Seventy-seven per cent of IT directors in financial services firms do not know the total cost of running their messaging and e-mail systems, a survey has revealed.
More than 110 IT directors at banks, building societies and insurance companies across the UK, the US and continental Europe were questioned about their messaging systems by research firm Mori on behalf of BT.
The survey found that 77% did not know, or could not calculate, the total cost of their messaging systems, despite their organisations increasingly relying on these systems to operate.
The poll also found that over the next three years most financial services firms expect to spend more on protecting e-mail and other communications channels against viruses and hackers.
Chris Hughes, BT Consulting & Systems integration marketing director for financial services, said, "Electronic messaging channels are now considered viable media for taking orders, sending approvals and contracts, and discussing sensitive financial issues.
"It is amazing that most firms cannot tell you how much their messaging infrastructure costs, yet they continue to throw money at the problem."
The survey also found that most organisations use multiple suppliers to provide software and services to support messaging.
More than 50% use more than one supplier, and almost 20% use more than four different providers.
Despite this, most respondents said they saw clear advantages in having a single point for management - simplifying the implementation of policies for individuals or groups, providing one user interface to centralise administration, lowering the cost of control, and speeding up the response to incidents.
Sixty-five per cent of IT directors surveyed expect to see increases in compliance costs over the next three years.
The 20% of respondents who currently outsource, or would consider outsourcing, their messaging infrastructure were more confident than in-house firms that they could meet regulatory compliance demands.
A world of difference
The Mori survey found that archiving and security were the two areas with the largest geographical differences. Only 6% of IT directors based in France considered archiving a challenge, compared with 41% of UK-based and 50% of Netherlands-based respondents. However, 61% of those representing organisations in France thought security was challenging, compared with 18% of US and no Dutch respondents. Some 81% of all respondents said "e-mail anarchy" and escalating costs threaten companies that do not address their message management correctly.