CCS Blog Entry – Potential Zimbra Sale to VMware Monday, Jan 11 2010 

Earlier this week, Kara Swisher from All Things Digital broke the news that VMware may buy Zimbra from Yahoo! (Exclusive: VMware Likely to Buy Zimbra From Yahoo). I blogged my thoughts on possible buyers for Zimbra from the communications and collaboration market last September when rumors started circulating that Yahoo! was shopping Zimbra. VMware was not on the list.

My thoughts posted on the CCS blog –


Upcoming Telebriefing on Exchange 2010 Friday, Dec 18 2009 

I will be the presenter in a Burton Group TeleBriefing on January 12th and 13th. The details are below:

Another Burton Group TeleBriefing

Service: Collaboration and Content

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Topic: “Transitioning” to Exchange 2010: Is It Worth the Effort?

Presented by: Bill Pray

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A challenge for Microsoft with the Exchange 2010 release is to convince customers that it does something new enough to “transition.” Moving to Exchange 2010 is not an in-place upgrade. It is a transition — making the move more expensive and complex for the enterprise. Microsoft also focused much of the development of Exchange 2010 to rebuild it for software-as-a-service Exchange Online offerings. Therefore, what does Exchange 2010 offer to the enterprise that justifies the transition? In this TeleBriefing, Analyst Bill Pray reviews Exchange 2010 and provides insight into the business case for and against upgrading to Exchange 2010.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2:00 p.m ET/ 11:00 a.m PT/ 19:00 UTC GMT /20:00 CET

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

9:00 a.m. ET/6:00 a.m. PT/14:00 UTC GMT/15:00 CET

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Registration options:

– Register online

– Call 800.824.9924 ext. 174 (for calls outside the U.S., dial +1.801.304.8174)

Notes about attendance:

– Attendance at this online web event is limited. Register early.

– Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation and

dial-up instructions.

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What is a TeleBriefing?

Burton Group TeleBriefings offer an interactive forum providing clients with in-depth and pertinent information related to a specific topic. Sessions are hosted by Burton Group experts and topics complement Burton Group research.

Access related content



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Burton Group

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Recent Case Law and E-mail Friday, Nov 20 2009 

Here are six links to recent stories on court cases and e-mail:

U.S. Court Weighs E-mail Privacy, Again — Privacy – InformationWeek

This case raises the question of whether or not e-mail messages should have the same privacy as telephone calls with regards to legal situations, particularly when the e-mail is in the hands of a service provider.

Your Rights Online: An Inbox Is Not a Glove Compartment

“A federal judge rules that government can obtain access to a person’s inbox contents without any notification to the subscriber.”

What Did Cuomo Find in Intel’s Emails?

E-mail is used to build the case against Intel.

The Bear Stearns Verdict: A Blow to E-Mail Prosecutions
“It does not mean all white-collar cases will not go forward, but I do think it will cause prosecutors to come to the conclusion that e-mail evidence alone is not enough to bring a case.”

FINRA fines MetLife Securities, affiliates

Finra fines MetLife $1.2M  for poor  e-mail monitoring.

Some Courts Raise Bar on Reading Employee Email

Courts starting to side with employee privacy in relation to corporate provided e-mail


The “net-net” of these articles is that e-mail and case law is still very dynamic environment.

On Today’s CCS Blog – Exchange 2010 Podcast Monday, Nov 9 2009 

I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions of Michael Atalla, Group Product Manager for Microsoft Exchange and Steve Schafer, Director of Global Information Systems for Global Crossing (an Exchange 2010 customer) about the value of upgrading to Exchange 2010 and posted the responses in a podcast on the CCS blog.

H1N1 – Preparing for the Worst and Hoping for the Best Friday, Oct 9 2009 

Social distancing is a strategy that the federal government has included in the response plans for an H1N1 epidemic. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services states in its Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the 2009 – 2010 Influenza Season:

“If severity increases, public health officials may recommend a variety of methods for increasing the physical distance between people (called social distancing) to reduce the spread of disease, such as school dismissal, child care program closure, canceling large community gatherings, canceling large business-related meetings, spacing workers farther apart in the workplace, canceling non-essential travel, and recommending work-from-home strategies for workers that can conduct their business remotely.”

The guidance also states:

  • “Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), when possible, to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if local public health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple workers who may be able to work from home.
  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
  • Plan to minimize exposure to fellow employees or the public if public health officials call for social distancing.
  • Establish a process to communicate information to workers and business partners on your 2009 H1N1 influenza response plans and latest 2009 H1N1 influenza information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.”

The impact on the business can be significant if the enterprise has not planned ahead. Key communication and collaboration tools (e.g. e-mail, instant messaging, web conferencing, and team workspaces) should be identified and evaluated for capabilities to help an enterprise to continue to function in the event that facilities are closed and large numbers of employees in certain geographic areas are ill or have to work remotely.

Microsoft’s Live@edu – Winning Over the College Crowd Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Microsoft continues its effort to win over the college crowd with Microsoft Live@edu. The University of Colorado announced that is is switching from Mirapoint to Live@edu. The main attraction? It’s hosted and free.

What is the benefit to Microsoft? There are two primary benefits:

1. This is a strategic method Microsoft has used for many years – capture the next generation workforce as end users before they enter the workforce. I remember my university switching from WordPerfect to Microsoft Office in the early 90s because Microsoft gave the university a fantastic deal.

2. Microsoft needs to rapidly build its experience and capabilities around hosted e-mail on a mass scale in a more enterprise-like environment. Google is gaining traction in the small and medium business markets with Gmail and poses a potential future threat as a competitor for future enterprise hosted e-mail. The university environment is an excellent place to gain this experience with less risk.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Friday, Feb 20 2009 

While you may not be able to explain the contents of this act off the top of your head, the impact of this Act is known by every person living in the U.S. This act amended the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to increase daylight savings time in the spring by changing its start date from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March, and in the fall by changing its end date from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November. The justification for this portion of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was that it would save energy.

This last October, the Department of Energy released its report of the impacts of Extended Daylight Saving Time on the national energy consumption. The report can be found here, but the gist of it is that the total electricity savings is .03 percent of electricity consumption in the U.S. over the year.

The good news? The change worked and energy was saved. How well it worked depends upon how significant you think .03 percent savings is in relation to the effort. The report didn’t cover economic impacts. Calendars in e-mail solutions are still suffering from the change, as the major collaboration vendors had to scramble to get patches into place to account for the changes. Going forward, most vendors were clever enough to change their code to prevent future issues, but problems still linger.

The effort by IT shops to implement the necessary patches and user education for Extended Daylight Saving Time must have had a monumental cost. Unfortunately, that study hasn’t been completed. But, at least the effort was not in vain.

The New Gmail Task Management Wednesday, Dec 10 2008 

Being a fan of David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done), the task management capabilities of e-mail are a necessity for me. In the perpetual Gmail beta, task management or the to-do list has been sorely missing. Posted Monday in The Official Gmail Blog, the Gmail team shared the details of the addition of this feature. The lack of task management in Gmail has been one of the key missing features for enterprise class e-mail solution.

Gmail’s first iteration of task management is pretty “lightweight” – as described by the Gmail team in their blog. Once it is enabled (through Settings), a link is provided in the left hand column called “Tasks.” Clicking the link opens a task list window in the lower right hand corner. If you click the arrow in the upper right hand corner, it opens the list in a separate browser window as a pop-out. This is how I prefer to use it at the moment, although I am still trying things out.

Tasks are created by simply typing and hitting enter. You can indent (to create a visual sub-task), move up and down, and add details (such as a due date).

The most useful feature is the ability to convert e-mails to tasks. Select a message, go to More Actions > Add to Tasks and a task is created with the title of the e-mail. A link to the e-mail is provided below the task name that takes you to the message without closing the task window. 

Overall, this is not a bad first iteration for task management in Gmail, but it is definitely still “lightweight.”

Gmail Tasks

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.

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.