Enterprise Messaging Evaluation and Procurement Audio Transcript

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: July 7 2000

Enterprise Messaging Evaluation and Procurement Audio Transcript
P. Hayes - July 7, 2000

Event Summary

This is a transcript of an audio conference on Enterprise Messaging evaluation and procurement conducted on May 2, 2000.


Hello, my name is Patrick Hayes and I head-up the messaging and wireless research areas for TechnologyEvaluation.Com. This morning we are going to discuss a proven, best of breed methodology for evaluating and selecting an enterprise messaging solution. During the presentation, we will utilize TechnologyEvaluation.Com's patented online selection engine, WebTESS, to guide you through a live, real time, messaging evaluation and selection. We will then review the critical differentiating messaging criteria, as well as detailed comparisons between competing vendors such as Microsoft, Lotus, and Novell.

I'm going to begin with an overview of problems and solutions relating to technology selection, starting with the problem:

  1. Project teams have no effective way to identify the critical vendor and product questions necessary to successfully initiate the evaluation process.

  2. Project teams have no ability to effectively prioritize the different criteria, once identified, relative to one another. As a result, final priorities are often more the result of internal political agendas than true needs and requirements.

  3. Project teams have no ability to gather objective, validated, updated data on the available vendor alternatives. It is a well-known problem that vendors have a tendency to exaggerate product, service and corporate capabilities if it enables them to move to the next phase of the deal.

  4. According to our research, the net result has been that over 80% of enterprise technology evaluations run over time and budget, and that once selected, over 50% of the implementations fail to meet functional and total cost expectations.

So what's the solution?

The solution is to create a structured, repeatable process for evaluating technology solutions and the vendors that provide them. Best practices drawn from TechnologyEvaluation.Com client organizations that have completed internal technology selections suggest that project teams should examine six key criteria groupings. The first three criteria sets should examine product specific capabilities, while the second three should investigate the software vendor's overall corporate capabilities.

So what are the criteria groupings?

  1. Product Functionality - Simply put, this evaluates the features and functions delivered by the product, as it exists today.

  2. Product Technology - This criterion defines the technical architecture of the product, and the technological environment in which the product can run successfully.

  3. Product Cost - Initial and Ongoing cost of product, this is not TCO as it does not account for internal support costs.

  4. Corporate Service and Support - This criterion defines the capability of the vendor to provide a high level of implementation services and ongoing support.

  5. Corporate Viability - This is a critical yet often overlooked category that should examine the financial and management strength of the vendor.

  6. Corporate Strategy - This evaluates the corporate road map and strategy of the software vendor with specific timelines regarding how the product will be developed, sold, and supported within the specific market.

Now that we have given an overview of the requirements of a technology selection, I would like to move on to an overview of the Collaborative Messaging Marketplace and as it exists today.

Today's Marketplace

We will be comparing and contrasting the three primary collaborative messaging servers within the industry today, comprising more than 130 Million end user licenses. These are, as you can see from WebTESS, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, and Novell GroupWise.

Lotus Notes R5 competes directly with Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server 5.5 and Novell's GroupWise 5.5. Microsoft will be releasing Exchange Server 2000 in the 2nd quarter of 2000, presently code named "Platinum".

Novell's offering comes well short of meeting the needs of collaborative messaging users in today's market when compared to Notes and Exchange, and continues to lose market share to them.

The collaborative messaging market is booming as e-mail has evolved into a mission critical application. Lotus Notes has just surpassed the 50,000,000-installed base mark, as has Microsoft. On the other hand, Novell appears to have gone into maintenance mode, holding onto their 20 million plus install base. However, we do expect to see some large improvements in Novell's next release of GroupWise, code named "BulletProof" which is based on XML and open standards to allow greater integration with 3rd party applications.


Before we jump into the WebTESS model I would like to give an overview of messaging trends impacting the marketplace.

Trend 1: Unified Messaging
Unified 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.

Trend 2: The Wireless Big Bang
Walking 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%).

Lotus 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%).

Trend 3: Outsourcing your e-mail to an ASP
Outsourcing messaging has become attractive to today's fast paced organizations that are looking for an easier way to maintain a messaging system. Internally hosted e-mail 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.

Many 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.

Trend 4: Messaging Security and Management
As the 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.


Now, I think it's time we moved to the demonstration. Although everyone has been given instructions on getting to the WebTESS Enterprise Messaging Software Selection Model on our site, I'll go through it again, briefly just in case some of you may have had difficulty.

First, go to our website, www.technologyevaluation.com. From the front page, select the tab marked "Vendor Selection Tool." Then, within the blue-bordered box titled "Current Category: All Categories", select the "GO" button beside "Enterprise Messaging Software." This should spawn another browser window in which you should see the WebTESS application. You will want to maximize this window for best viewing. The great beauty of WebTESS is its ability to provide project teams with a statistically valid framework for comparing vendor options. In it, we have scored each vendor according to its ability to meet the criteria. WebTESS aggregates the scores upward through the hierarchy, while simultaneously taking into account the effect of local and global weights.

Now, I would like everyone to click on the Select Choices option on the menu bar at the top part of the browser window. I'll be referring to the top menu bar several times during the demonstration. It is located in the top frame of the WebTESS browser window to the right of the spinning globe logo. In the 'Select Choices' window, you should see a list of vendors on the left hand portion of the window and a description on the right hand side.

Clicking on a vendor in the left-hand side panel brings up a detailed description of the vendor option in the right-hand side panel. By clicking the check boxes next to the vendor, you can include or exclude it from your selection.

We'll touch briefly on these vendors in order, starting with Lotus Notes.

Lotus Notes

Lotus Notes has surpassed the 50,000,000-installed base mark, giving Microsoft's Exchange server a good run for the money.

Lotus Notes R5 competes directly with Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server 5.5 and Novell's Group Wise 5.5. Novell's offering comes well short of meeting the needs of collaborative messaging users in today's market when compared to Notes and Exchange, and continues to lose market share to them.

Lotus is marketing the Notes Domino R5 Servers in four separate scalable configurations to accommodate the needs of medium to large user base corporations. In addition Lotus is continuing to support the widest array of operating systems within the messaging arena, to allow for maximum flexibility of installation, configuration, performance, and ongoing support.

Lotus Notes Strengths

  • Lotus is an IBM company that has been left alone to pursue what they do best, messaging and groupware. Notes has improved to the bleeding edge of messaging while maintaining reliability and improving performance. The vast improvements in the administration program have eased the burden on administrators. The improvements contained within the web-based client are extremely functional and easily navigable; they are clearly several bars ahead of GroupWise and Exchange.

  • The addition of Transaction Logging has long been overdue, but it is here now and enhances the speed of standard operations while improving reliability. The broad platform support is simply amazing when compared to Exchange and GroupWise. The flexibility in configuration and distribution is unparalleled in the collaborative messaging arena.

  • Lotus is also on the cutting edge of Wireless communications with alliances with Nokia and numerous 3rd party vendors. Lotus continues to select the best of breed for alliances in the anti-virus and anti-spam market, by selecting Trend Micro Systems.

Lotus Notes Challenges

  • The Solaris version of Notes needs to be improved, the product is indeed functional but does not perform nearly as well as an AS/400 or Intel based platform. In addition, the Linux version only offers web-based administration, which is a nice secondary administration option, but will not replace a complete administration package.

  • Notes still has the highest TCO of the big three collaborative messaging systems, although it contains more functionality than Exchange or GroupWise.

Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is, at its base level, an e-mail server targeting at the messaging needs of both large and small corporations. It currently has a 44% market share in the Fortune 1000 compared to a 29% share by its closest competitor, Lotus Notes. Fortune 50 companies have 52% standardization on Microsoft Exchange versus 24% standardization on Lotus Notes.

Microsoft Exchange Strengths

  • Microsoft Exchange's strongest appeal is through integration with Microsoft's Active Directory (ADS) which simplifies administration. From a single point on the network an administrator can easily control the entire Windows 2000/Messaging Implementation.

  • With Windows 2000, Microsoft has included an Active Directory Connector to allow synchronization between the Exchange 5.5 Directory and the Exchange 2000 Active Directory. The connector allows for co-existence during either an upgrade or migration.

  • Exchange 2000 provides multiple database configurations, which enables administrators to split a single logical database across multiple physical drives, thus improving performance, enhancing stability, and enabling faster backups and restores.

  • Microsoft also introduced another new feature, Distributed Configuration Architecture (DCA), into Exchange 2000. DCA allows systems engineers and administrators to split Exchange Server's services (Protocols, Directories, Storage, and Web Store) across different servers, providing higher scalability. The end result is the Exchange Server will have the ability to host millions of users.

Microsoft Exchange Challenges

  • Microsoft has only released Beta 3 of the Exchange 2000 Server. The product requires a massive effort by the development team to repair minor bugs within the source code. Microsoft has a history of missing shipment dates.

  • Microsoft will need to provide incentives to the majority of existing corporate client base for upgrades to occur. Incentives such as competitive pricing and offering discounted or free initial training to systems administrators, may not be enough to induce IT Executives to upgrade. Stability and reliability must be certain before the corporate world will take action on the new Back Office Suite.

  • Microsoft is attempting to gain a share of the ISP e-mail platform with Exchange 2000. This will require extremely competitive pricing due to the vast volume of Internet users. Microsoft's corporate pricing structure for Exchange offers the lowest entry point into the messaging market. However, the pricing will need to improve at the ISP level to dismantle the primarily Unix/Linux base. In order to make an impact Microsoft will have to not only aggressively price Exchange for ISPs, but also create an ISP tailored edition of Exchange Server, offering strictly Internet mail utilities.

Novell GroupWise

Novell GroupWise has had a solid presence in the messaging market since the early 90's. Unfortunately, GroupWise is consistently functionally behind the competition and will have to make larger strides to regain lost market share. The Internet Enhancement pack is a first step that targets existing GroupWise 5.5 client sites to prevent a migration to a competitive e-mail system.

Novell is positioning GroupWise to compete head to head with Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange by enhancing its Internet and administrative functionality. However, with the advent of Microsoft Exchange 2000's WebStore and the current functional strengths of Lotus Notes Domino, the future for Novell GroupWise looks bleak.

In the future, Novell will continue to enhance GroupWise in an attempt to catch up to Lotus and Microsoft by securing NDS integration, improving administration utilities, and developing multiple platform support. GroupWise Servers will run on UNIX, Windows NT, and NetWare servers, but not on Linux.

Novell GroupWise Strengths

  • The strength of Novell's GroupWise lies in its existing 20,000,000 seat customer base.

  • Novell will try to maintain its foothold by enhancing the current revision of GroupWise and providing clients with the Internet functionality demanded by its corporate clients. Novell will also continue to stress its above average document management capabilities, which offer support for revision tracking, workflow routing, and document imaging via digital input.

  • While the Internet Enhancement Pack is Novell's next step to creating a truly Unified Inbox, we believe Novell may be too late to maintain a truly competitive position within messaging. However the next release of GroupWise, code named 'Bulletproff' will be built around XML technology to allow for an open interface.

Novell GroupWise Challenges

  • Novell is playing catch-up. GroupWise continues to be comparatively weak in Internet utility areas such as an Internet/Intranet access client and a URL addressable object structure, areas that Microsoft and Lotus have virtually secured.

  • Novell must dedicate a strong team of developers to provide GroupWise the following functional improvements:

    1. It must improve the current database structure to allow for a distributed architecture while improving availability and stability.

    2. All objects within the GroupWise directory must be able to be directly URL accessible from any point.

    3. GroupWise must be able to run out of the box, offering a turnkey solution that is easy to install and administer.

    4. Novell must offer a lower entry point to appeal to cost conscious organizations. While the GroupWise server component is priced competitively, the client access license must be shaved down to no more than $40 (USD) per seat. Twenty million seats provides a good deal of upgrade and support revenue, but ultimately, if the product is not revamped those seats will migrate to a new platform within 2 years (probability 60%).

Now that we have discussed each of the vendors in our model, let's take a look at some of the other parts of WebTESS.

First we will go on to the Weigh Criteria section. Do this by clicking on the 'weigh criteria' option on the top menu bar.

Weigh Criteria

The weigh criteria screen is used to assign your own customized weights to the selection criteria. Weights represent relative levels of importance for the criteria. Within the decision tree in the left panel, click on any one of the criteria, and its sub criteria will be displayed in the right panel with their respective weights. You can create customized weights by clicking on the colored bars to the right of the criteria.

For the enterprise messaging software model, the weights chosen are based on settings we obtained from past clients and represent a broadly defined standard. Product functionality remains the most important criterion, but is followed closely by service and support. Corporate viability comes next, then product technology and corporate strategy have roughly the same level of importance.

Next, we'll take a look at the vendor ratings. Do this by clicking on the 'view ratings' option on the top menu bar.

View Ratings

The view ratings screen displays how the vendors perform across all the criteria defined in the model. You can display comparative ratings by one choice (all the criteria ratings for one vendor are displayed) or by one criterion (all included vendors are rated across the criteria highlighted in the tree in the left panel). To see how one vendor option rates against the criteria, go to the 'view ratings' option on the top menu bar and select the 'one choice for all criteria' option. This brings up a list of all the criteria and shows how the vendor displayed in the 'Option' text box scores. Now - to see a comparison, go again to the 'view ratings' option on the top menu bar and select 'all choices for one criterion.' This lists all vendor options taking part in this selection with their accompanying ratings.

Next, let's see the overall results by bringing up the score card. This is done by clicking on the 'score card' option on the top menu bar.

Score Card

The Score Card screen shows both the overall and detailed scores of the selection model choices. The individual choice can be selected from the drop down box below, and its strengths and weaknesses will be displayed on the left. The bottom scoreboard provides detailed comparisons of selected criterion from the left panel. A criterion shows up as a strength if it passes a threshold of 90% percent match and a weakness if it falls below 50%. By expanding the criteria hierarchy to the left, you can drill down into lower levels of the model to do comparisons. The hierarchy can be navigated in exactly the same way as Windows Explorer.

Well, that's a very brief overview of WebTESS and only begins to cover all of its capabilities. It also allows you to create charts and reports and contains a full on-line Help feature. To wrap up, I'll just take a few moments to give you some general pointers on how to use our technology.

Both WebTESS and TESS, the desktop version, offer major advantages if you want to use them for adding to the quality of your own research. Each model is fully documented with comments on the factors and models.

If you want to create a shortlist of vendors because there are some criteria that are really critical to you, look through the model and click on those criteria. You can shortlist the vendors quickly that way, and then run through the rest of the model with those selected vendors.

I should add that our desktop product TESS is also available and you can contact our sales department, sales@technologyevaluation.com, concerning TESS and model licensing.

Thank you all for participating and please e-mail any additional questions you have to messaging@technologyevaluation.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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