Today, at Tech∙Ed in Berlin we announced that Exchange 2010 is available. This version of Exchange is like no other for many reasons.  One reason is that we built it as a service from the beginning, and over two years ago it became the e-mail service for universities around the world via our Live@Edu offering. In building Exchange 2010, we also broke new ground with low cost storage support, built-in archiving, and a truly unified inbox across the PC, phone and browser. Here we are today, with over 15 million users on the service, thousands of IT organizations testing Exchange Server 2010, thousands of technology consultants trained, and more positive buzz than we’ve ever had for a release of Exchange.

While this is an exciting day, it happens during a very challenging time. Your world is complicated.  IT organizations like yours are under cost pressure like never before, and you need to justify every investment you make.  Security, availability, data protection and compliance requirements are becoming more intense.  The evolution of software-plus-services creates new possibilities that require you to think carefully about many decisions you make today.  Today’s workers have high expectations – higher than ever before – of what technology can do to make them more productive in their jobs. These issues are particularly relevant for IT Professionals, like you, that make a living managing the communications technology for their organizations. 

In building this release of Exchange, we’ve worked hard to address many of the issues you are facing.  Let’s talk about cost savings. Exchange 2010 early adopters are consistently telling us that they are seeing huge savings from our new low-cost storage options.  BGC Partners (one of the world’s leading inter-dealer brokers) has already saved $1 million by replacing their SAN with DAS (direct-attached storage) using Exchange 2010, and expects to save 50 percent on their storage costs.  Morgan Keegan (a US-based investment firm) is cutting storage costs by 15% and has saved $400,000 in hardware costs by using DAS with Exchange Server 2010.  Morgan Keegan expects to boost IT administrators’ productivity by up to 30 percent and reduce recovery time by 20 percent.  What’s remarkable about these examples of storage cost savings with Exchange 2010 is that these companies are also dramatically increasing users’ mailbox size. We are seeing more and more companies now giving their users huge mailboxes -- like Elabs at 5GB; and Nasdaq at 10GB.  Now, low cost storage AND large mailboxes are possible.

Built–in archiving and voicemail are two other areas where we are seeing IT organizations save money with Exchange 2010.  TriWest Healthcare Alliance is saving about $250,000 with Exchange 2010 by avoiding the cost for an independent archiving and retention system, and Lifetime Products is saving over $70,000 per year by avoiding a 3rd party voice-mail contract.  Today Forrester released a study of Exchange 2010 “Total Economic Impact” where they found that organizations can expect a 48% ROI with Exchange 2010 and a payback period of under 6 months.

Last week we announced the amazing progress we are making in helping organizations efficiently manage e-mail by moving all or some of their users to the cloud.  Exchange Online (part of our Business Productivity Online Suite) is now available in 36 countries, and in recent months some of the new customers we have added include Aon Corporation, Aviva PLC, Barry-Wehmiller, Hofstra University, Lions Gate Entertainment, McDonald’s Corporation, Rexel Group, Swedish Red Cross, Tyco Flow Control, University of Ohio, and Westcon.  Hundreds of others have chosen the Business Productivity Online Suite in recent months.  Here’s what McDonald’s is saying about Microsoft Online:

“Within McDonald’s, collaboration and communication tools are critical to our success and ongoing innovation, and with Microsoft Online Services, we found a cost-effective yet familiar, intuitive solution that we could trust with our business communications. We have already completed over half of the corporate rollout and, by early in the next year, we will be fully deployed throughout our organization. With Microsoft Online Services, we expect to reduce our IT costs and increase our productivity.” -- Chris Millington, global chief technology officer and senior vice president of Shared Services, McDonald’s

Exchange 2010 is delighting end users by unifying communications within a single inbox.  With the new Voice Mail Preview (possibly my favorite new feature!), you get a speech-to-text preview of voice mails right in Outlook, and with new SMS Text Messaging, you can send and receive texts from your inbox.  So all your communications – for e-mail, IM, voice mail and text messages – are in one spot.  One of my favorite things to show my family, friends and customers (or anyone willing to let me demo for them!) is MailTips.  MailTips warn me – before I send an e-mail – if a recipient is out of office, if I am about to send a mail to a large group, or if a recipient is outside of the company.  I know this will help me from committing an embarrassing e-mail gaffe! 

In addition to saving me from embarrassment, MailTips are also a first line of defense in protecting company data – by warning me before I send information outside of the company.  In addition to giving me – as an e-mail user – more ways to protect company information, Exchange 2010 also gives IT the ability to encrypt messages based on sender, receiver or even the content of the message and attachments (for example, anything with the phrase “internal use only”).  And with the latest release of Forefront Protection for Exchange, IT can add an additional layer on top of what is built in to Exchange 2010.

So - starting today - we hope IT professionals like you will enjoy learning more about Exchange 2010 and trying it out for yourself.  You can see our launch keynotes from Tech∙Ed Berlin (including my on-stage demo!), Exchange Connections in Las Vegas, and lots of cool demos at our virtual launch – www.thenewefficiency.com. Enjoy! 

Julia White
Director, Microsoft Exchange