Enterprise Mobility & the Connected Worker Blog

Revamping the Enterprise Inbox

by Eric Klein | 02/13/2015

Email, which has long been an established piece of enterprise productivity and at the tail-end of innovation, has received a considerable makeover in recent months. An increasingly mobilized workforce in recent years has meant that the majority of emails are now read first on a mobile device. The result is a palpable trend in the market to revamp email where ease of use and productivity is maintained in a cross-platform and touch-centric format. Many of these innovations include more seamless calendar integration, improved triage, search, and archiving functions, as well as enhanced communication tools that integrate chat and voice that are particularly well-suited to mobile platforms like the smartphone.

Major players, including Google, IBM, and Microsoft have worked to further integrate email into their mobile offerings and acquiring firms to help bolster their position. Recent acquisitions by Microsoft and HP of Accompli and Voltage respectively, as well as the emergence of companies like Mailpile, ProtonMail and Nacho Cove lend credence to this trend towards a more mobile-first experience for enterprise email. Even companies that have traditionally focused on consumer markets are throwing their hat into the ring: last month, Amazon announced its own email service, WorkMail, to be powered by the increasingly popular Amazon Web Service. Thomas Döhler, General Manager of the WorkMail team, notes that enterprise is at the point where email is now part of the business process. Rather than a simple communication tool, it has become an integral part of general business processes and a receptacle where critical business information is stored and controlled. Email, without question, is the most ubiquitous means of enterprise communication, despite the recent rise in popularity of social collaboration and texting. While newer iterations will look to integrate these social features into the mix to enhance productivity, email will remain the primary means of enterprise communication for the foreseeable future.

It is worth noting, however, that this is not the first time that email has undergone a significant revamp. Over the years, numerous companies have tried to reinvigorate email, but failed to fundamentally alter the nature of the inbox. However, the growing importance of mobile platforms in business has meant that mobility has forced a willingness to change among companies in how they treat email. The result has been a rethinking in how email is accessed and integrated into a cross-application and cross-platform ecosystem. 2015 will mark a watershed year in which there is a growing willingness to change how companies treat email and could see a fundamental change to the nature of the inbox if the challenges surrounding privacy and security can be sufficiently addressed.

VDC will be taking a closer look at the challenges faced in this month’s VDC View. Stay tuned for more information.

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