Email as a trendsetter?

As we look at the current technologies that are developing, how do you know what the next trend will be?  You don’t have to look much farther than your email.  Email is not cutting edge, or flashy but it certainly has become the leading indicator of where IT is going.  Social media has supplanted Email for immediacy but Email continues to be at the core of any business because it is anecdotal and provides a timeline for ideas and decisions in many organizations.

Depending on your age and experience, you may look at this timeline from a different perspective. Back in the early days of IT, PCs and Macs only satisfied the personal needs of its user.  In order to provide some level of interaction with other PC and Mac users Email was designed as the primary method of communication.  Email to IT is like Morse Code is to the Telephone for the first 100 years of its existence.  The Telegraph using Morse code, and later a proprietary signaling method, did not become completely eliminated until February 2006, when the Telephone was ubiquitous.  My view is that Email will not be supplanted until Social Media is the primary method of communication for technology users of all ages.

When business became based on the personal computer, email developed into the “Gotta Have It” application.  It drove IT, and was required for business to effectively communicate across offices and time zones.  When the Internet developed into commercial usage in the 1990s, many of us used Email as the first application sending packets over the Internet to a remote server somewhere in the cloud.  When Windows became the defacto business desktop OS, we all clamored for a Windows Mail program, and Outlook survives to this day with Exchange Server.  When the cell phone developed into a PDA what was the first application that generated the most growth for Wireless Service Providers and devices such as Blackberry, iPhone, and Android…of course it was Email on your phone.

In today’s environment Email has become the most adopted cloud based application, whether you are using Gmail, Yahoo, or subscribe to a hosted business solution such as Office365 or Google Docs.  Email is the first thing we let go to the cloud.

So what comes next?  Let history show you…Think of the next most important app used after Email at each point of your timeline, is it ERP, CRM, Desktop Productivity, or the Desktop OS itself?  That answer will be the next service you will move to the cloud.

Paul R. Cook
Paul R. Cook
Vice President, Network Services Group



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