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February 2006

February 28, 2006
Think Before You Send

Isn't it about time business organizations put some teeth behind their messaging policies? I mean e-mail has been a staple of business communication for a least a decade, and we still treat it with kid gloves. But the medium has become so ubiquitous and so darn easy that we don't stop to think before banging out a missive and tapping the send button.

For some reason, we can distance ourselves when communicating via electronic messaging. A thought pops into our heads, we send off a message. If we have to confront someone, e-mail keeps our exposure to a minimum. If we have a problem at work, we can easily go over someone's head, start rumors, or talk to the competition. If we have a simple question, why figure it out for ourselves when we can spam our co-workers and make them do the work? Why explain something when we can just include an attachment? And never mind that the attachment also includes sensitive information that may not be appropriate for everyone on the distribution.

A business-related phone conversation is still a more intimate interaction. It often requires more forethought to navigate the intermediaries, and more composure when speaking in real time. But e-mail has broken down all the boundaries, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has also apparently removed the need for forethought. You can Cc: the CEO on the most mundane questions, which creates a new and unnecessary stream of follow-ups. And e-mail makes it easy and compelling to over-delegate.

The problem is also manifesting itself in higher education. Professors routinely give out their e-mail addresses to students, and the result, according to a recent New York Times article, is that it has made them too approachable and hinders their productivity. In the article, , professors lament that e-mail has made them available around the clock and open to a barrage of questions, demands, complaints and critiques that border on inappropriate. If an issue is not important enough to meet with the professor during office hours, it can be communicated via e-mail. And students don't seem to understand that what they write in e-mails reflects on their judgment and can result in bad recommendations.

. . . Full Story: "Think Before You Send"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 24, 2006
E-mail Admins Play "Which Would You Rather"

To illustrate the challenges of managing e-mail, took a humorous route in its survey of more than 100 IT pros, sponsored by Zenprise, with a series of "which would you rather" questions.

I guess this group of administrators has it pretty tough. The survey focused on a single support ill; they were asked to rate the level of difficulty in determining the underlying cause of e-mail problems. The Survey revealed that:

  • 80 percent of e-mail administrators found determining the underlying cause of e-mail problems is as painful or more painful than shopping with their significant other. (Now, come on, not all e-mail admins are male)
  • More than 72 percent found sitting in traffic is as painful as or more painful than finding the underlying cause of e-mail issues. (Depends on where you're sitting. At least the LA freeways are interesting to watch)
  • 70 percent thought waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles is as painful as or more painful than finding the underlying cause of e-mail issues. (I just don't buy that. I'd gladly take a month on the help desk over an hour at the DMV. Those people are scary)
  • Only 39 percent revealed that a colonoscopy is as painful as or more painful than finding the underlying cause of e-mail issues. (That proves it. These folks do lead tough lives and they've been doing it for awhile if 39 percent of them have had colonoscopies)
  • More than 60 percent concurred that visiting the dentist is as painful as or more painful than finding the underlying cause of e-mail issues. (That's an old one, and only proves one thing: the dentist chair has become a lot less painful in recent years)
. . . Full Story: "E-mail Admins Play "Which Would You Rather""

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 06:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 24, 2006
Hip And Cool Means Growth, And More Security Concerns

A little while back I blogged about how messaging technologies have become "cool" and are enjoying "hip" status among those that define "hip" standards for our society, the youth and young adult markets. Well, I'm thinking the vendor and service provider communities are finding this all pretty cool, as well. , in a series of recent reports, projects some pretty heady growth for messaging-related products and it's not all coming from messaging security.

For instance, the e-mail client installed base will increase, according to the market watcher, from about 1.9 billion seats in 2006 to nearly 3.6 billion seats in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of 18 percent. Now, Radicati didn't say how many of those mail clients will be desktop clients and how many will be mobile, but based on the hip, trend-setting youth and young adult thumb-typing set, I would assume a growing percentage of that installed base becomes more mobile.

And how important is this group? Radicati reports that people under the age of 29 will account for 44 percent of worldwide e-mail users in 2006. And worldwide, the importance of the North America market begins to decrease as messaging technologies take hold in Asia/Pacific and the rest of the world. North America currently accounts for 22 percent of the global e-mail user population, according to Radicati, which projects that percentage to decrease to 18 percent by 2009.

. . . Full Story: "Hip And Cool Means Growth, And More Security Concerns"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 21, 2006
Presence Meets Collaboration On The Conferencing Front

The integration of collaboration and presence technologies continues to fascinate me for two reasons. First, because it all makes so darn much sense. I mean you can work with a virtual room full of people from your PC in Timbuktu or down the hall. Presence capabilities take the remoteness out of remote collaboration.

And the other reason it's fascinating is because the enabling technology is all available, but it requires vendors and service providers to work together to integrate and provision it, so it's been slow to happen.

So when the key players start playing together, it starts to get very interesting. That's what happened this week when and teamed up to offer a version of the AIM client with the WebEx collaboration and conferencing tools built in.

The intent is to deliver the AIM Pro version of the instant messaging client for business users in a hosted fashion with the full WebEx collaboration suite available from the AIM interface, according to Brian Curry, AOL's vice president of Premium and Subscription Services.

That means business users can use their IM client to initiate online conferencing, calendar sharing, desktop sharing, audio and video conferencing, multimedia presentations, webinars, online training, remote support, etc., in a addition to the instant messaging features of AIM.

The other piece of good news is that AIM Pro users will have access to all the participating IM federation networks that AOL works with, including IBM/Lotus users, so your base of collaboration contacts is larger than the AIM universe.

. . . Full Story: "Presence Meets Collaboration On The Conferencing Front"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 06:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 10, 2006
Pay-For-Play Plan To Reduce Spam Doesn't Ring True

Anything that ISPs can do to prevent spam from reaching my inbox is usually just fine by me, except when it bars the door on messages that I was supposed to get. But the recent news that AOL and Yahoo plan to charge bulk e-mail senders for "guaranteed delivery" sort of misses for me.

One gets the feeling that we'll be seeing just as much or more spam and the fact that someone is chipping in a little more to get it sent doesn't lessen the annoyance.

The service, The service, which would be provided through Goodmail Systems, is said to certify the e-mail as coming from the actual retailer or marketer it purports to come. And for its part, Goodmail says the recipients must agree that they wish to receive e-mail from the sender. So in that sense, it's not just opening the floodgates. But hey, you still have to get the e-mail to opt in or out.

. . . Full Story: "Pay-For-Play Plan To Reduce Spam Doesn't Ring True"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 08:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 08, 2006
On Campus: Combining Social Networking and Social Media

College students have long been amenable users of any technology that allows them to communicate about common interests and now they can combine the best of all the social networking sites and the available social media on one site.

The new service, from Los Angeles-based Uspot, allows college students to create, share and communicate in one location and through common interests such as entertainment, social events and hobbies.

Uspot claims to unite two of the hottest on-line segments today, social networking and social media. It is the first site to offer the unique blend of social networking and rich media sharing technologies. Unlike typical social networking sites that focus on meeting people nationwide, often strangers, The Uspot connects people with common interests and allows them to explore those interests together, according to company officials.

The difference, I guess, is that the focus is not so much on meeting or, in some cases, dating other people, but rather in finding out how deep those common interests go. The site doesn't feel like a dating service, and it isn't.

. . . Full Story: "On Campus: Combining Social Networking and Social Media"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 03, 2006
Working In Unreal-Time

There's no getting around the fact that the current generation of knowledge workers is overworked. The messaging technologies that promised to make our lives easier have, instead, made us more efficient and elevated performance expectations. We are now able juggle more balls at once and require less support personnel to accomplish bigger projects in less time.

And we're working harder than ever.

David Ferris of Ferris Research recently wrote down his thoughts in the on why this is the case. He observes that all of the stages in the work processes before messaging technologies took hold are now compressed or eliminated. Often times, there were breaks between the various stages, hand-offs that allowed natural breathers or downtime. Documents were dictated and prepared, sent somewhere and sent back again. It all took days and weeks.

. . . Full Story: "Working In Unreal-Time"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

February 01, 2006
Who You Gonna Call?

Will IT managers throw up there hands trying to manage multiple messaging environments from multiple vendors while trying to prevent malware attacks and meet compliance requirements? And by throw up
their hands I mean hand the whole mess over to a service provider.

That seems to be what is hinting at in its annual Message Management & Threat Report, which was released earlier this week.

In the survey-based report the message management provider said 2005 was a "saturation point" for IT managers. I can
certainly believe it. Combating the constant e-mail and IM threats alone was reason to call in reinforcements. But throw in archiving, disaster recovery, backup, VoIP management and other responsibilities and messaging became a major time sink for IT last year.

. . . Full Story: "Who You Gonna Call?"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments


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