E-mail Management – a design decision

As discussed previously, I expect e-mail will be still around for some time. This means there is a need for each organisation to manage its e-mail. This is one of the topics that should be addressed by your Records Management strategy or your Enterprise Content Management strategy (if you have one).

However before you start implementing a systems, there are a number of questions to ask in order to determine whether you actually want to have a system:

  • Do you have large volumes and/or large number of employees?
    • If yes, then this may be a reason for an e-mail management system as it can reduce your storage costs
  • Are you located in a country where you may be required to produce e-mails as part of a litigation or due to legal requirements or for compliance initiatives?
    • If yes, then this may be a reason for an e-mail management system especially if you expect this to happen frequently. For example if you are part of an government agency in a country where there are regular political demands.
  • Can you justify the license costs and the implementation costs?
    • If no, then you should have to put procedures and policies in place to allow you to retrieve e-mails (manually) from you backups.
    • If no and the chances of a discovery request are low, you may be able to outsource this to a specialised firm when there is a request
  • Do you have a different system to retain e-mails for records management purpose?
    • If yes, you may be able to arrange for e-mails to be stored in such as system (provided the volume is low)

If you decided to implement an e-mail management system then you should look into the capabilities required. The figure below gives a high level view of the capabilities.

You should also look into the technical requirements and non-functional requirements such as intergrations, infrastructure requirements, capture volumes, capture speeds, and application support to realise these capabilities.

For some more information about e-mail management:

No more e-mail, it could work!

In a previous post I discussed the possibilities to stop using e-mail within a corporate environment. There are a few persons that have been able to reduce their reliance on e-mail to an admirable low amount.

This article from Wired describes how Luis Suarez from IBM has been able to reduce his usage of e-mail to a cool 2 minutes per day!!! Although he has not been able to eradicate e-mail completely he is basically using it as an inbox only tool. Whenever possible he uses internal or external social tools to communicate with people. This has reduced his time required to communicate.

According to this article there are a few colleagues of Luis Suarez that also have taken the same direction. Juliana Leong, one of these people, says that by using social tools to answer questions, the number of questions to her have reduced because answers are accessible to everyone. Another effect of the openess was that questions are asked more through social tools which makes it possible for multiple people to answer a question. This can result in faster responses.

Encouraging to see that people are able to achieve this already in a corporate environment. At the same time the article also highlights that these people are still a minority. Hopefully they will get a bigger following in the near future!