There’s more to email than the Inbox, as CIOs know. As IT budgets remain static despite the growing economy CIOs are looking to extract more value from technology. As part of the latest CIO Debate SendMail, an email infrastructure specialist argues that by revising the corporate email infrastructure CIOs will see an overall improved RoI from email. Ian Emery, VP Sales EMEA spoke to CIO UK about his views on the future of email.

“Email is the life-blood of the company so CIOs are nervous to disturb it,” Emery says of his understanding of why CIOs take a cautious approach to email modernisation. Emery breaks email infrastructure into three distinct tiers: the outer tier he calls the hygiene layer or gateway security layer that includes the anti-spam and anti virus filters, the inner tier is the Groupware Mailstore layer with the Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes application that users interact with and thirdly the middle tier known as the E-mail backbone routing layer. “The third tier, we feel, is where you make cost savings.” Emery also believes that the routing tier is the one that it is most important for CIOs to have full control of. Cloud and outsourced applications are fine for anti spam and the inner tier.

“If you modernise the email infrastructure there will be savings at the datacentre as you can consolidate servers and make further savings,” he says. Emery admits that modernising the email infrastructure does not get the board excited, but he does believe that when presented as a series of savings, especially datacentre consolidation then the board does sit up and take notice as in recent years they have understood the savings that consolidation and virtualisation offer.

“CIOs are looking for cost savings, but I am not sure that the inner most piece of email is being questioned.” Emery says that some of the email outsourcing and cloud computing initiatives can  in-fact create costs that the organisation previously didn’t have. “There are a lot of application generated emails that are hard to outsource.”

Emery’s advice to CIOs is to include a review of the email infrastructure in an overall infrastructure review of the organisation that the CIO is undertaking.

“People do glaze over when you mention email infrastructure review, as it is not sexy. But the cost savings from a hardware refresh in the datacentre can be a big thing. Making it a board level issue as part of an architectural review puts the costs in front of the board.”

Emery is confident that an overall review of architecture and email infrastructure will reveal to CIOs and their C-level peers that they could generate a RoI from modernising their email infrastructure.

“The current economic climate means globally CIOs are looking closely at budgets and where they can make savings. We do believe that modernising the email infrastructure means you can make savings, in financial services there are major banks that have done a modernisation and achieved their RoI.”

Emery refutes the hype by some industry watchers that email is a technology of the past as Web 2.0 and collaboration technologies push it into the recesses of technology strategy.

“Email is proliferating, the bulk of enterprise communications is through email, and I don’t mean spam. Marketing prospectuses, corporate reports, statement delivery that is specific to each customer are all examples of its importance and growth.  Email is going to be around for a long long time.” He sees email as acting as the backbone to the increasing variety of communications and collaboration technologies enterprises are employing to meet their customers and employees needs.

Do you agree with the above sentiments?  CIO wants your views, please contact the editor Mark Chillingworth or add a message to this article or our LinkedIn community.

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What is the future of email?

CIO Debate part 1: What is the future of email?

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