Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Findings #1 - Messaging in the Enterprise

I love Visio. I do and have since it came out in 1993.

Sure some competitors are out there but with over 15 years of Visio charts I am embedded to them, probably forever.

Similarly many customers feel the same way about their email servers, although rarely the same when it comes to application servers.

Why is that?

Could it be because applications change as business changes?

Maybe email, like a telephone, can be a commodity while applications, usually, are not.

Perhaps the uniqueness of something new or different provides some answers.

Email, for better or worse, hasn't changed in the 20 years I have been working with it. Sure it has come along way from dumb terminals and green monitors (or has it if you see the latest touch screens and browsers?) and this is usually why one sticks with the original one you installed.

Now compare that to your telephone/cell phone provider and how people change vendors every few years. The ease of change is relatively easy as long as your phone number is portable all is good.

Not so easy with email.

Your email address and naming stays the same of course, but changing 10/100/1,000 or 10,000 people is NOT an easy undertaking. So many pieces of the puzzle can be involved from calendar appointments, mobile device reconfigurations, personal contacts, archiving and many other issues can arise.

Almost as bad as changing bank accounts. Just a big pain in the ...

Is it any wonder when an organization doesn't leave their software, it's just so much better to stay where you are. Pay the renewal and maintenance fees and keep that email flowing, even if 85% of it is SPAM.

Now imagine if you could expand that email inbox so it could not only handle your email but your instant messaging discussions, online meeting events, applicational workflow, authorization notices, travel plans, detail awareness within your emails to provide background information on a client or location or their Linkedin details?

Changing email servers should never be about getting email for giving up email. Doing this, is a blatant disregard of your company standards, policies, financial guidelines and line of business decisions.

I can trade in my car for another car, but if that new car doesn't lower my payments or get better gas mileage or sit a family of 5 comfortably or doesn't have a convertible top or some other way to make a difference(unless my car was totaled) then why have I bothered?

So if you are looking, or your customers are, at a new email server you should point out to them the truth which is email is just a transport mechanism. What do they/you want to transport through the system is more important and how that information is accessed and stored is even more important.