Access and Feeds

SaaS and Cloud Computing: Enterprises Move to Cloud-based Email

By Dick Weisinger

Cloud-based email is becoming an increasingly attractive option for organizations.  Right now the cloud-based email only has about a 3 percent share of the total email market, but  Gartner predicts that 10 percent of enterprise users will be using cloud-based email by 2014, 20 percent will be using it by 2016, and that by 2020, the number is expected to grow to as high as 55 percent.

Another parallel study made in the UK by research group LoudCloud estimates an even more dramatic shift to cloud-based email with nearly a third of organizations making the jump.  LoudCloud found, in a survey commissions by cloud-based email provider Mimecast, that the move to the cloud is being fueled by upcoming email upgrade decisions.  In the UK, LoudCloud found that most organizations use Microsoft Exchange as their email server, and the introduction of Exchange 2010 provides compelling reasons for many of these organizations to upgrade, but it also provides a decision point for IT managers  to combine their upgrade with a migration to a cloud-based solution.
LoudCloud found that 77 percent of IT managers in the UK are planning to upgrade their emails systems by 2013.  Of these, 57 percent will be upgrading to Microsofts’s latest version of Exchange, Exchange 2010, but 21 percent will opt to use a hosted version of Exchange 2010 and another 13 percent will move to Microsoft’s  Cloud-based Office 365.   The average mid-sized organization is expected to migrate over 100GB of email data from on-premise systems to cloud-based ones.
Gartner agrees that that move of email into the cloud is inevitable, it expects that the migration will happen at a much slower pace.  Garter has coined the phrase ‘cloud email and collaboration services’ (CECS) to described this market segment.  Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner fellow, said that “ultimately, we expect CECS to become the dominant provisioning model for the next generation of communication and collaboration technologies used in enterprises.  ”However, it is not dominant today, it will not be the only model, and it will take a decade or more for the transition to play out. Right now, the list of reasons to move to CECS is long, as is the list of reasons to avoid it.”
While Gartner thinks that many organizations will be cautious, they recommend a quicker move to the cloud, rather than a wait-and-see strategy.  Austin said that “if CECS makes sense for an enterprise, it would be far better off proceeding now, while requiring that the CECS supplier guarantees to continue to reduce prices as prices in general fall in the market.”
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