While everybody complains about getting too much email, it's IT that really feels the pain.
IT must manage a huge volume of messages, compliance, and security issues, risks arising from users accessing corporate email on personal devices, and international routing problems, Jiraj Jetly, CIO at Edenred USA, the US division of a global developer of employee benefits and incentive solutions, told Computerworld.
And bring-your-own-device is also a problem. If an organization needs encrypted email but also supports BYOD, supporting access to corporate email on personal devices is tough. And if a user loses a personal device, liability is uncertain.
Another problem comes from users turning to external email, such as Yahoo Mail and Gmail, to circumvent corporate storage limits.
"They don't have bad intentions. They want to know why they're limited to 500 megabytes when Gmail is unlimited. It's because the more space you have, the more time backup takes, the more complicated disaster recovery is. We have to constantly communicate our policies," Pete Kardiasmenos, a systems architect at New York insurance company SBLI USA, told Computerworld.
Users keep files in their inbox to have them handy, and forward the same file back and forth as an attachment, with each copy needing storage.
Managing passwords and Outlook .pst backup files is a problem for Phil Bertolini, CIO of Michigan's Oakland County. One user had thousands of emails dating back to 2001, some dealing with trivialities like lunch meetings. All of that email needs to be managed. And uptime is a huge problem.
And email is around for the long term. Sure, young people don't use it as much. Digital market research company comScore found use of web-based email dropped 31 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds and 34 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds between December 2010 and December 2011, according to Computerworld. Consumer email usage is also expected to decline.
But enterprise email use is going up -- 13 percent every year between now and 2016.
For all its problems, email is an efficient communications tool, operating securely in near real time, on a one-to-one or one-to-few basis, Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz told Computerworld. And I'd add that it's also great at one-to-many communication; its still a killer marketing channel. It's ubiquitous; everybody has an email address. And it creates an audit trail.
Of course, there are alternate communications channels: Yammer, Chatter, and corporate message boards. But the problem with those is that they don't replace email; they add to it. They become one more inbox that users have to check, and one more system that IT has to maintain. And these systems often don't even replace email; they increase the load, sending update notices to users through email.
The benefits of email for business outweigh the costs. Email isn't going anywhere.
Email & Search Still Rule for Marketing Effectiveness
Petraeus's Downfall Reminds That Email Lasts Forever
Try This Cheap, Easy (& Surprising) Email Marketing Trick
— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution