I just received an Osterman Research report on end user issues with messaging (i.e. Email / IM) systems. This report entitled “Results of an End-User Survey on Messaging Issues”, was published in June 2007 and summarized the responses of 309 end users. We drew some interesting conclusions from it for the integration of SharePoint and Outlook. These are summarized below.
Mailbox management is costly for organizations. End users surveyed receive 100 emails per day on average. In a typical week, they spend 60 minutes managing their mailbox, which includes deleting emails and putting content into folders to stay under mailbox-size limits. When multiplied across an entire organization, this can amount to millions of dollars a year, so it’s important to streamline to process as much as possible. To illustrate: for a company with 10,000 employees on email, at an average of $30 per hour, email management can cost the corporation $15,000,000 per year, not including the IT costs in setting up server solutions like Exchange managed folders. Colligo Contributor can help to reduce these costs because it makes email management in SharePoint easy to use and easy to deploy.
Users frequently save email and attachments to their hard drives. 23% report that they save email attachments “All the Time”. Of companies that have mailbox quotas, 65% of end users report that they save some or all of their email to stay under their mailbox quota. 78% of end users save personal copies of some or all of their email so that they have proof of their content. 88% save copies as a source of useful content, presumably for later reference. This creates information sprawl on a users PC and duplication between mail server and PC hard drives. Predictably, end users report some difficulty in finding older emails: 30% said that it would be fairly difficult to impossible to find a work email that was six months old.
The need to centrally store and manage emails is growing. 73% of end users report that their companies have policies or their industries have regulations that require central management and/or archival of email. Moving emails out of email systems to SharePoint helps to reduce redundancy, organize email content and offers a platform that supports advanced search capabilities.
Microsoft is the clear winner in email and rich clients are preferred. 66% of end users report using Microsoft products to access email. Outlook 2003 and 2007 (which Colligo Contributor 2.1 directly supports) cover 54% of the total market for email clients. As a testament to the power of offline clients, consider the split between the rich clients of Outlook and the browser-based experience of Outlook Web Access. Only 1% of the market uses Outlook web access, while 60% uses an Outlook client (either Outlook, Outlook Express or Entourage). Restating, only 1.6% of Outlook users use the browser to access email. Rich clients are the clear choice for email and our research shows that when users get the option to access SharePoint through a rich client, they never want to go back.