E-Mail Enabled Groupware

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: December 1 1999

Market Overview

The concept of the "Universal Inbox" or the "Unified Inbox" are the underlying currents driving the messaging marketplace today. A "Universal Inbox" enables a user to retrieve all forms of electronic communication from one access point. These forms contain, but are not limited to, e-mail, voice mail, fax, imaging, workflow and document management. Through implementing a "Universal Inbox" a user is able to access his or her messages from anywhere at anytime, increasing productivity and driving down associated operating costs.

The "Big-Three" groupware vendors, Microsoft, Novell and Lotus, all supply groupware enabled messaging platforms, which occupy 90% of Fortune 1000s corporate networks. All three products, Lotus Notes Domino, Novell GroupWise and Microsoft Exchange, offer "Unified Messaging" (UM) support and integrate well with a wide array of third party UM products, such as Lucent Technologies Octel Voice Messenger or Optus FacSys Fax Server. The remaining messaging servers, such as NTMail, Eudora WorldMail, MailSite and numerous others, concentrate specifically upon e-mail and message transferring, and do not offer UM support. We therefore define them as "e-mail" servers and not "messaging" or "groupware" servers.

The messaging/groupware systems target organizations that not only require e-mail functionality, but also need remote access capabilities, unified messaging, shared calendaring, and advanced management and monitoring capabilities. E-mail systems, on the other hand, either target organizations with limited information systems budgets, or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who do not require anything more than point-to-point e-mail. The typical acquisition cost for a 250 user groupware enabled e-mail system is about $12,000 (USD), a straight POP3 e-mail system for 250 users will cost approximately $5,000 (USD), a little less than half that of the groupware systems. However the implementation service costs of a POP3 e-mail system, if outsourced will cost approximately $75 (USD) per client seat, far outweighing the initial product cost.

The messaging market is continuing to grow in relation to the Internet. As more and more users gain e-mail access, and utilize it as their primary means of communication to the outside world, businesses are forced into the bigger, faster and greater systems. In 1998 the estimated number of e-mail users on the Internet had surpassed 200,000,000 and is expected to surpass 250,000,000 by the 2001. The average medium sized corporation (500 - 1000 users) will take anywhere form 3-6 months to evaluate and finalize a e-mail software purchase decision, larger scale organizations (1000-50,000 users) will generally take twice that time to complete the initial purchase cycle. Once a purchase is finalized, the adjacent third party products come into play. For instance, X Company implements Lotus Notes, and then decides they would like to incorporate an inbound and outbound fax solution, or an integrated voice-mail system. The sales cycle restarts and technical evaluation begins.

Market Winners

The two leading groupware enabled mail systems, both in market share and new installations are Lotus Notes Domino and Microsoft Exchange. Novell's GroupWise, although feature rich, is a distant third in new installations partly due to its earlier corporate viability issues and its high initial product acquisition cost. Microsoft's Exchange offering, first released in 1997, has climbed to the top of the messaging hill in new installations, offering the lowest initial acquisition cost, bundled client software as part of Microsoft office and feature rich functionality. Lotus Notes is continuing to improve, not only in feature functionality, but improving in the web space with their Domino server.

Sendmail offers the leading POP3 e-mail system, having a 78% ISP installation presence. Sendmail offers strong security and enhanced message-transfer processing coupled with a low acquisition cost.

Market Challengers

Due to the secure choke-hold that Novell, Microsoft and Lotus have on the groupware enabled e-mail market, any challengers have been removed. The competition emanates from within. Lotus and Microsoft break new ground with each new release while Novell's GroupWise struggles to maintain its existing client base. GroupWise is packed with Universal Messaging features such as built-in imaging, document management and workflow. If Novell can aggressively market these features while driving down initial ownership costs, GroupWise could feasibly make a comeback.

Sendmail has the Internet Service Provider market virtually "locked-up", and holds over 75% of the Internet's 8,000 + ISPs. Challenges may come from Eudora WorldMail or NTMail, which offer low cost and decent processing, but fail to offer strong anti-spam and anti-virus features with their point-to-point e-mail offering.

Market Losers

GroupWise is consistently losing market share to both Microsoft and Lotus, primarily due to Novell's long term corporate viability. Novell has failed to market GroupWise effectively and is therefore "nursing" the existing installation base, hoping to prevent corporations from migrating to either Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange. GroupWise is not a bad e-mail system. In fact, GroupWise offers a strong "out of the box" Unified Messaging solution. However, Novell must enhance its image in order to stop maintaining and start growing its market share.

Market Predictions

We believe that over the next five years the messaging market will grow an additional 200,000,000 seats, or essentially double its existing size. This will create a fantastic opportunity for the groupware, POP3 and 3rd party accessory markets. We also believe that the unified messaging market will begin to devour the wireless market with integrated messaging functionality. Five years from now a user will be able to retrieve anything from voice mail to facsimiles on a pocket sized PDA.

Vendor Recommendations

Microsoft Exchange

1.Continue to expand Unified Messaging Platform.

2. Continue to improve Internet or Web Based Functionality

3. Continue to improve distributed architecture and database configurations

4. Improve Disaster Recovery, Improve Availability

5. Continue to effectively market, through conferences and web

Lotus Notes

1. Enhance Unified Messaging through 3rd Party partnering

2. Continue to improve Domino's Web Based Functionality

3. Improve the front-end client to appeal to base end users.

4. Improve Administration Interface

5. Continue to effectively market through conferences and web

Novell GroupWise

1. Improve corporate viability image through effective marketing

2. Concentrate development time on database configuration

3. Lower initial software license purchase cost to compete with Lotus and Microsoft.

4. Improve disaster recovery, increase availability

5. Create a dedicated messaging conference. Move away from all-in-one Novell " Brain-Share" Conference

User Recommendations

The messaging market will affect all e-mail users directly with increased functionality offerings, enhanced ease of use and increased stability. The old saying was " No one was ever fired for buying IBM ". At this time, the same clich can now be applied to Microsoft or Lotus (which is IBM). From a longevity perspective, we believe that Lotus and Microsoft will continue to be market leaders for the foreseeable future. The same cannot be said for GroupWise unless it makes the changes documented above.

If you are either migrating a corporate wide e-mail system, your choice for a destination groupware e-mail system should be between Lotus and Microsoft. GroupWise can be viewed as essentially a legacy e-mail system and should not be implemented from scratch at the present time. If Novell can enhance its long term image over the next couple of years, GroupWise may again become a viable alternative.

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