Gartner predicts surge in software-as-a-service email

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Gartner predicts surge in software-as-a-service email

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) market for email will grow strongly in the next three years, creating opportunities for third-party application providers, according to figures from Gartner released today.

The SaaS email market represented one per cent of the commercial email market in 2007, but is set to grow to 20 per cent by 2012, the analyst firm predicted.

Gartner's E-Mail SaaS Threatens Third-Party Vendors report warned that traditional third-party product vendors will suffer in four key areas.

Applications core to the running of on-premise email, such as disaster recovery, and spam and virus filtering tools, will be significantly affected by the move to SaaS email solutions, as will applications that extend the email platform, such as encryption and archiving.

Client-side applications, meanwhile, may not be affected initially, but are likely to decline as the prevalent storage model moves from client to server side, and users access emails via a browser rather than a client.

However, demand for apps such as email management and migration tools for moving from on-premise to SaaS systems is likely to rise as firms look to move to the web-based model or manage hybrid environments, according to the report.

"To a certain extent, this winnowing of opportunities for third parties in the email market has been under way ever since Microsoft's Exchange 2007 incorporated features such as virus and spam blocking, voicemail and disaster recovery, which had previously been addressed only by third parties," said Gartner research vice president Matt Cain.

"In many ways, email is the 'litmus test' for the SaaS model, disrupting a pre-existing set of on-premises related businesses. We can expect similar third-party dynamics to occur in adjacent collaboration spaces, such as instant messaging and virtual workspaces."

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