The killing of IBM?s Lotus Notes by Microsoft Exchange has been greatly exaggerated, but the popularity of the Redmond giant?s messaging system will continue to grow.
By 2004, Exchange will handle 50 per cent of corporate mailboxes compared with 35 per cent looked after by Lotus Notes. Exchange is currently used by 35 per cent of companies compared to 25 per cent using Notes, according to Ferris Research.
David Ferris, the market research company?s president, said such statistics show that IS managers? concerns that Microsoft will eventually kill off Lotus Notes and monopolise the email world are unfounded.
"Many people are committed to Notes and are afraid that it will die because Microsoft says Exchange will wipe everyone out. It?s clear that this is not the case," he explained.
But Exchange will eventually have a larger user base than Notes because Microsoft is often viewed by organisations as a default solution, particularly when they begin to consolidate their email platforms. And some are already starting to deploy Exchange after initial pilot projects.
The survey, which was based on interviews with 230 large organisations across the world, also found that widespread use of ecommerce would be driven by the success of secure email systems.
Managers said they wanted to see digital signatures on messages and viewed encryption as a way to improve message security. Around 22 per cent of the organisations questioned said they would initiate secure email pilots this year.
Ferris said: "Just as phone systems were the stimulus for commerce, secure email will allow companies to speed up business cycles."
But firms should consider a number of issues when introducing pilot projects, he warned, including how to establish electronic credentials or identification and whether their existing virus checking systems would be able to penetrate encrypted email. They should also bear in mind that high levels of training were needed for staff to use such systems.
But the study also found that 45 per cent of IS managers planned a huge clean up of their multiple directories this year. Most favoured meta directories, which integrate many different directories, although Ferris warned that their synchronisation methods are not always efficient.
"The methods are crude and unreliable but the alternative - Ldap [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol] is not widely deployed yet. But meta directories are here to stay and their concept provides real value," he said.
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