What is Email Management?

what is email management?

email is the de facto standard for business communication between organizations at the moment. Just like any other type of business information and records, email must be included as part of, and adhered to, organizational standards dealing with information and records.

email is ubiquitous in all aspects of every business and has become very business critical. For information workers, the email client was their main business application and they spent many hours a day reading, responding, and collaborating through email.

For many, email management is simply removing emails from a server and storing them in a repository. But this is not enough because to get it right, each must be classified, stored and perhaps destroyed in a manner consistent with established business policies and standards, just as all other types of documents and records must be done. Email management involves the systematic control of the quality and quantity of electronic messages that are sent from within and received by an organization.

attention visual learners: click here to see how this term relates to intelligent information management (iim).

The large number of emails found in inboxes, sent folders, and deleted items folders puts the organization at risk and negatively affects the performance of the organization’s email servers. email servers were never designed to act as repositories for such large amounts of email and move control of this information away from the organization. Without email management, it is difficult for organizations to meet their legal preservation requirements in the event of litigation and government investigations, increasing the effort and cost of responding to electronic discovery and disclosure.

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Email management systems centrally capture emails created and received by employees. Using a classification scheme to manage this content, retention periods and access controls can be applied to manage the emails. metadata associated with emails can be captured to allow this information to be managed and retrieved. email archiving is one of the most common applications for email management. At their most basic, these solutions copy or delete messages from the messaging app and store them in another location. In some of these solutions, messages are not archived, but attachments are replaced with a slip or link within the message. email management systems are part of an overall solution. organizations need to have records management programs, which consist of policies and procedures, personnel, and activities for the entire organization.

Email is one type of information that is often treated differently than others, even though it shouldn’t be. The reasons for the different treatment are many and reflect:

  • the sheer volume of messages involved, which dwarfs the number of other document types at stake on a daily basis
  • the informality with which they can be created and forwarded: everyone does it, everyone time, with a simple mouse click
  • the ease with which documents can be attached, even if they’re not supposed to.

These factors make it difficult to fully understand and fight email management as a discipline. Organizations will often default to one or more of a series of unacceptable options that they believe constitute management but in fact do not. Organizations may decide that the best way to manage email is to do one or more of the following:

  • save all emails forever
  • save all emails in messaging app
  • set arbitrary mailbox sizes for all users
  • declare ’email’ as a series of disks
  • and of course the ever-popular “do nothing”
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The best answer is to make sure your organization has strong policies to govern such things. and yet we know very well that not all organizations do. according to a 2009 aimim study on the subject:

  • only 10% of organizations have completed an enterprise-wide email management initiative,
  • only 20% are currently implementing a project, and
  • even in larger organizations, 17% have no plans to do so.

There is much for organizations to determine:

  • when to declare an email, a copy of a message or an entire thread/conversation as a log
  • determine what to base the log decision on: sender, recipient, content type, files attachments, text within the email, etc.

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