Both Chris Miller and Eric Mack have written interesting blog entries in the last few days, talking about the overall investment required for a successful, reliable messaging and collaboration environment.  Each has an important point.
From Chris Miller, "Does your own company e-mail compete anymore?":

The whole point here is that too many 'enterprise' class systems do not spend the resources necessary to buy a decent spam software product, protect their mail gateways or offer redundancy.  Many even restrict users to tiny amounts of storage.  The main reason? Anyone?
Chris is making the excellent point that only proper and complete consideration of the value of a company's primary communication tool will bring about the best return on investment.  I remember meeting with an Exchange shop a couple of years ago where they were quite proud of their uptime...and also of the fact that they limited their users to 20 megabytes of mail each.  Sure, the system was reliable, but what value did it actually provide to the organization?  I still don't think that company has upgraded Exchange or switched to anything else yet.
From Eric Mack, "Lotus Notes -- How some companies sabotage their investment":
[M]any of the same organizations that had the vision and foresight to invest in Lotus Notes to help their people become productive, sabotage its potential productive benefits.  They do this, either by poor implementation, lack of training, or refusal to consider use or deploy custom templates.  Many organizations do not even train their people to use the built-in features of Lotus Notes effectively.  As a result, many people never venture beyond the obvious features, using Lotus Notes for little else than e-mail and calendar.
The good news is that this isn't the norm -- I don't often quote internal market research here, but Lotus has surveyed the installed base and found that about 70% do something "more than mail" with Lotus Notes.  But that 30% could stand to hire Eric for a day or two....
Bottom line -- and a point I've been making for years -- TCO and ROI are things that extend way beyond what you pay to a vendor like IBM (or anyone else) for a messaging environment.  Software acquisition is what keeps me gainfully employed, but Gartner and others say it's only 15-20% (or less) of the overall cost of running a messaging environment.  Be sure to focus on the total picture, and you'll see how quickly that system can be used for more than just basic e-mail delivery.

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