what's next after Outlook?

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Hey all. I have Outlook 2007 on a Macbook Pro running Windows 7 via Boot Camp. Exchanger server hosted by GoDaddy. I'm a one-man business and have been running it for years on Outlook. I love Outlook but I'm currently at 23,000 contacts and I hope to get into the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of contacts relatively soon. I'm assuming my current setup won't be able to handle this but I don't want to move to a different application. Does Microsoft offer any kind of solution that can accommodate my needs? Someone suggested Sharepoint as part of Office365, hosted on Microsoft's servers.

I also need this new database to be easily accessible to other people remotely. I've tried having other people work from my Exchange database, but for some reason Outlook becomes extremely slow for them. It seems like it's constantly having to pull information from the servers, but I thought Outlook downloads all the contact database info to every user just like it does on mine?

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer. I have no idea who else to approach about this.
Your mailbox can handle an unlimited number of contacts and they are cached for you, but apparently they are not being cached for the others who are using them. Depending on what you do with them, a CRM might be a better options, but sharepoint will be fine for basic contact stuff. The biggest problem with a CRM (IMHO) is speed - Microsoft's Dynamics CRM is slow.

I probably would not consider BCM an option because of the number of contacts - plus, it's buggy.
Thanks for your reply, Diane.

Are you saying Outlook can properly handle contacts into the millions? Or are you saying Sharepoint/Office365/Exchange will be necessary? I've read that the recommended maximum for regular Outlook is in the tens of thousands.

I do pretty much everything with the contacts. Mail merge, importing/exporting as excel sheets, sticker labels and extensive use of custom contact forms and fields. Can Sharepoint/Office/365 accommodate all that?

Thanks again.
Beginning with Outlook 2003 's introduction of a Unicode pst file, you can have an unlimited number of items per folder and up to 2 TB pst size. So, as long as its not the old ansi format pst, it will support as much as you throw at it.

Office365/ hosted exchange can support the custom fields. SharePoint, not so much. You can create custom fields in SharePoint but they don't sync to outlook.
Thanks again, Diane. So Outlook doesn't become any more unwieldy or buggy even as it approaches the terabytes? It's currently at 1gb.

How do I find out if I have the old ansi format pst?

How can I make sure Exchange caches contacts for my other users?

What are the advantages of getting Office365 involved versus sticking with Outlook and Exchange?
It's good into 5 -10 GB, not bad as it's pushing 20. I've never went over 20, but I've had customers with 50 GB file - it's usable but a little slow.

No advantage between office 365 over other exchange servers, well, except for mailbox size and features. For the most part, Exchange is exchange.
So in theory Outlook can handle up to 2TB but in reality it starts lagging at 20gb? Is there any solution to that or is it something we'd just have to live with?

If I'm at a 1gb Outlook size with 20k contacts, i'd be pushing 50gb at a million contacts. If at that point Outlook would become slow and crashy, it seems like now's the time to start thinking about an alternative. Thing is, I love Outlook, and I refuse to believe that Microsoft hasn't built its office applications to accommodate businesses with even such a high number of contacts as I plan on amassing.
Diane, I spoke with a developer who says he can create a plugin that will use a mysql database to store all my contacts and link it to Outlook so that all new contacts will also be stored in mysql, but can be queried and accessed as Outlook contact forms. He says this will enable me to deal speedily with contacts in the millions and still use Outlook. Have you ever heard of this? Is it a smart move or more headache than it's worth? And does it result in a speedier, more Outlook than I'd have with a couple million or more contacts in a conventional Outlook setup?

I'll need other users to be able to access the database remotely as they can in Microsoft Exchange. He said I'd need an IIS server for that. Never even heard of that.
That is basically how BCM works but it's buggy and not faster than outlook. I'm not sure that MySQL can do it any better - it depends on the developer. But... a CRM app might be better than Outlook.

Microsoft is continually working on outlook so by the time you have 1M contacts, it should be better.
Thanks Diane. I went with Office 365. I'm subscribing to your theory that 365 will be ready for me by the time I get to the seven digits. And without further ado, I shall post another question to your forum.
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