E-mail as a Managed Service Wednesday, Sep 24 2008 

I had the opportunity to speak with Scott Gode, VP of Marketing and Product Management for Azaleos, yesterday. Azaleos provides managed service offerings for organizations using Exchange.  They also have a beta going for SharePoint managed services.

A couple of insights that I came away with after the conversation:

1. The interest in SaaS e-mail offerings is also creating interest in managed services for e-mail.  Not all organizations are willing or able to make the transition to a hosted e-mail service, but still want some of the advantages hosted e-mail offers for their IT departments.  

Under a managed service model, the organization still has the solution on premise and pays for licenses and hardware, but the management and monitoring of the solution is outsourced to a third party, saving on internal IT resources.  

So, the managed services model still gives an organization complete control (and the associated expenses) of their e-mail solution (especially important to an organization concerned about the security of the e-mail content) as it is still on premise, but the day-to-day work to maintain is outsourced for a predictable recurring cost.  

2. Virtualizing Exchange can successfully be done, but you need to know the limits and optimize.  

Scott’s team lives in the Exchange world and has developed expertise in virtualizing Exchange.  Scott stated that they have benchmarked a virtualized Exchange implementation as high as 3,000 users. The metrics Scott’s team used were reasonable. However, keep in mind that any benchmark with an e-mail solution is just an indicator, your mileage will vary.  

For example, I once worked with a luxury home construction company with e-mail users that were pretty average in their use (volume, frequency, etc.) except… they liked to add CAD drawings as attachments. The large file attachments created unanticipated loads within their system and caused issues for outgoing e-mails.

Advertisements

Five Reasons the Enterprise Messaging / E-Mail Market is Getting Interesting Again Tuesday, Sep 16 2008 

1.  Choice – For years Microsoft and IBM have dominated this market with Exchange and Notes, with Novell and Oracle holding onto a small share of loyal customers. With Google, Yahoo! (Zimbra) and Cisco (recently announced the PostPath acquisition) all pushing into the market, enterprises have some options to consider. Novell and Oracle both have major releases scheduled before end of the year also. Choice and competition are good for a mature market because they will foster lower prices and innovation.

2.  SaaS – The primary reason Google, Yahoo! and Cisco are interesting is that they are Software as a Service offerings for e-mail. Both Microsoft and IBM have similar offerings in the works. The SaaS model gives enterprise a new delivery model to consider. Larry Cannel covers this in depth in a recently published report that Burton Group customers can access here.  In addition, Burton Group customers can read the results and analysis by Craig Roth of recent Burton Group / Ziff Davis survey on SaaS here.   Also, Jack Santos goes in depth on IT strategy, SaaS, and Google in the document found here.

3.  Social Software – The social software evolution is taking e-mail back to its roots as an asynchronous communication method and providing interesting new ways for e-mail to fulfill this role in larger collaboration systems or platforms.

4.  Mashups – The interface for e-mail is becoming interesting again with mashups.  Check out any of these six solutions to see what I mean: ZenbeOrgooFuserTopicRGoowy, and Jubii.  These have been labeled by some as e-mail aggregators, but many of the features delivered demonstrate that there is much more than e-mail aggregation going on here.  Perhaps one of the most interesting mashups that is still in the “playing with the idea” stage is Adobe’s Genesis project.

5.  Legal Decisions – As I have previously blogged, the courts continue to delve into defining e-mail’s legal status through decisions that present challenges to users and enterprises alike. Compliance and e-discovery are becoming “block and tackle” e-mail issues that need to be addressed by enterprises, with the courts continuing to add complexity through new legal decisions. 

 

Note:  This is a cross-posting from the Collaboration and Content Strategies blog.

Bravo Jay Cutler! Diabetes Is Not Career Ending Tuesday, Sep 9 2008 

Jay Cutler played his first NFL game yesterday after being diagnosed last spring with Type 1 diabetes.  His “strength and rocket arm were back like never before.”  In the first year, Type 1 diabetes can be very hard to control.  I spent the weekend not getting much sleep, as my spouse and I helped our very sick child because her insulin pump broke.  Examples of success like Mr. Cutler’s are inspirational to children like mine and I appreciate what he has gone through to this point to have a night like he did last night.

I hope you don’t mind the short diversion from my usual enterprise collaboration topics, but I couldn’t let this pass without a mention.  

Bravo Jay Cutler!

GroupWise 8 Open Beta Released Thursday, Sep 4 2008 

Novell GroupWise 8 released to open beta yesterday. As a former product manager for GroupWise, I think Novell customers will be pleased with the enhancements – otherwise, I didn’t do a very good job. But, having worked on the product, let me share some insight I have on this release that might be of interest.

While Novell doesn’t spend much marketing effort to compete with IBM and Microsoft in the enterprise messaging market, Novell does continue to develop and maintain GroupWise for their established customer base. Most market estimates place Novell’s single digit enterprise messaging market share at a distant third to IBM and Microsoft. But GroupWise is a good example of how e-mail systems once entrenched, tend to stay. 

It has taken Novell a long time to deliver on GroupWise 8.  GroupWise 7 released in August 2005. However, GroupWise customers will find some nice “delighters” in this next release, as Novell spent a significant portion of its development effort on the end user experience. 

Perhaps one the most significant differentiators in this release is that Novell can now tout a complete enterprise messaging solution from the server to the desktop for Linux. Novell has been using its own Linux desktop internally for several years. As a result, there was significant pressure on the GroupWise team to bring the GroupWise Linux client up to snuff. The Linux client in GroupWise 8 is arguably one of the richest Linux e-mail clients in the market. Unfortunately for Linux aficionados, it is not open source.  For GroupWise customers, this also means a very rich Mac client, as the two clients share the same code base. 

In addition to the Linux development, GroupWise contact management, task management and calendaring have been enhanced significantly – bringing them on par (or even slightly better, depending upon your opinion) with Exchange and Notes.  

Two major pain points for GroupWise that are not fixed in this release are the weak Outlook connector and no iPhone support. 

Overall, GroupWise customers should be happy with this next version and it should help Novell to retain customers. Now Novell needs to find a large, credible partner to help them provide a robust hosted GroupWise offering or potentially watch their customer base dwindle away as SaaS e-mail solutions become more viable for enterprises.