This series of blog posts looks at seven best practices to consider when implementing email records management in your organization. It discusses various considerations for evaluating email records management strategies and the challenges to fully integrating email into a records management environment. In part one, we discuss email in a records management context and some of the questions that need to be addressed for effective email records management.
Email in a Records Management Context
If your business is conducted by email (and whose isn’t these days?), then the content of these email must be retained and managed like any other record. In many cases, it’s the email itself that must be retained as a record, sometimes it’s the attachment, often it’s both, but the message is clear: email are records and need to be managed as such.
However, the 2011 AIIM State of the Industry Survey offers some startling statistics:
- 66% of records managers have concerns about information accuracy and accessibility, particularly with regard to email
- 15% delete all email over a certain age, whereas 16% keep them indefinitely. 27% have no policy
- 31% describe their management of email as “chaotic”
- 39% are still filing important email in personal Outlook folders
- 18% automatically capture email to document or records management systems
- Since we have a lot of experience in the SharePoint world, it’s interesting to note that only 20% of companies store email in SharePoint.
There is a big gap between knowing what needs to be done, and actually doing it. Organizations need to get a handle on email in a way that meets compliance and legal requirements within tight financial constraints. And importantly, they need to do it without negatively impacting employee productivity. Employees are already being asked to do more with less, so any additional responsibilities and requirements must be easily integrated into their daily work processes, habits and applications.
Regarding email records management, organizations need to address two important questions:
- How do you align email management practices with corporate records management strategy, while keeping end users happy and deployment costs low?
- How do you balance the needs of IT and the Records Manager with the needs of the user?
In my next blog post, we’ll look at the first two best practices for effective email records management.