Technology Positioning Statement Report

3.1.1 Email (Messaging) Systems, Gateways, and Interfaces

Description: General-purpose enterprise-based electronic messaging systems.

Category: 3 - Communication Technologies   Subcategory: 1 - General Purpose Communication Technologies
Old Category: Infrastructure Services – E-Mail – Enterprise E-mail




Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Interoperability across multiple desktop and portable platforms; support for attachments; scheduling and calendar features; synchronization; ease of use.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Position: The desired goal of this category is "unified messaging". Most vendors define unified messaging as the combination of voice mail, fax, and e-mail in a single inbox or central repository. Unified communications includes those features, as well as enhanced real-time services, such as instant messaging and find me/follow me services that help users receive messages wherever they are, whatever device they're using. Current applications cannot support such capabilities.

Gartner estimates that e-mail usage will double each year in the short-term period and beyond, both in number and in size of messages. E-mail for the enterprise must support industry standards and provide an infrastructure for collaborative services including scheduling and workflow technologies. Gartner believes that more third-party workflow system development is occurring around Microsoft Exchange than around Lotus Domino/Notes and certainly more than around Novell GroupWise. Exchange’s client, Outlook, offers tight integration with Microsoft Office applications, and it provides a consistent user interface.

"Companies are now looking for a way to support their employees' messaging needs without disrupting the workflow. Vendors concede that IT managers are concerned about integration with current e-mail and voice systems, but point out that IT departments can avoid headaches by outsourcing unified communications to a service provider." -- Lisa Morgan, CMP TechWeb News, Mar. 1, 2001.

SC Usage: SC’s enterprise e-mail system is Microsoft Exchange 5.5/Outlook 2000. Other mail systems are no longer supported. Multiple access points allow users to view their e-mail, including the traditional desktop interface, applications-server access (also using the traditional interface), a Web-based interface, and a portable wireless device (RIM BlackBerry).

SC Application Impacts: E-mail is a major method of information-sharing at SC. All applications will consider e-mail directly or indirectly as an information-dissemination method. The current SC application development environment can utilize Microsoft Exchange as well as Microsoft Office modules that support Exchange. Exchange’s support of COM/DCOM interfaces is important to SC’s application architecture.

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