The battle for enterprise Cloud email accounts could heat up in the future, according to analyst firm Gartner, with Google's Gmail offering grabbing 50 per cent share of the global market.
Currently, Cloud email has a 4 per cent share of the overall enterprise email market but a new report entitled Google Gmail emerges as a significant threat to Microsoft in the enterprise predicts that this share will reaching 20 per cent of the market by 2016, and 55 per cent in 2020.
Gartner US research vice president, Matthew Cain, said in a statement that while Gmail's enterprise email market share was only 1 per cent, it had close to half of the market for enterprise Cloud email.
“Other than Microsoft Exchange, Google Gmail is the only email system that has prospered in the enterprise market over the past several years,” he said.
According to Cain, rival enterprise email offerings Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino have lost market share, while Cisco has closed its Cloud email service and VMware's Zimbra was refocusing on the enterprise space.
However, Gmail could face adoption problems from companies with complex email requirements. “Financial institutions report that Google is resistant to feature requests that would be applicable to only a small segment of its customers," Cain said. "Banks, for example, may require surveillance capabilities that Google is unlikely to build into Gmail given the limited appeal.”
He also claimed that Google was good at taking direction and input on front-end features, but was more resistant to the back-end feature requests that are important to larger enterprises.
“Large system integrators and enterprises report that Google's lack of transparency in areas such as continuity, security and compliance can thwart deeper relationships,” he said.
“Gartner believes that, for most organisations, performing one more on-premises upgrade, which will take an organisation through 2014, is the most prudent approach,” he said. A good approach for Cloud email adoption was via a hybrid deployment, where some mailboxes were stored in the Cloud and some kept on premise.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.