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Commentary

The Hard Sell's Coming For SaaS E-Mail

Microsoft CIO Tony Scott fires the opening shot in our cover story this week: In five years, CIOs will be asking why anyone would run their own e-mail.
Microsoft CIO Tony Scott fires the opening shot in our cover story this week: In five years, CIOs will be asking why anyone would run their own e-mail.We're a far cry from that today, but our cover story takes on the growth of software-as-a-service e-mail, and explores the reasons why CIOs are getting increasingly comfortable handing their e-mail to cloud vendors. Vendors see a land grab coming. When a company considers switching from on premises to the cloud, it's sure to consider new vendors, and Microsoft, Google, IBM, Cisco, and others all want in. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says we're into "hockey stick" growth for cloud-based software like e-mail. The hard sell's coming.

Writes InformationWeek's Andrew Conry-Murray:


What's the draw of SaaS? First, companies can get substantial cost savings, as SaaS's multitenant architecture allows for economies of scale. Second, companies don't have to sacrifice features or availability to get those savings. Third, IT departments can employ fewer people by handing over time-consuming and costly maintenance to a provider, and they can focus some of those people on more strategic tasks. Fourth, some companies find that SaaS e-mail makes it easier to give employees the mobile access they're demanding, such as from home PCs.

The right answer for a CIO might be "no" to SaaS e-mail--due to factors from legal and compliance concerns to insufficient cost savings, given the change and risk involved. Our cover story explores the good and bad, but concludes no one can afford to dismiss it outright. And if they do start shopping, we include a buyer's guide comparing SaaS e-mail vendors as part of our cover package.

Our issue this week also includes a look at what lies beyond e-mail, when we start linking messaging to enterprise apps in smarter ways. It includes insights into managing Windows 7 rollouts, reasons CIOs want to use fewer business intelligence vendors, and Rob Preston's case for Microsoft as an underrated innovator.

See links below, or download a free PDF of the issue.