the end of 2001 it is estimated, the number of active e-mail users will
be over 500 million. E-mail has evolved from a useful, but not necessary
utility, into a "mission critical" application. An e-mail outage in a
large organization is a small step better than complete loss of electricity.
Millions of people rely on their e-mail to perform their specific job
functions on a daily basis.
electronic communication has grown, geographic boundaries have shrunk,
enabling an onslaught of mobile executives. These users require instant
access, at any time, from anywhere while being platform and operating
system independent. The need to improve stability, performance, and reliability
is ever-present; the need to improve workflow is immediate.
current trends within the electronic messaging arena involve Unified Messaging
to improve communication and access to data, wireless messaging for instant
access, outsourcing for reduced administrative overhead, and security
to protect an organization from spam, viruses and corruption.
1: Unified Messaging
Messaging is perhaps the hottest field within electronic communications.
Unified Messaging is the concept behind the Universal Inbox. The idea
is simply access to all forms of electronic communication through one
central and portable interface. Users can have faxes, voice mails, electronic
forms, and database access through their existing inbox, in addition to
document management and workflow. Whether you are running a collaborative
e-mail server such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes, or a standard
POP3 mail service you will find a 3rd party solution for fax, voice mail,
e-forms and workflow. Administrators can pick and choose which components
they need for their specific organizations.
corporations have at least two components of a UM solution already in
place, e-mail and fax integration. The facsimile UM market has been cannibalized
by RightFax, recently acquired by AVT Corporation, and Optus FacSys which
has increased sales in vertical markets such as fax hardware by BrookTrout.
Messaging has been slower to impact the messaging market, due to the cost
of hardware, software and the deficiencies in text to voice speech translation.
However, as hardware prices have eased, the text to voice engine technology
has improved, making voice integration a viable option. The leaders in
voice integration are Lucent, AVT Corporation, and Active Voice with smaller
vendors such as Voixx making a market impact.
Messaging is about to boom. Market leaders such as Lotus, IBM, and AT&T
have already announced wireless support. Nokia, Motorola, Ericsonn, and
Qualcomm are supporting wireless vertical markets with security, management,
and synchronization being tackled by leader Puma Technologies.
Technology decision makers and administrators must determine, which, if
any, components of Unified Messaging are needed by their users today and
take the necessary steps to implementation. The Unified Inbox is no longer
a futuristic concept, its available to your IT organization today.
recommend an advanced jump onto the wireless technologies, especially
for organizations with roaming sales forces. While wireless access implementations
are not inexpensive from a CFO's point of view, there are some cheaper
ways to test the water temperature. One option is to implement a two-way
paging system, such as a RIM pager (Research In Motion), which allows
a user constant access to e-mail. Another option may be to roll out Wireless
Access Phones (WAP) to a smaller target test group and verify that your
organization benefits from the enhanced remote communication capabilities.
2: The Wireless Big Bang
hand in hand with Unified Messaging is the extension of the Universal
Inbox to wireless access phones (WAP) and Personal Digital Assistants
(PDA). The Wireless Messaging market is expected to consist of greater
than 600 million users by the 4th quarter of 2003 (Probability 75%).
is leading the pack of collaborative messaging vendors through Partnerships
with wireless vendors such as Nokia and AT&T. Microsoft is expected to
release a list of wireless vendor alliances within the next quarter (Probability
80%). Vendors such as Puma Technologies and NetMind are teaming up to
add synchronization and personalization features to wireless messaging
offerings. Expect to see WAP offerings from all cellular carriers within
90 days (Probability 85%) and the proliferation of wireless cradles for
PDAs within the next 180 days (Probability 70%).
Technology decision makers and administrators may not have need for wireless
messaging now, but it will quickly become a mainstream technology. Verify
that your software vendors have/are accounting for the wireless trends
in messaging, if not apply pressure when possible. If you already have
a PDA/WAP user base of 500 or more, you have reached "critical-mass" as
defined by Puma Technologies and should immediately investigate data access,
synchronization, and management.
3: Outsourcing your email to an ASP
messaging has become attractive to today's fast paced organizations that
are looking for an easier way to maintain a messaging system. Internally
hosted email systems require constant maintenance and are administrative
headaches. In addition, finding and keeping an employee with messaging
expertise is growing more and more difficult. Information Technology (IT)
Departments' turn over rates have lent themselves to the IT department
"revolving door" concept.
CIO's are interested in washing their hands of maintaining a production
e-mail system and taking advantage of outsourcing opportunities. Generally,
a collaborative server-based outsourced mailbox will cost approximately
$29 (USD) per month. Technology Evaluation has determined that the cost
break point ranges between three and four hundred users. For larger organizations
consisting of thousands of users, outsourcing is not financially viable,
although the zero-administration concept has a very strong appeal.
companies consisting of 5 - 400 users should look towards outsourcing
their messaging as a method to eliminate internal technical headaches,
human resource issues, and to decrease operating costs.
larger than 500 users should look to keep their primary messaging systems
internally hosted as a 3-year life cycle indicates a significantly higher
outsourcing cost when weighed against the costs of an internally hosted
4: Messaging Security and Management
number of electronic mail users grows astronomically, so do the levels
of spam and viruses. The problem has existed for several years, with the
majority of organizations taking a reactive as opposed to a proactive
approach to virus and spam protection. The "Melissa" virus, which took
its toll on corporate America, brought the messaging security arena into
the limelight. In 1998 alone e-mail viruses caused more than $7 Billion
(USD) in data damage.
spam may not damage data, it does hamper user performance. For instance,
if it takes the average user 5 seconds to delete each piece of spam and
each user receives 5-10 spam messages a day, the soft dollar cost can
be substantial. Companies such as Network Associates, Symantec, and Trend
Micro are the three leading vendors in AntiVirus software and content
scanning and filtering. Expect to see the messaging security vertical
markets to grow in proportion to the wireless explosion.
has come to be proactive in the protection of company data. The messaging
system is one of the most vulnerable and accessible services on the network.
Take advantage of AntiVirus software servers and save yourself from potentially
devastating infection. In addition, implement content filtering to alleviate
the spam loads across users mailboxes; your users will thank you for it.
corporate and private messaging markets are growing quickly, and with
the advent of Wireless Messaging the connected user base will surpass
600 million users within 3 years (Probability 75%). Corporations
must take the time now to ensure availability, scalability, and reliability
in order to take advantage of emerging technologies.
must take the time to implement safeguards against unsolicited email,
otherwise known as spam, and ensure superior virus protection. One of
the larger problems corporations face today is the lack of available human
talent in the marketplace. The retention of qualified people is also a
internal IT messaging departments seem to have a revolving door, where
existing employees are being offered $25,000 (USD) sign-on bonuses, or
new BMW's by a competitor. These human resource concerns have made the
Application Service Provider (ASP) market more appealing to many IT managers.
We expect to see the ASP market capture 20% of the corporate messaging
market within three years (Probability 80%.)