Making Sense of the Messaging and Collaboration Market

REDMOND, Wash. – Jan. 16, 2009 – Sorting out the players in the messaging and collaboration software market can be confusing as competing vendors vie for the right to claim a leadership position. So PressPass asked David Scult, general manager of field and partner in the Information Worker Division at Microsoft, to explain why he believes Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint solutions are gaining momentum over competitive offerings.

PressPass: What trends are you seeing in the messaging and collaboration marketplace?

Scult: The number of customers who are choosing Microsoft’s solutions for unified communications and collaboration is at an all-time high. More than 10 million users are making the switch from Lotus Notes and Domino to Exchange and SharePoint, including more than two million in the last six months alone. These include companies such as Alltech, Aviva, Blockbuster, Bombardier, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Eddie Bauer, Festo, Ingersoll Rand, Hennepin County Medical Center, Jones Lang LaSalle, Kroger, L’Occitane, Lowes, Ontario Government News Service, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Tropical Shipping, Union Bank of California and many others.

Partners are also seeing opportunity. The number of Lotus Notes migration solutions from Microsoft partners has doubled over the last year.

PressPass: This week, IBM claimed that Lotus Notes is taking market share from Microsoft. Is that happening?

Scult: IBM’s claims are not consistent with the market trends we – and a number of independent third-parties – are seeing. Just yesterday, Gartner refuted IBM’s claims in a Computerworld article titled “Au contraire: Exchange’s lead over Notes actually ‘getting bigger and bigger,’ says Gartner.”

And according to a Ferris Research survey of 917 organizations worldwide, Exchange has a 65 percent share of the messaging market, while Notes/Domino has a 10 percent share.

Ferris’s findings are consistent with Gartner’s lead e-mail analyst, Matt Cain, who publicly stated last year, “We forecast that Microsoft will get 70 percent of the commercial e-mail market by 2010.”

PressPass: Is it true that 50 percent of the Fortune 100 companies use Lotus Notes?

Scult: Lotus Notes was once in at least 67 percent of the Fortune 100 companies, so in that context, 50 percent now isn’t terribly impressive. But, yes, the figure is likely true. Because of the proprietary code in some Lotus Notes databases, some customers keep Lotus Notes around for these legacy applications, but they don’t use it as their primary messaging or collaboration applications. So, technically, these customers may be using both IBM and Microsoft platforms, but in reality 80 percent of most of the Fortune 100 have moved or are moving to Microsoft Exchange as their primary messaging application and SharePoint for their primary collaboration needs.

PressPass: Why do you think customers are switching to Microsoft’s solutions? 

Scult: I think customers find our solution compelling for two main reasons. First, cost concerns have never been higher in the business community, and we offer an integrated platform and that lowers the cost of maintenance. And we deliver a familiar, intuitive interface that can also reduce costs by simplifying user training and eliminating help desk calls that result from the Lotus Notes interface. In fact, some customers tell us they’re saving more than US$1 million per year because they switched from Lotus to Microsof solutions.

Secondly, in recent months we’ve seen increased interest due to the availability of Microsoft Online Services, which went live in November 2008. With SharePoint Online and Exchange Online, the pace of migration is accelerating because businesses can reduce costs anywhere from 10 to50 percent and move to the latest technologies. These savings come from refocusing IT staff on strategic initiatives and shifting capital expenses to a subscription basis

PressPass: Regarding Microsoft Online Services, what do customers have to look forward to with respect to cloud-based applications?

Scult: The growth of cloud-based computing is driving lots of exciting innovation in our industry. In addition to our offerings with Microsoft Online Services, we are already building and testing next-generation solutions. Earlier this week, we shared behind-the-scenes details on the next version of Exchange server, Exchange 14, which is designed from the outset for software-plus-services. Exchange 14 is currently being used as a service with more than 3.5 million people in educational institutions worldwide. Customers tell us they are looking for a unified communications and collaboration system – whether delivered in the cloud or on-premises — which is why we are delivering software plus services that build on a common technology foundation.

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