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Should Email Be Revamped?
Email is becoming an integral part of CRM solutions, collaboration suites, knowledge management solutions, and BI applications, forcing generic-email system vendors to develop flexible solutions.
Posted Feb 2, 2005
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As email steadily becomes a preferred method of business communication, end-user demands on it are becoming increasingly sophisticated, resulting in a maturing market. In fact, Frost & Sullivan reports that about three-fourths of an organization's knowledge and information are in its corporate email system. According to a study by the research firm, "An Insight Into the North American E-Mail Market," however, email system vendors will have to consider layering other applications atop of the basic email application infrastructure to generate new revenue. To uphold revenue, the study contends that vendors are increasingly working toward a collaborative solution that will swell revenue and help vendors stay afloat in the maturing market. "Vendors providing contact center suites are increasingly offering email management solutions integrated with the contact center solutions portfolio," says Krithi Rao, Frost & Sullivan research analyst. "Considering the mature state of the basic email market, email system vendors have to look toward providing value-added features in their solutions to garner additional revenue," for instance, providing solutions that are designed for contact centers. "They can then work toward partnerships with email management vendors to offer complete solutions to contact centers and capture some of the revenue in the email management market," Rao says. Yet the role of email in contact centers doesn't end with just being integrated into the solution, Rao says: "With the emphasis that is being placed on the concept of CRM and its applications, larger enterprises are looking to integrate contact center suites with CRM solutions. Email being used increasingly as a sales/support/marketing tool is the reason behind this integration." As the amount of incoming corporate email messages increases, security threats, including spam, sender-policy framework hacking, phishing, and viruses, and regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), are spurring vendors to craft solutions capable of ensuring email security, while complying with confidentiality guidelines. "Email application vendors have to invest in and deploy message encryption technologies that will prevent confidential information from leaving the organization via email," Rao says. This includes encryption methods, digital signatures, and sender authentication.
Increased security threats, Rao says, may spur SMBs to consider email as a managed service: "It becomes a constant burden on the IT department of the enterprise to constantly monitor the system and put appropriate filters in place. When this responsibility is transferred to a service provider, it allows the company to focus on the business process rather than the administration of the enterprise network." Many enterprises are opting for instant messaging to supplement and sometimes even replace email as their main e-communication tool, but the study suggests that security dangers surrounding instant messaging may be even stronger than those of email. "A certain amount of integration between IM and email has come about with email clients, including the capability to indicate if a user is online and providing the option to instant message the person. [But] certain issues that exist in the email world, such as spam, are also likely to plague the IM world," Rao says. "Spam in instant messaging, commonly known as spim, poses a far more serious threat than spam does, as it forces the user to look at the unwanted messages." Related articles: Is November (Unofficially) Email Marketing Month? E-Crime and Punishment How Can We Ensure That Spam Clutter Won't Damage Our Loyalty Program?
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