Social networking to eclipse business email?

Gartner believes social networking could challenge email for enterprise communications.

Social networking

Social networking will become the number one choice of communication within a business for a growing number of companies.

This is the conclusion of analyst firm Gartner, which claims 20 per cent of businesses will use social networking as their method of choice for workplace communications, by 2014.

Wireless email defined by Gartner as accounts on email servers accessible through mobile networks on mobile devices, either through an application or web browser has seen a surge recently. Gartner thinks the number of people using email in this way will break the one billion mark in the next four years.

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However, the analyst firm believes email will continue to integrate with social networking and it is only a matter of time before the latter becomes the dominant communications tool.

"Productivity gains with wireless email are driving adoption beyond executives," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner.

"In 2010, enterprise wireless email is still a priority for organisations, whose mobile workforces are up to 40 per cent of the total employee base."

"[But] people increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration [and] to share content, information, and experiences with their communities," she added.

"Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles."

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Gartner also claimed cloud email offerings from the likes of Google and Microsoft would see a 10 per cent rise in adoption over the next two years.

"Thanks to ease of access, the cloud will generate indirect competition in the wireless email software market and will transform it in the long term," said Basso.

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"Cloud email offerings from software and service players, such as Google's Gmail, will begin to be adopted, pulling wireless e-mail implementations into the cloud as well."

She concluded that vendors of wireless email, such as Research in Motion (RIM), will begin to form partnerships with cloud providers to offer these types of services but in a more standardised and cost effective format.

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