Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cloud-Based Services and Collaboration Fuel Growth in the North American Hosted Enterprise Email Markets

After years of uncertainty, the North American hosted enterprise email markets have finally taken off. As businesses perceive email as mission-critical, they were skeptical about email applications residing outside the enterprise in a third-party data center in the past. However, the entry of large cloud-based providers and on-premise email vendors has lent credibility to the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. In addition, technology maturity and cost advantages have helped spur the growth of hosted email services among enterprise users.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of over $319.1 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $604.4 million in 2015. On-premise email platforms are complicated, expensive, and require a certain level of expertise and investment capabilities.
Increasing email sizes and larger storage requirements have also contributed to escalating costs. Email archiving (online backup and recovery), compliance, and security (filtering, spam control) add layers of complexity to the email environment.

Compliance issues dictate that organizations archive their email over a period of time, thereby forcing businesses to invest in expensive storage area network (SAN) architectures. In addition, businesses need to monitor closely the rapidly evolving virus and spam threats, which are major causes of distraction from their core business focus.

Typically, a cloud model would accommodate a wide variety of applications and is not subject to the lowest common denominator principle that is applied in a physical environment. The basic tenet of the cloud services model is that customers have a greater choice in terms of the number and range of applications.

The market will be in a certain state of flux as large cloud-based email providers align their collaboration strategies. While the growing number of collaboration applications built around email will drive adoption in terms of sheer number of email boxes/seats, bundling will drive down the price per box when email is offered as part of a more comprehensive package.

The hosted enterprise email market is evolving continuously, with new competitors entering the market and business models undergoing transformation. While established hosted email providers are offering integration capabilities and tools to differentiate themselves in the market, email software vendors have launched cloud-compliant email and collaboration solutions. Pure cloud-based email providers are leveraging their low-cost delivery model to encourage migration from on-premise platforms.

Enterprises are already experimenting with hybrid email models to reduce email costs. As service providers and application vendors collaborate to integrate more applications, this hybrid model would work well even for large organizations.

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