Malta: What The Future Brings For Emails In SMBs

Last Updated: 8 August 2016
Most Read Contributor in Malta, January 2017

By Casper Manes.

Many modern-day business prophets have predicted the demise of email in companies, but it's still here, alive and kicking. What will the future bring for this channel of business communication?

I don't have a crystal ball, I don't listen to the wind, and I don't have an email from a future telling me what to expect, which is a shame, especially given the subject for this post. But I do have a long track record in the IT field, in email technologies specifically, and I've worked with a ton of both SMBs and Enterprises, so I may have a clue or two when it comes to the future of email for the SMB. And that's a question that probably has quite a few people up late at night in both Redmond and Mountain View, since that's a huge market potentially untapped. Here's what I think is going to happen.

Emails become the New Normal (again?)

First and foremost, email will move forward to become the norm for communications between customers and companies. Sure, it's impersonal and often inefficient, but it's a whole lot faster to get started working with a business if you can send a quick email and let them get back to you, rather than sitting on hold being told for the 19th time that your call is very important to them, or simply constantly getting someone's voicemail and never getting a callback. Some, if not all, service providers will move to mail-enabled web forms for customers to use as the initial point of contact, and then proceed from there. Status updates, confirmations, clarifications... all will eventually move to email, with the venerated phone call being reserved for really bad things, or when email just seems to not get through.

Also, as more and more customers start to see email as the normal communications channel, they will come to expect business emails to come from business domains. Instead of ExampleCarpentry@aol.com they will expect to see user@examplecarpentry.com or some other branded domain. With the growing number of TLDs available, including those targeting various business segments, anyone should be able to obtain a domain whose name is in alignment with their business. If you are not using a domain name with your email already, you need to start now.

Utility computing

You walk into a room and flip a light switch. You expect the lights to come on. Same goes when you turn on a spigot – you expect water to come out. Utilities have been around for longer than anyone reading this has been alive, and they simply work. Utility computing takes the same expectations for IT, and email has been around in the workplace long enough that people simply expect it to work. You open Outlook or Gmail, you read your email, you write a new one and hit send, and it gets to the recipient. No muss, no fuss, it just works.

While many of the major enterprises can say that's exactly how their email works, many SMBs cannot, as they often suffer from outages, capacity issues, block lists, and more that break this mission-critical service that should "just work." While larger enterprises can invest more people, time, compute resources, and money into building a highly-available, fully redundant, and top performing email solution, SMBs simply won't have the budget to compete.

And that is where the cloud will come in. Just as industries used to build their own power stations (some still do in California and elsewhere!) but others started to use utility companies, SMBs will stop building their own messaging infrastructure and start to subscribe to services from Microsoft, Google, and others. Whether it is to take advantage of comparatively small per user costs, to obtain capacities that could not be equaled in-house (like 50GB mailboxes for all) or to ensure that email really does just work by taking advantage of 99.9% uptime SLAs, the days where SMBs deploy their own email infrastructure are coming to an end. Microsoft has Office 365, Google has Google Apps for Work, and other hosting companies are getting into the business as well.

The race to free

For many SMBs, this just makes sense. Consider it yourself: does it make sense to pay your IT team to manage email and to invest and maintain complex email infrastructure? Just keep in mind, this includes provisioning sufficient storage and purchasing the features that your users need and want, and also deploying it in two or more datacenters to ensure you have geo-redundancy and disaster recovery. Or does it make sense to pay a few dollars per user, per month, to consume the full set of features offered by a provider. Much of your IT infrastructure is unique to you, but sending and receiving email and providing services to computers and smartphones is nowadays pretty straightforward, and should be the same whether you work in healthcare or car sales.

And that has not been lost on the likes of Microsoft or Google. Neither are going to provide enterprise-class email services to customers for free. Neither should. They are both businesses, not charities. But they will continue to provide customers with more, for less, and will continue to expand on what they do offer for free. Whether that is onboarding, or support, or data migrations, or new features, both companies see the SMB market as a huge opportunity where the chances for expanding earnings come into play only once the customer is on the service and using it. So both will be interested in doing anything they can to help get your business onto the service as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Doing more, for less

Similar to the race to free, both Microsoft and Google continue to expand their catalogue of services as well as their capacities, while reducing the per user costs to customers. And this is exactly where SMBs will see the most benefit. Not only will they be able to provide their users with features, capabilities, and capacities that would otherwise be completely out of reach, they will likely be able to negotiate with their chosen provider for at least a steady, if not a reduced, cost at each renewal interval. As email continues to be a utility computing solution, the ease of moving from one provider to another will improve, making it less challenging for dissatisfied customers to switch providers, which in turn will incent providers to ensure customers remain happy.

Think back to the early days of cell-phone service. Your provider owned your number, and no matter how unhappy you were, you would likely stay with them to keep the same number. Today, you can take your number with you, and some providers will even pay out your contract to switch. Since your data is always yours, as are your domain names, it's not quite the same, but if you are on a legacy platform, you can probably get help to move to cloud provider at little to no charge, and once on, they have to keep you happy or you can just move again. Yes, data migrations take time, but it's still possible so they really do want to keep you happy to keep your business.

Where do you go from here?

Why, to the cloud of course! Start looking at the offerings from both Microsoft and Google, as well as any other hosted providers you have in your area or market, and see if it makes sense to move forward to an evaluation or a pilot. And don't be afraid to mention to one that you are also evaluating the other, as that will open up all sort of special offers and considerations for you. Define what you need to have, what you want to have, and what you don't care about, and then listen to the service provider on how they would recommend you to proceed. While they may not know your business intimately, they do know what their thousands of other customers have gone through and what works and doesn't work in their environment.

The future of email will likely see a consolidation on a few service providers offering utility-like services to customers on a subscription model. SMBs can win big by both saving money and expanding the services and solutions they can offer their users by taking advantage of service providers and utility computing.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.