Cloud becomes a serious contender for email services

The cloud is becoming increasingly used in place of traditional email platforms, an expert has said.

A new report published by Gartner has revealed that Google Gmail service is the new rival to Microsoft mail platforms and SaaS and cloud applications are fast becoming the email route of choice in companies with more than 5,000 seats.

In particular, the report revealed that Google's Gmail service now hosts nearly half the market for enterprise cloud email services.

Matthew Cain, research vice president at Gartner pointed out that this market is still new and doesn't yet comprise one twentieth of the entire sector, however, the market is expanding rapidly and is expected to make up 20 percent by the end of 2016 and over half the market by 2020.

Currently, concerns over cloud email centre around feature requests for those organisations with complex email requirements such as banks and financial insitutions and so far Google has allegedly been reluctant to introduce any such features unless it benefits a large number of its end users.

"Email is not a commodity, and cloud email is still maturing," said Cain. "We believe that, for most organisations, performing one more on-premises upgrade, which will take an organisation through 2014, is the most prudent approach." He added that a hybrid deployment model might be the most effective way to roll out the technology among early adopters.

However, while recent Gartner figures predict the SaaS revenue in Western Europe will hit the £1.7 billion mark by the end of the year, the benefits of Google's cloud email service is turning the enterprise email industry into a two-horse race:

"The intense competition between Microsoft and Google will make both vendors stronger and enable them to apply cloud expertise to other enterprise cloud endeavours," said Cain, "The rivalry will make it difficult for other suppliers to compete directly in the cloud email and collaboration space."

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8 Jul 2013, 3:43 p.m.

Quite often it's the third party plugins that hamper email migrations, it’s well worth doing an inventory off any client side applications that connect directly with Outlook, particularly document managements systems and email archiving if you’re considering changing your email platform. Many organisations are still reluctant to let those Exchange public folders go!