Exclaimer is well-known within the Microsoft world with regards to its email signature management solutions and I have installed several of its products for my on-premises customers over the years. Today, I am reviewing Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 which integrates with Office 365, and brings the same concept of centralized email signature management to the cloud era.
Email signatures are a key visual component for any business enterprise, and having a consistent method to enforce these is very important. Using signatures, a company can easily do things like inform its customers about a new product or tell its end-users about a new policy. Having a tool that allows you to manage these from a central location makes this process much easier and saves a lot of operational cost from your IT service desk.
Exclaimer Cloud deployment…
The setup process is extremely easy and actually does not require IT experience at all. All that is needed is a web browser and about 10 minutes of your time.
Basically, the only thing that you need to know before you start is your Microsoft domain (the one that ends with .onmicrosoft.com). After that, it is just matter of logging into the Exclaimer Cloud portal (https://portal.exclaimer.com) and following a series of three setup wizards: one to define the subscription, another to create your first signature template and a final one that integrates the service directly with Office 365. All of the necessary connections to Office 365 needed to support Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 are done in the background, including the connectors and transport rules.
Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 is hosted within Microsoft Azure datacenters in various locations around the world such as in the USA, Europe and Australia. It comes with a service health page that provides status information for the curious administrator and offers real-time notifications via email or SMS if an issue arises.
Using the Signature Editor to create your corporate signatures…
You can create as many email signature templates as you want. During the creation of your first template, you define the company information (address, logo, etc.) you want to appear, then you either start your signature design from scratch or use a pre-built template from one of the following categories:
- Business cards.
- Without images.
After selecting how you want to start your email signature template, you can change literally anything on it. On the left of the screen, a toolbox with Text & Fields, Social Media, Legal & Compliance, Tables and Image and Icons allows you to pick and choose which items to place in your signature. In the middle, you can play around with the different signature fields. Clicking on one of these fields opens up a new window with several options including text format, background, visibility, and so forth. To make things even easier, a preview of any changes done on the fly are displayed on the right side, so you get a clear view of how your signature looks. Once you’re satisfied with the design, just hit Save and you’re good to go!
Email signatures go to a whole new level…
I was able to configure the integration with Office 365 and create my first email signature template faster than Barry Allan, aka The Flash, but the next question is how you move your template to production or, even better, test it. Well, it took me only a few seconds to realize that it was built into the service.
An email signature template must be enabled and applied, a granular process where an administrator defines who it applies to when messages are sent. There is also the option to add exclusion and date-and-time rules based on the needs of your company. Once completed, email signatures will start being stamped to all messages based on all rules you’ve defined.
What about profile pictures?
We now live in a world where knowing a person’s email address is not enough for communication purposes and having a picture makes team collaboration much easier, with all new Microsoft products now offering the use of photo images. Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 has a built-in feature where all users are listed, allowing you to upload their pictures via a simple two step process, which are then used in signatures. Pretty cool, eh?
Improving your experience with Exclaimer Cloud
Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 is a fantastic product and works perfectly. However, some users will still try to configure their own signatures, creating some inconveniences for IT administrators. My recommendation is to ensure that Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 is the only source of email signatures by locking down end-users’ ability to change their signature design. You can do this through Group Policies for Outlook clients, and Outlook Web App Policies on the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365.
Another piece of best practice advice for using this service is to make sure that your Active Directory is up-to-date and includes correct contact information to be used by signatures.
In my opinion, Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365 raises the bar when it comes to managing email signatures. The integration capabilities with Office 365 are neat and clean. The service is easy-to-use and powerful, plus it does not require an on-premises footprint from either the server or client side, making it a perfect fit for all organizations.
From an end-user perspective, there is no configuration whatsoever. For anyone receiving messages, they get to see professional email signatures that can include social media icons, AD photos, marketing banners etc., no matter what device the email has been sent from.
After reviewing and using the service for a couple of weeks on my domains as an administrator and end-user, my rating for the service is 5 stars out of 5.