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Certain messaging technologies still offer competitive advantage

Jan 03, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* E-mail no longer offers competitive advantage, but other technologies do

The story of technology is one of competitive advantage that eventually becomes competitive disadvantage.

For example, the first business to implement electricity had a distinct competitive advantage relative to the other businesses with which it competed. However, after electricity became universally deployed, the only impact that it could have on an organization was a competitive disadvantage if there was a blackout, for example.

As we enter 2006, we’re in a similar position with key messaging technologies. For example, e-mail no longer provides an organization with any sort of competitive advantage – e-mail is virtually universal, and so having it provides no sort of advantage. Only when e-mail goes down does it have any real impact from a competitive standpoint.

That said, there are some key messaging technologies that still provide an organization with competitive advantage. Instant messaging (IM), for example, is not widely used for customer or technical support. Organizations that do use it for supporting their customers can offer something their competitors cannot – and they can also reduce their cost of support.

Organizations that utilize Web conferencing or Web-based meeting technologies can reduce their costs of employee travel and make decisions more quickly by allowing employees to schedule online meetings instead of face-to-face visits. VoIP allows organizations to integrate voice with other forms of messaging technology, making their employees more efficient. Organizations that use archiving technologies can make their employees more efficient and provide with a vast quantity of corporate knowledge.

In short, there are still key areas within messaging that provide true competitive advantage simply because most organizations are not fully utilizing all of the technologies they have available to them. The windows for each of these technologies will vary, but generally there will be a window of anywhere from 18 to 36 months in which organizations can gain a leg up on their competition. Figuring out how best to use these opportunities must be a key focus for messaging managers and others as we move forward into 2006.