Simple Email Management Using Microsoft SharePoint

If you’ve ever doubted that email is now the predominate form of telecommunication between businesses and people in the world today then consider this: There were approximately 247 billion emails exchanged every single day back in 2009, according to study by Radicati Group, who forecasted that this number would jump to over 507 billion by 2013.

That’s over 72 times the number of people on the planet!

In fact, a statistic like that means by the time it takes you to read this sentence, approximately 30 million emails will have been sent (5.9 million every second).

Of course, 90% of email is not real messages, but rather spam, advertisements, and viruses. But even accounting for all the junk mail, 2 billion of the world’s 7 billion people are genuine email users.

With such a vast amount of communication now taking place through email, it’s no wonder why email accounts can quickly become a cluttered, disorganized mess. Just think about your personal email account. If you’re like most, you have hundreds—if not thousands—of messages in your inbox, some dating back years, others unopened and long forgotten.

Cleaning out your inbox by simply selecting that “Delete All” button can be a tempting fix for a personal email account, but what are businesses to do when their inbox becomes so cluttered that they can’t find important conversations or files?

The Challenge of Corporate Email Management

In business, finding just one particular conversation in a sea of emails can mean the difference between millions of dollars. For instance, investment bank Morgan Stanley had to shell out $15 million back in 2006 because they failed to retain an email correspondence that was later necessary in a court case.

But with the large influx of emails that come in daily, and the limited storage space available for holding all the information, what does successful email management for a business look like and how is it possible?

The problem of email organization becomes even more complex when departments or team members need to share messages in order to collaborate on a project. Different versions and edits of emails begin circulating chaotically - before long, nobody knows how the full project is progressing. Collaboration becomes nearly impossible.

Email Management Solutions

In order to make a case for Microsoft SharePoint as an invaluable collaboration tool, first let’s take a look at how most organizations approach email management—a simple three zone system:

  • Zone 1: After a set period of time (commonly 90 days), emails in this zone are automatically deleted from a user’s personal inbox, unless the user marks it for further use. This keeps their inbox updated and reasonably small.
  • Zone 2: These emails are for messages that have company value, but are not archived automatically. These messages must be deleted or stored at some future point.
  • Zone 3: Emails in this zone are automatically stored in company records.

The three zone approach is an effective method of properly managing data. However, if the solution is not a company-wide initiative, then organization is ultimately ineffective.

This is where SharePoint comes to the rescue.

Email Management with SharePoint

Many organizations run into problems when establishing a company-wide email management system. These obstacles undermine the reliability and consistency of the organizational process. What SharePoint does is make zones 2 and 3 of the three-zone system possible, as well as improve collaboration.

For instance, with SharePoint, you can store all kinds of electronic records in a central repository that supports email, documents, spreadsheets, and other types of files. This means data in all shapes and sizes can be logged and easily accessed from a central location.

In addition, SharePoint offers these email management services:

  • Automatic “Send and File” option to make storage more efficient
  • Adding further metadata to an email
  • Legal holds
  • Filing attachments separate from the email
  • User-driven enterprise search
  • Applying workflow to email content
  • And more…

But unquestionably, the most important advantage SharePoint users have for email management is engaging in collaboration and knowledge sharing capabilities with other team members. SharePoint’s ability to store email content, alongside other types of content, in a central repository where it can be accessed, edited, and shared, is an invaluable tool for organizations seeking effective email management.

Learn more about how SharePoint can help manage your email system and foster team collaboration by talking with our consultant today. Feel free to contact us for more information.