In discussions with friends, colleagues and clients, I witness numerous different ways that they all deal with the constant flow of emails. And what has become clear, is that there is no best solution, especially from industry to industry.
Some people like to keep copies of practically every email that arrives (apart from the inevitable spam of course). As well as copies of emails that they’ve sent. It could be a compliance issue, where a regulatory or governing body insists in an audit trail. Or maybe it’s simply for their own benefit. Knowing that they can track back the order information received, confirmation and specification of works done or to be done, or cancellation or termination information.
Other clients appear to delete everything once read, and dealt with, including regularly emptying their sent items folder. Cleansing for the sole, but more difficult if you need that vital evidence at a later stage.
There is also the issue of various management tiers being able to access the emails of the staff. And being able to share information with other team members, to allow them to avoid duplication issues, or missing vital information. This certainly improves the productivity of a team.
GDPR will also have an effect on how we deal with emails. We need to be able to ensure information is not stored, where an individual has requested that it isn’t. Whether that be digitally or in paper form, so being able to properly search, and access such information is vital. Can you be certain that you can find, and remove every piece of information regarding an individual?
I also witness clients religiously filing emails away on archive folders. Perhaps sorted into client folders, or projects, which allowed us to delve into the subject in more detail.
We discussed with them the various options for their email archiving. Who for compliance reasons, kept copies of all emails, both to and from their clients and suppliers. Such was the volume of emails, they confessed to us that collectively, all staff averaged half an hour each, per day. Simply archiving emails into the correct shared archive folders. Even at minimum wage that’s nearly £20 per week, per member of staff, of unproductive time, spent on dealing with the issue. Simply reading, dealing with and deleting was not an option. Various members of their team needed to access such emails, and they needed audit trails of information received, and orders placed.
They were astonished, and rightly concerned, that their current system was costing them a minimum of £1,000 per year per member of staff, in unproductive time.
Fortunately, there are solutions to such problems.
We introduced them to the principles of automated email archiving as a service. Now, all emails over a certain age are automatically archived to a central storage. Access can be set at various levels for different members of staff. And the emails (unless flagged) deleted from their inbox and sent items folders. Now all the staff that need access to their emails can do so. They have full audit trail and control via the archive facility. And they will never have to drag and drop an email into an archive again.