Most organizations that deploy web-based versions of Outlook (Outlook Web, Office 365, Outlook Web App or OWA) as their default email client are coming from environments where users are accustomed to the functionality of desktop Outlook. These users have learned to rely on Outlook to alert them to upcoming meetings and notify them when new business-critical email arrives.
Unfortunately, when you migrate your user base to a web-based version of Outlook, you sacrifice these and other essential productivity features. For instance, with desktop Outlook, there is no need to log into your email account. It can be set up to automatically start up when the user logs onto their computer at the start of the day – to do this you need to create a shortcut in the ‘Startup’ folder. This will ensure that users don’t miss critical email notifications or calendar reminders.
However, when it comes to Outlook Web and Office 365, new email notifications and calendar reminders are much trickier. There is no easy way to automatically log on to Outlook Web or Office 365 on start-up. Once a user has logged onto their computer, they must open a browser and log on to Outlook Web or Office 365 to receive new email notifications or calendar reminders. It may also be necessary to monitor the status of your connection throughout the day, as OWA will time out after a certain elapsed time. If the session isn’t active or the OWA window is hidden behind another window on the desktop they will miss important email and calendar notifications. Even if OWA is active and not hidden, the email notification flashes for 1 to 2 seconds. If the user is away from the computer or their attention is not on the screen they can easily miss it.
For a multi-national bank or insurance company, the migration to a web-based version of Outlook offers significant cost savings in terms of a reduction in support overheads and licensing cost, while also enabling a more mobile workforce. However, in the scenarios described above, it can have an adverse impact on the organization’s efficiency.
Messageware’s OWA Desktop solves this problem by automatically starting up and connecting Outlook Web when a user logs onto or starts up their computer. Once connected, Outlook Web email notifications are immediately visible on the user’s in-tray, regardless of whether or not the user has Outlook Web / Office 365 open.
Inbox and Reminder notifications can be displayed as balloons or pop-ups. The pop-up notifications are highly functional, not only notifying users of a new email or calendar reminders, but also providing a list of unread mail and advanced options to process email, or update calendar reminders.
With OWA Desktop there is no need for a user to log on to Outlook Web / Office 365 when they start-up their computers, and OWA Desktop will ensure the connection remains active. Users immediately receive email notifications and appointment alerts right from the system tray. If you are interested in improving user productivity by bringing back Outlook-like functionality when you use Outlook Web, we would be happy to send you a free trial or schedule a demo.