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Messaging and Collaboration Trends    [Date Added : 01/10/2005 ]
Two recent reports show what companies are doing in messaging and collaboration. E-mail and Messaging, Directory Services, Groupware and Wireless, written by Ron Herardian, chief systems architect for Global System Services Corporation (GSS), assesses deployed IT infrastructure, technology, trends, IT priorities and future plans.

Herardian sent out surveys to 1,500 IT contacts - 500 of whom responded. Approximately 90 percent of the participating companies were based in the United States and 10 percent in Europe, while 10 percent of US-based participating companies operated worldwide. The average number of employees was 10,500, with the largest company reporting 125,000 and the smallest reporting 20.

The second survey report, Messaging and Collaboration Corporate Survey, has been prepared by the Radicati Group, which is a consulting and market research firm. Their study was conducted across 78 corporations of all sizes on a worldwide basis, representing about 862,000 e-mail users.

In addition to the overall results, Radicati's report breaks out the data according to company size, messaging platform and geographic region. Much of the data Radicati compares to survey results from previous years, but the companies surveyed are not necessarily the same set of companies year to year. However, Radicati says the participant demographics have remained relatively consistent.

Messaging

Domino aficionados won't appreciate how messaging platform usage numbers appear in these survey reports. Herardian notes, "The makeup of the enterprise messaging server landscape has continued to change in favor of Microsoft, which now appears to hold 53 percent of all enterprise messaging server deployments. Lotus Domino deployments among US companies have declined slightly, holding roughly 24 percent of the US market."

Herardian's 2003 report was not as formal as his 2004 report, and he notes that an increasing number of smaller companies participated this year than last year. In an interview - this isn't in the report - Harardian explains: "I think it's a given that smaller companies use Microsoft for e-mail - it's cheaper and there's more readily available expertise." Globally, and with larger organizations, IBM Lotus Domino/Notes solutions have the edge.

When Herardian looks at groupware, he found that 53 percent of the respondents were using groupware, but most of those (41 percent of companies) were only using calendaring and scheduling capabilities. In the survey results, Microsoft holds the greatest market share with 56 percent (over IBM Lotus' 31 percent), but Herardian points out several times that very few companies use "groupware" applications with Microsoft Exchange beyond calendaring and scheduling.

Again, Herardian's data comes primarily from organizations in the United States, and 21 percent of the organizations surveyed had 1-to-100 users.

Radicati found similar deployment results, but one should remember that Radicati's study covered only 78 corporations. MS Exchange garnered 61 percent usage while IBM Lotus Domino came in with 19 percent. Radicati says that smaller companies used Exchange more frequently.

Trends

Radicati reports that 48 percent of Domino customers are using R6.x, and none reported using Lotus Workplace Messaging. (However, if you do the math, it's unlikely that Radicati surveyed more than 20 Domino-based IBM customers.) In addition, Radicati reports that about half of Domino customers use Lotus Domino Web Access.

Over the last 12 months, the average company in Radicati's study reported operational messaging budget increases of 3 percent, with budgets for new messaging software rising 4.4 percent.

In an effort to reduce costs, Radicati reports that nearly one-third of the companies are outsourcing their e-mail solutions: in 2002, 9 percent outsourced e-mail; in 2003, 18 percent outsourced; and in 2004, 30 percent outsourced e-mail. In Radicati's executive summary of the data, Radicati again notes that the companies are not all the same companies year-to-year, but the survey demographics remain similar.

The sheer volume of data going through e-mail inboxes has increased 53 percent to reach 14.7 MB per day, representing 34 sent e-mails and 99 received.

Some 97 percent of respondents think spam is a serious problem, even though 78 percent have already deployed anti-spam solutions. Radicati estimates the average user spends 11 minutes per day managing spam. This translates into hundreds of dollars in wasted productivity per employee each year.

According to the GSS survey, roughly 17 percent of Domino customers are running Domino 6.5 compared with 11 percent of Exchange customers running Exchange 2003, while one-third of Microsoft Exchange customers remain on Exchange 5.5. The different rates of migration to newer versions can be attributed to Lotus' consistent architecture and flexible upgrade path (both clients and servers are interoperable and downward compatible) compared to Microsoft's changing product architectures, particularly the dependency of new versions of Exchange on AD.

Note the discrepancy in Domino 6.x usage among Domino-based companies. Herardian finds only 17 percent of Domino users using 6.5, while Radicati reports 48 percent at 6.x. Herardian's release options are R5 or 6.5 in the report. Differences in how these questions were asked, perceived and delivered to the survey receivers cause some differences, but organizational demographics of the respondents is likely the biggest cause.

In June 2004, Lotus said approximately 50 percent of its customers had upgraded to Domino 6. At the same time, Lotus said small-to-medium businesses haven't begun the upgrade process yet. Forty-six percent of CSS' respondents were from organizations with less than 1,000 users.

Herardian also found that various versions of Microsoft Outlook account for approximately 65 percent of all desktop e-mail clients. Herardian explains that some respondents are using Outlook with non-Microsoft messaging servers. (Lotus Notes' 24 percent client use corresponds closely to Domino server deployments).

Herardian finds that while there has been a great deal of activity with e-mail archiving, IT professionals generally perceive it as a straightforward product selection issue and don't consider it a high priority - most respondents have been archiving e-mail and instant messaging conversations for some time.

Interest in Instant Messaging has grown over 2003 - thirty-five percent of companies are either deploying or planning to deploy IM solutions, but 53 percent of all respondents are trying to block or control IM activity through IT policies. Herardian writes, "This situation suggests that users are adopting IM as a business tool regardless of support from their IT organizations."

Groupware Investment

Herardian makes an interesting point in his report about how investments in "groupware" have evolved - and are evolving - but it’s not clear how the survey data in the report supports his analysis. He writes, "Interest in collaborative computing and knowledge management has risen in priority in 2004. There is no reason to believe, however, that new IT investment will go toward traditional groupware platforms. It is likely that new IT investments in collaborative technologies will be focused almost entirely on a combination of Web-based applications, such as IBM Lotus Workplace, Microsoft SharePoint Portal, and instant messaging."

In fact, Herardian believes - this is not in the report - that the model of a single groupware platform has become obsolete. Herardian says that IBM's integration of Domino with WebSphere, including IBM's Workplace strategy, is right on track with how organizations are now investing in new technology. "IBM has correctly foreseen the future - this is a positive change for Domino users," he says.

In the report, Herardian writes, "Paradoxically, it appears to be more feasible for IT management to obtain funds for new technology initiatives then to increase operational resources for existing solutions."
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