• United States

It’s better to have fewer e-mail systems

Mar 09, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Single e-mail system is ideal but unlikely for many organizations

To reduce messaging management costs, many organizations strive to reduce the number of e-mail systems they use.

In a recent survey, we found that among North American organizations that have at least 1,000 e-mail users, 40% have a single e-mail system, but within two years 55% of organizations plan to have a single e-mail system. Another 23% currently have two e-mail systems, and the same percentage plan to have two mail systems in two years. However, while another 21% of organizations have three e-mail systems in place, only 6% plan to have three e-mail systems within two years.

Managing multiple systems is typically more expensive than managing a single system, because an organization with multiple systems can’t realize the economies of scale that arise from having just one messaging infrastructure.

However, mergers and acquisitions often result in the integration of companies with different mail systems, and so there continues to be the creation of environments in which multiple mail systems are used. I believe it’s unlikely that 55% of large organizations will have a single mail system within two years, since the increasing robustness of the North American economy means that merger and acquisition will not wane anytime soon, resulting in the addition of e-mail systems in many organizations despite the best intentions of winnowing their number down.

The greatest need for the reduction of mail systems arises from companies with three separate systems, since the problems with messaging management can be much more serious in environments in which several different mail systems are in use.

We also found in the survey that, during the past 24 months, one out of every three organizations has gone through a messaging migration project. However, nearly two-thirds of the people involved in managing their organization’s messaging system admit that they know relatively little about messaging migration product and service providers.

This is not surprising given the nature of messaging migration as a one-time activity compared to ongoing management chores like spam control. Because migration is performed for only a relatively short period, much of the knowledge about vendors of migration products and services tends to evaporate from an organization with turnover, length of time since the migration project, and so forth.

If you’ve gone through a migration project, I’d like to get your thoughts on the problems that you’ve experienced migrating from one system to another. Please drop me a line at