Google Gmail viable alternative in enterprise email market – Gartner

18 Sep 2011

Google’s enterprise Gmail is building momentum with commercial organisations, and it now presents a viable alternative to Microsoft Exchange Online and other cloud email services, according to Gartner, Inc.

Gmail has only been in the market for five years.

“The road to its enterprise enlightenment has been long and bumpy, but Gmail should now be considered a mainstream cloud email supplier,” said Matthew Cain, research vice-president at Gartner.

“While Gmail’s enterprise email market share currently hovers around 1pc, it has close to half of the market for enterprise cloud email. While cloud email is still in its infancy, at 3-4pc of the overall enterprise email market, we expect it to be a growth industry, reaching 20pc of the market by year-end 2016, and 55pc by year-end 2020.”

Cain said other than Microsoft Exchange, Google Gmail is the only email system that has prospered in the enterprise space over the past several years. Other enterprise email providers – Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino – have lost market momentum, Cisco closed its cloud email effort and VMware’s Zimbra is only now refocusing on the enterprise space.

Google’s enterprise journey is not over yet, however. The company tends to focus on capabilities that will have the broadest market uptake and large organisations with complex email requirements, such as financial institutions, report Google is resistant to feature requests that would be applicable to only a small segment of its customers. Banks, for example, may require surveillance capabilities Google is unlikely to build into Gmail given the limited appeal, Gartner said.