Colligo NewsUsing SharePoint to Manage Email – Part 1 – EPFs or SharePoint?

We’ve just drafted a whitepaper called “Developing an Effective Email Collaboration Solution in SharePoint”. It discusses some of the user adoption issues that must be faced when tackling an email collaboration implementation project and discusses how Colligo Contributor can help to solve them.

Many thanks to Brent Bolleman for his contribution to the document. Also thanks to Michael Sampson for his comments and suggestions on the early draft.

Please feel free to add your comments. Let me know what you think!

EPFs or SharePoint?

Email management is a critical requirement for many organizations today, however deploying and supporting an effective email management solution can pose significant challenges for IT. In addition to heavy storage requirements, email management systems must support categorization of emails, preservation of critical metadata and accurate, timely search of message content. Use cases will vary between organizations; however requirements are often driven by two broad scenarios: 1) Collaboration, i.e. members of a team or department that need to share emails as part of a project, and 2) Retention, i.e. the need to store and search emails and attachments for regulatory or legal reasons or to prune email archives to reduce storage requirements.

Email retention solutions for Microsoft Outlook users often involve Exchange Public Folders (EPF’s); or what are now called Managed Folders in Exchange 2007. For consistency, I will use “EPF” to refer to both Exchange Public Folders and Managed Folders. Microsoft has recommended best practises for using EPF’s as part of an email retention solution. There are also a number of specialized third party solutions that enable organizations to archive, delete and search emails and attachments based on their retention policies and legal requirements.

This series of posts will focus on the email collaboration scenario. While EPF’s were traditionally used for collaboration (or document and email sharing) applications, they have been “de-emphasized” as the primary email sharing tool, though they are by no means dead. In any event SharePoint is becoming the recommended solution for many email and document collaboration scenarios.

SharePoint has several advantages for email collaboration applications. Firstly, it has lower administrative overhead associated with creation, permissions, maintenance and deletion of shared folders. Secondly, through the use of SharePoint content types, administrators can easily set global retention policies on email so that it can be automatically deleted or routed to a SharePoint Records Center or other email archive for storage. In addition, SharePoint’s powerful search capabilities make it much easier to locate relevant emails and attachments.

In the next post I will cover different solutions for moving emails and documents from Microsoft Outlook to SharePoint.

Tagged as: Email Management, SharePoint

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