services to stay in touch

James Dunning is managing director of Geotrupes Energy, a company that buys electricity from small-scale wind farms and helps them finance new turbines.

There are just two people in the business and they spend most of their time travelling.

"We're only in the office together one or two days a week," says James.

Microsoft Hosted Exchange, in the form of BT's Organise and Share email product, helps them punch above their weight by keeping in constant touch with one another, clients and partners. It allows them to be equally effective wherever they are.

Office, train and mobile

In the office and in the directors' homes, Geotrupes use broadband internet connections but when they go on the road they use laptops equipped with cards that connect them to the internet using the 3G network. This gives them a high-speed internet connection when they're in the 3G service area. Elsewhere they get a slower but more widespread GPRS connection.

This means that they can connect to their email, diaries and contacts virtually anywhere. A particular favourite, according to Dunning, is working on the train: "If you fly you're waiting, waiting, waiting but on the train it's three hours working. The only interruption is for tea and coffee."

On the rare occasion that they can't get a connection, they can still work because Outlook 2003 keeps a copy of all the information on their laptops and uses the network connection to synchronise it.

Secure co-ordination

Quote�If our laptops are stolen, broken or lost, the business doesn't die�End Quote
James Dunning

One welcome benefit of using hosted Exchange is that the provider keeps a secure backup of all Geotrupes' email, diaries and contacts. "Our entire business is run from laptops" says Dunning, but "if our laptops are stolen, broken or lost the business doesn't die with it. It's a question of getting new laptops and logging on."

Because the two founders of the company are rarely in the same room together, it is important for them to be able to co-ordinate their diaries. Hosted Exchange allows Dunning and his colleague to see one another's diary at any time and set up meetings.

What next?

If it sounds like Hosted Exchange could be right for your business, why not view our list of suppliers? We also have a list of the questions you must ask before you buy.

Microsoft Hosted Exchange is a software service. But what's one of those? Read our plain-English guide and find out.

You can use Microsoft Exchange on your own server too, rather than outsourcing like Geotrupes. Read about the pros and cons of each approach.

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How to buy

If you've decided that hosted services are right for you, or just want information about a specific solution, contact one of these suppliers for more information:

- BT

- Cobweb

- Webfusion

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