The demise of email as a communication platform has been predicted for many years by evangelists hyping the newer, more social, collaboration solutions. The problem is that the number of people with either domestic or business email addresses just continues to grow and dwarfs the user base of solutions such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. Admittedly in these frenetic coronavirus times Teams and Slack have grown their user-base but figures from April 2020 indicate that there are still just 44 million Teams users.1 Slack reported 12M users last November.
In comparison, Radicati2 indicate that global email usage in 2019 was based on 3.9 billion active email addresses, with over 240 billion messages sent each day. By the end of 2020 there is forecast to be over 4B email accounts – a growth of over 100M over the year. In comparison total worldwide social media accounts are estimated at 3.5 Billion.
In the case of the collaboration apps there are two challenges to be faced. It is increasingly clear that users rather than IT departments are deciding which applications they want to use. Dropbox say that IT departments need to be open to more alternatives3. (That’s all very well but organisations have responsibilities to keep all their data organised and safe). The second challenge to collaboration that has been clearly manifested during the current crisis is the huge increase in the use of video-conferencing. There are many alternatives available but Zoom stands out as one company that has benefited (even though it has numerous security issues). Zoom is adding other features to the package and causing Microsoft issues when it reviews its video offerings.
It is clear that the collaboration market space is still undergoing significant change, but there is still room for email at the core. The end-user device also has to be considered, with over 50% of emails now read and processed on mobile devices. There are still good opportunities for Micro Focus GroupWise if it can co-exist with other partner apps in the collaboration mix.