Microsoft, Google dominate nascent cloud e-mail market

February 3rd, 2016 | by Aaron Tan
Microsoft, Google dominate nascent cloud e-mail market

Many large organisations continue to shun cloud e-mail services, preferring to host their email systems in-house or in private clouds, usually out of security concerns.

In a survey by Gartner, a technology research firm, 87 per cent of public companies have on-premise, hybrid, hosted or private cloud e-mail managed by smaller vendors while the remaining 13 percent are using cloud email services from Microsoft and Google.

These findings were compiled from an automated examination of public e-mail routing records, where Gartner used e-mail server addresses in the domain records of nearly 40,000 public companies globally, to find out which ones point to cloud e-mail services from Google or Microsoft.

According to Gartner, 8.5 percent of public companies in the sample use cloud e-mail from Microsoft’s Office 365, while 4.7 percent use Google Apps for Work.

Nikos Drakos, research vice president at Gartner, noted that while it is still early days for cloud e-mail adoption, both Microsoft and Google have achieved significant traction among enterprises of different sizes, industries and geographies.

“Companies considering cloud e-mail should question assumptions that public cloud e-mail is not appropriate in their region, size or industry. Our findings suggest that many varied organisations are already using cloud e-mail, and the number is growing rapidly,” he added.

Microsoft’s cloud e-mail is ahead in regulated industries including utilities, energy and aerospace, while Google is more popular among industries with more competition and less regulation like retail, advertising, media, food and beverage, and travel.

Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, said among public companies using cloud-based e-mail, 80 per cent of firms with revenue above US$10 billion are in Microsoft’s camp.

Google, on the other hand, is more popular among smaller companies, approaching a 50 per cent share of companies with revenues less than US$50 million.

In Singapore, labour movement National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) made the switch to Office 365 in 2013, completing its two-year journey to the cloud that begun with using Amazon Web Services to power its mobile app.

“These days, most CIOs (chief information officers) are quite comfortable with moving to cloud e-mail systems,” said Ms Kwong Yuk Wah, CIO at NTUC, during the Fujitsu Asia Conference last week. “But some may argue against it because e-mail is a core business for any IT department.”

“My argument is that because e-mail is a critical IT service, the bosses will call you whenever the systems are down. So, if someone can do it better than us with economies of scale, we should just buy the service,” she said.

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