Another vendor, IBM, noted that certain innovations for the e-mail client may not be beneficial to end-users.
Christopher Blake, Asean collaboration executive at IBM's software group, said the use of e-mail had evolved beyond its original intention as a communication tool but in some cases, the tool is utilized inappropriately as a collaboration and document-sharing platform.
"E-mail remains a very effective communication tool, but IBM believes using e-mail for document collaboration is actually ineffective," Blake said. "Time is wasted through increasing the number of e-mail sent and received, and critical data is locked and siloed within people's inboxes. These, in turn, inhibit others from having access to necessary or relevant corporate knowledge and information."
Big Blue illustrated its vision for the e-mail client when it released IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9 in March this year. Its key feature is the centralized file-sharing and collaboration capabilities, whereby users can see the list of all files available to them from the client.
"These files are not stored within the e-mail system, nor are they buried within mails in a person's inbox, or on the desktop. Instead, they are centrally stored and managed on the social intranet function provided by IBM Connection Files," Blake explained. "No other enterprise e-mail vendor provides a single central listing of all available files from within the inbox."
This feature will likely prove useful in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, where the mobile workforce is influencing the way businesses operate by moving beyond e-mail and calendaring to "social business collaboration", he added.
Data security increasingly critical
Beyond the social and mobility innovations, Gartner's Song said an emerging feature for e-mail clients is the ability to containerize, or separate, work mail from personal ones. "All the leading mobile device management vendors such as Airwatch, Mobile Iron, Good Technology and Citrix, are now shipping containerization as a feature," he noted.
Blake agreed, and pointed out IBM Notes Traveler provides the same control over sensitive business data while adhering to important, centrally defined and managed corporate security policies such as encryption and access control.