Page 1

6 out of 10 mid-market firms are investing in upgrading their
business email servers, favoring on –premise deployments due
to regulatory concerns

Making Business Communication More Productive:
The Impact of Better Collaboration in the Mid-Market

An AMI-Partners Business Benchmarking White Paper

Sponsored by: HP

Autumn Watters
Ryan Brock

April 2014

In an increasingly global and hyper-connected business environment, mid-market firms are
recognizing the critical importance of deploying effective communications and collaboration
technology. Many of these businesses are finding that their current infrastructures are ill-
equipped to address trends such as the widespread use of mobile devices, remote data access,
instant messaging, social networking, and increasing regulatory and security concerns.
Additionally, the continued explosion of email data volume is forcing companies to seek new
ways to effectively scale, control and secure their messaging infrastructure.

Given these challenges, the majority of the mid-market is re-evaluating their communications and
collaboration strategies to ensure that the appropriate technologies are in place to maximize
employee productivity while optimizing performance. One key area of focus is deploying the
latest unified communications and collaboration (UCC) platforms. These solutions provide the
necessary tools to manage and scale email, calendar, instant messaging, social networking
platforms, and audio/video/web (A/V/W) conferencing while reducing the cost and complexity of
deployment and management.

This white paper explores why and how mid-market organizations are confronting these business
communications and collaboration challenges. It provides results from a recent study to help
companies benchmark their progress as well as offers guidance on choosing the right solutions to
address specific communications and collaboration needs.

Page 2
Document sharing and collaboration software
Unified communication software
Servers that support deployment of UC
Collaboration and UC Planned Investments
Key Highlights: Better Collaboration Yields Results

Mid-market firms consider mobility, communications, and collaboration top IT priorities and many of
their biggest business pain points fall squarely into these areas. Companies are grappling with these
concerns in stages; this paper will provide a framework for firms to evaluate where they are in the
process. Some highlights include:

 Mobility and Collaboration are a Top IT Priority - As businesses become increasingly
mobile, geographically dispersed, and operationally and organizationally focused, they are
looking more to communications and collaboration solutions. They are ultimately seeking to
improve organization-wide communications across mobile devices and better secure mobile
devices and associated data. In addition, there is great interest from decision makers in
deploying document sharing and integrated communications solutions to improve

 Collaboration Solutions Need to Address Multiple Pain Points – Firms seeking
collaboration solutions insist that the ultimate solution yield tangible results to the firm.
These results include enhanced productivity of mobile employees, more comprehensive data
security and system reliability for compliance, better management of high email and other
data volume, and a more agile infrastructure. To obtain such results, IT groups look for
capabilities such as synching between devices and other applications, robust security
features, systems management tools, and message search and archiving. Organizations also
desire advanced storage and a robust architecture to support increasing numbers of email
and mobile users and larger mailboxes to increase employee productivity.

 Collaboration Solutions Need to be Catered to Specific Business Needs - Mid-market
firms are at different stages in their collaboration evolution; each phase requires a unique set
of solutions to meet their needs. Highly collaborative firms (collaborative leaders) have more
locations, more defined telecommuting procedures, and greater interest in data loss
prevention and project management. Less collaborative firms (emerging collaborators) have
fewer employees and office locations, and are mainly focused on instant messaging solutions.
Growing collaborators are looking to integrate collaboration solutions such as document
collaboration and A/V/W conferencing with their mobile devices.

Page 3
6 out of 10 mid-market firms are investing in
upgrading their business email servers, favoring on –
premise deployments due to regulatory concerns
Mobility and Collaboration Mid-market Priorities
Purchase more tablets instead of notebooks or
Secure mobile devices
Deploy a document sharing solution to encourage
collaboration between employees
Use of mobile devices to improve communications
across company
Use of mobile devices to increase employee
Utilize integrated unified communication and
collaboration solutions
Deploy integrated audio/video/web conferencing
Collaboration Drivers in the Mid-Market
Increasing mobile (particularly tablet) investments, securing mobile devices, and implementing
document sharing solutions are among the top IT priorities for mid-market firms. These priorities
are driven by several factors.

Ubiquitous mobility. 87% of mid-market firms worldwide have a mobile workforce with at
least one employee who travels 4 to 5 days a month for business purposes. These employees
working outside of the office are increasingly accessing applications on mobile devices. Email is
the most accessed business application through mobile devices. Roughly 81% of Smartphone
owning firms and 87% of tablet owning firms allow employees to retrieve business email via
mobile devices.

Additionally, many organizations now allow employee owned devices to access company data, a
policy referred to as “Bring Your Own Device”, or BYOD. The BYOD phenomenon has become
prevalent in recent years, with 84% of firms citing that they have a BYOD policy. With more
employees using these devices to open company data and email, IT departments are becoming
ever more wary of associated security concerns.

Geographic sprawl. With project teams and departments often split across offices and with
more and more employees telecommuting, many firms are operating across wider geographic
footprints. Mid-market firms have 3 office locations on average, sometimes spanning countries or
continents. Instantaneous communication through chat and A/V/W conferencing, as well as
asynchronous collaboration in order to work together across time zones is becoming essential.

Evolving organizational structures. Larger firms are starting to see the benefit of employing
a matrix organizational structure, where project teams are sourced cross-functionally to
accomplish business objectives. For these firms and even those still operating under traditional

Page 4
organizational structures, internal social networking software and document sharing solutions
that span across the entire company are important for better communication and more efficient
project management.

These drivers are leading the enterprise to look towards more comprehensive unified
communications and collaboration solutions.

Benefits Sought through Collaboration

Midmarket firms are seeking a number of benefits by updating and expanding the collaboration
infrastructure and related solutions, including:

(1) Improved productivity

First and foremost, firms are looking to collaboration solutions in order to harness increased
productivity. Collaboration solutions allow employees exposure to project documents and
pertinent information as well as help them better engage with team members while working from
home and when traveling. These solutions also permit companies to better manage and
collaborate with remote offices. In addition, businesses are looking to enable their employees to
easily retrieve information on their mobile devices and then synchronize that information with
other devices in real time.

Improved Productivity
Better collaboration supports anytime,
anywhere communications from any client
or mobile device
Increased Data Security and
Superior collaboration addresses data
security and privacy that extends across
email and other data housed on any client
or mobile device
Increased Scalability and
Upgraded collaboration solutions encourage
maximum performance levels and
adaptability needed for expanding email
architecture and managing increased data
Better Management
Enhanced collaboration improves
troubleshooting, data search and archiving,
and synchronization between clients and
mobile devices
Key Benefits Featured

Page 5

(2) Increased data security and reliability

Given the pervasive nature of security threats, medium-sized businesses are consistently focused
on ensuring that mission critical infrastructure and applications are being protected. Roughly 3 in
4 mid-market firms cite data security and privacy as a top IT concern. Mobility further heightens
security concerns. Many IT departments are seeking solutions that promise the highest level of
protection and that provide coverage across the entire business: from the on-premise
infrastructure to mobile devices to data sets (both at-rest and in-transit). Email, as a universal
messaging platform, is a common point of entry for security threats, specifically Advanced
Persistent Threats (APTs), making increased security mandatory to ensure information is not
being compromised.

Nearly all organizations desire anti-virus and anti-spam protection that can extend beyond
traditional clients, such as PCs and servers, effectively shielding mobile devices from attacks.
They are demanding more advanced security solutions, such as Data Loss Protection (DLP), that
provide even greater protection by catching potential breaches early on through constant
monitoring, detecting, and blocking of sensitive data. Additionally, firms seek high-availability
server and storage components to guarantee that up-time requirements are met as an ongoing
business continuity concern.

To overcome these challenges, IT decision makers are taking steps to procure mission critical
hardware, such as high availability business email servers that offer multi-function security to
protect inter-company message exchanges and stored content on-site and on mobile devices
from security breaches.

Collaboration Solution
User Sound-Off
“Our previous solution was very old and outdated. We chose an integrated productivity
suite, because it was something new and more modern. It offered a lot more features and
many integrated parts, things that we could not do before, all in one program. With this
program, you not only do messaging, but you can do video conferences and one-on-one
video chat and things like that. It’s now easier for staff members to stay connected and
they’re very satisfied with the flexibility. Retrieving emails on mobile devices also makes
for better connectivity.”
- CIO within a mid-sized Higher Education institution
Email access via mobile devices introduces even
more risk into the equation given more access
points for external threats to enter

Page 6
(3) Better management

Given the management intricacies involved within larger, operationally oriented, and strategic-
minded firms, many are seeking better administration that facilitates data search and analysis as
well as high application availability.

In order to effectively manage data, IT departments require robust storage architecture. Top
features sought by organizations are advanced message archiving and retention, email search for
eDiscovery, and various system management tools, such as system performance monitoring and
notification. Storage for email is a critical issue with growing email data and volume (both
structured and unstructured) permeating enterprise networks and systems.

Mobile devices add another layer of complexity. Firms require management of application usage
on these devices as well as synchronization between mobile and non-mobile devices. Over-the-
air synching of email, contacts, and calendar across multiple mobile devices is crucial to ensure
that all information is up-to-date and consistent.

In order to attend to these concerns, institutions are looking to implement unified
communications and collaboration platforms. These UCC platforms reduce the complexity and
the cost of managing the features described above while providing easy integration to mobile

(4) Increased scalability and performance

As an organization grows, so too does information, imposing a need to scale the communications
infrastructure. Firms are increasing email access through firm expansion and by increasing the
of mid-market firms
seek a single unified
and collaboration
Single UCC Solution
of mid-market
firms demand an
easy to use
solutions with a
simple interface
Easy to Use
of firms want a UC
solution that allows for
flexible work styles (i.e.
BYOD and mobile
workforce) and
anytime, anywhere
access of information
on devices
Flexible Access
Interest in Collaboration and UC

Page 7
sheer number of mobile devices accessing email data. The organization-wide deployment of
mobile devices across multiple locations and more email users results in more data to process
and store. Businesses are beginning to realize the importance of strong, scalable email
architecture to tackle these constraints, with 81% of mid-market firms citing an easily scalable
server and storage architecture as a necessity.

Not only do IT departments need sufficient storage capacity, but they also need substantial
compute power and load balancing capabilities for maximum performance. Both scalability and
performance must be achieved at a minimum outlay of cost to the firm.

The Collaboration Evolution

Each mid-market firm maintains a different approach to collaboration. There are typically three
stages of collaborative progress. By looking at the profiles of businesses in these three groups,
firms can benchmark where they are in the process and identify solutions that best fit their

The three stages of collaborative progress are:

 Collaborative Leaders: A collaborative leader considers collaboration technology
imperative to its success. This type of firm is most attracted to creating and executing a
clear communication and collaboration strategy which enables productivity, manages
mobility, and secures the IT environment.
 Growing Collaborators: Growing collaborators view collaborative improvements as
important to their success. They are typically concerned with implementing collaboration
solutions that integrate with mobile devices and help them share data across employees
and locations.
 Emerging Collaborators: This is the firm that is looking to expand its business and is
interested in updating the communications infrastructure as one means to get there. It is
looking to acquire new collaborative technologies that promote growth, scalability, and
overall business progress. It sees mobility as a driving force to its business and is taking
steps to develop guidelines and policies around it.

The number of smartphones and tablets that access
company email in use by mid-market firms today is
expected to grow 67% by 2018 indicating the need for
a highly scalable email architecture that can
accommodate growth in mobile devices

Page 8
Where are you in your Collaboration Evolution?

Mid-market firms that are collaborative leaders typically have a highly mobile
workforce. Almost 7 in 10 mid-market firms that are collaborative leaders maintain
telecommuting policies as opposed to only 2 in 10 mid-market firms that are emerging
collaborators. 70% of highly collaborative firms are either very or extremely likely to acquire
productivity related applications (such as email and calendaring) as a part of an integrated
hardware bundle. These institutions should search for an advanced email architecture that
incorporates mobile email management and top-notch security to manage their multiple sites.

Using IT to cut costs and improve employee productivity is top of mind for mid-
market firms that are growing collaborators. This group is just as likely if not more likely
than collaborative leaders to maintain near-term plans to procure conferencing solutions that
allow them to connect between offices. They are also more likely to be currently deploying social
networking and document sharing in some capacity within the organization. They are seeking the
best way to leverage UCC, improve business operations, and become more organizationally
resilient. Growing collaborators should be looking for a reliable UCC platform that manages
document collaboration and audio/video/web conferencing across mobile and non-mobile

Mid-market firms that are emerging collaborators are highly concerned with business
expansion and hiring employees with new skill sets in order to grow. Emerging
collaborators are interested in reducing operating expenses to re-invest in business growth. They
want to be re-assured that their overall collaboration architecture is scalable enough to meet
their needs. They ultimately want a solution that is grounded in flexibility and that accommodates
them as their business changes. These organizations should be researching reliable and
adaptable solutions that offer both on-premise and mobile security and that offer sufficient
storage and systems management tools.



-Multiple sites (5+)
-Clear telecommuting policies
-Implementing DLP solutions
-Collaboration linked with project
management G


-10-24% mobile workforce
-Using A/V/W Conferencing
-Using document collaboration
-Implementing social networks


-Typically <200 employees
-Single business location
-No telecommunication policy
-Primarily focused on instant
15-20% of Firms
30-35% of Firms 45-50% of Firms

Page 9
Collaboration Solutions for the Mid-Market

While mid-market firms within each stage of the collaboration evolution may have slightly
different needs, all of these firms require solutions that include exceptional mobile and on-
premise capabilities, security, and storage. Furthermore, there is high demand for a unified, on-
premise solution, with 67% of firms concerned about meeting regulatory compliance standards.
Many companies are even opting to build out on-premise infrastructure over switching to cloud
services due to concerns over sensitive data.

HP offers several high caliber solutions under its HP Just Right IT (JRIT) program that meet these
requirements. Examples of these solutions are HP Flex-Bundles for Microsoft Lync and Microsoft
Exchange Server 2013. Within these Flex-Bundles, HP brings together the HP ProLiant Gen8
Server, HP Storage, and HP Support Services allowing customers to tackle their most pressing
business issues related to communications and collaboration: improved productivity, increased
data security and reliability, better management, and increased scalability and performance. This
bundled hardware offering also sufficiently prepares the environment for a full-scale UCC
adoption, if so desired.

With Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 at the heart of the solution, the HP Flex-Bundle for
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 takes an integrated approach to promoting better collaboration
and protecting business data with top-of-the-line storage and security features, including anti-
virus, anti-spam, archiving, synching, and data loss prevention as well as rule-based
management. It includes mobile and web email access as well as voicemail functionalities
through unified inboxing. HP ProLiant Gen8 servers allow for optimal systems management
through diagnostic tools HP Active Health Systems and Embedded Agentless Management. HP’s
Smart Storage joins ProLiant with DAS, NAS, and Disk back-up. Storage components can be
chosen by drive type depending on number of email users and size of mailbox.

Good candidates for the HP Flex-Bundle for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 are….

 Current HP customers running Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007 (or even earlier versions)
looking to upgrade.
 Current HP customers running older server technology looking to upgrade.
 New customers without an email system or who are using a web-based email looking to
convert to on-premise.
 New customers running multiple email programs and looking to consolidate.
 New or current HP customers that are looking to improve their existing collaboration solutions.

Page 10

Increased mobility, business expansion, geographical dispersion, and changes in organizational
structures are compelling mid-market firms to search for better collaboration solutions. These
firms are searching for solutions that can address productivity, security and reliability,
management, and scalability and performance.

Leaders in collaboration are looking for tools which help them manage multiple sites and
telecommuting employees while providing the data loss prevention and project management
required by their business. Growing collaborators want to implement document collaboration and
audio/video/web conferencing across mobile and non-mobile devices. Emerging collaborators are
focusing on cost and scaling their business.

HP through its HP Flex-Bundles presents a strong portfolio of collaboration solutions to meet the
needs of mid-market firms in each of these stages. These solutions ultimately result in better
inter-company communication, improved employee and team productivity, greater organizational
fluidity, and superior service to customers and other stakeholders. Improving the collaborative
infrastructure not only allows firms to realize these collaboration-specific benefits, but also allows
them to achieve enhanced data security and reliability, better management, and increased
scalability all of which are top of mind for businesses everywhere.

About This White Paper

This White Paper was developed by AMI-Partners, a leading, global SMB and mid-market
research and consulting firm. It is based on the results of a global mid-market IT priorities study
conducted in Q4 2013.