UPDATED 9.18.2012 - Again today we are faced with email issues plaguing the Business Catalyst website owners. Our recommendation to any and all Adobe Business Catalyst users is to set up Google Apps and move to a professional email solution. Adobe makes a great CMS, but sadly - they just don't understand how important email is to our clients and to business owners around the globe.
- Helpful Link, check the status of BC here: www.status.businesscatalyst.com
- Google Apps for Business: www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business
So, if you're having trouble and looking for a solution - setup Google Apps (for business/paid version), then thank us later. We've been on Google Apps for 9 months now and we'll never go back any other system. We can't say enough good things about gmail, not the free version (even though that's probably better than BC email) but the Paid Business plans. The rest of this post is a couple years old, yet the topic is still relevant
--------------- [End Update 9.18.2012] ---------------
The resent outages of the Business Catalyst email servers has been disappointing, to say the least. Never the less, it posses the question - what should we do about it? Here at EBWAY Creative, our main system is the BC platform and we have always enjoyed the ease of an all-in-one solution. That being said, email is considered by most as critical business tool, so we're looking into what our options are to assist our clients and that means we've got to get pro-active...
Business Catalyst Email Issue History.
This is the first email down issue of the year, but we had problems 2 or 3 times last year. All just as bad, all just as frustrating. Even through the email trouble lasts for only 2-3 hours, it's 2-3 hours and it's up and down for 3-4 days. Leaving us to answer the phone and go through WebMail instructions, apologies, and generally just wasting everyone's time - especially or clients.
However, I must say (in Adobe's defense) that the email accounts were only down for a limited amount of time in the morning and then in the evening. Granted it was during a business day, but it's not like email went dead for 2 or even 1 solid business day. So, in the end, no one died - so to speak :)
The Knee-Jerk Reaction.
We first thought we should maybe just stop offering the email, or just tell our clients that Business Catalyst Email is a "Use at your own risk" option. Then, we started to look at hosting the email ourselves, like on MediaTemple or RackSpace - both companies have a fantastic record and we currently do business with each. Since we can't just drop BC Email from our current clients, it's a tough spot to be in.
It's going to require some planning, so we can't just "FIX IT" as some have said :)
Our Fix = We're working on it.
For our current clients (and future), we are looking into the logistics of offering an alternative, professional email add-on - something super secure and dedicated to business. Although email is not considered (by definition) to be "Business Critical" - we understand that a lot of our clients have built their businesses around using email and just expect it to work 100% of the time.
Our goal right now is to find a solid fix that brings joy to our clients and that makes sense in the long run. In the meantime, Business Catalyst is working on moving the email servers to a newer system that should minimize, if not remove this type of problem. I trust it will be O.K. - for a little while, but we're certainly not going to just "Trust" this new system. At this time, EBWAY Creative is dedicated to finding an email alternative, we just don't know what that looks like yet - or what it costs - or how to implement it with our current clients. It takes time.
Even though we've failed to do this in the past, we should say that every BC Partner and Re-Seller (or web professional of any kind) probably needs to start talking about reasonable expectations... you know, what you can really expect from an email client verses what the cost of that client is.
In the past email has "just worked" and we freak out when it doesn't do what we expect it too. But, have we forgotten that we're still working in an envirnment that changes constantly ( I have) - I mean, everyone has come to understand that a website isn't up 100% of the time, should email be any different?
The Positive Back-Up Plan!
During this "crisis", as it were, we started to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to communicate with our clients, telling them what was going on, etc. Think about the drastic change in our digital world, isn't it cool that even when a major peice of communication goes out, we still have a way to stay in touch! I know, we have phone's - but with one click I was able to send an update to hundreds of clients that follow our twitter feeds. That's cool!
So, please make sure to sign up and follow us on TWITTER or on FACEBOOK and you'll be in the know, never having to call and find out what's going on. You see, it's not such a bad thing after all - I would recomend that all my clients start to use Twitter and Facebook to stay in contact with their clients as the email issues will never go away completely, so you'll always need a back-up plan.
Thanks for your patience as we work to improve the email account part of our service offering.