Zimbra Rocks

Zach made me take another look at Zimbra, the web-based, web 2.0-smart, very social and AJAXed up collaboration, email, and calendar suite (plus some other goodies).

Go ahead, watch the Flash-based demo or kick the tires with their hosted demo. I think you’ll agree that it looks better than anything else we’ve seen yet. Part of the success of the project is that the developers appear to understand the problem. Here’s the list of how broken email is from the white paper:

  • Email has changed dramatically since the advent of the World-wide Web
  • The number of messages per day is up by an order of magnitude or more
  • The amount of storage required for our mailboxes is up by two orders of magnitude or more
  • Email has grown from the original one-to-one communication model to also include one-to-many (as mailing lists have displaced bulletin boards)
  • Email applications are often responsible for managing calendars, group scheduling, contacts, tasks, public folders, and so on
  • Email applications also often manage shared documents (think “content management-lite”) and even ad hoc document-oriented workflow among users
  • Email applications are expected to trap ever more sophisticated and ever higher volumes of spam and viruses
  • Email platforms are growing into unified messaging platforms by incorporating support for fax, voicemail, and instant messaging (including integrated anti-spam and anti-virus)
  • Email applications are now also being asked to implement retention and discovery policies (such as for compliance with Sarbanes Oxley)

You can also call me a fan of these two lines:

[E]mail has changed sufficiently that we’re no longer quite sure what to call it: Enterprise messaging? Groupware? Collaboration?

Given the amount of time IT-intensive employees spend on email, it is ironic that innovation has reached consumer mail (e.g., gigabyte mailboxes for Google and Yahoo! users) ahead of enterprise mail!

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