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Using the Intelligence Locked away in Email

For most organizations, the largest single source of information about what’s going on in their business is the collection of user mailboxes and email archives distributed across the company. These data stores contain information about who communicates with whom, what employees say, the files they’re sending, how they spend their time, etc. This rich source of content can provide valuable business intelligence to decision makers, but few extract even a fraction of the valuable content contained therein.

To address this problem, Dell Quest announced MessageStats Business Insights, a feature of the new release of its MessageStats offering. Business Insights provides a number of useful features, including the ability to identify email and social media usage trends by individual users, whether or not sensitive content is being distributed outside of the organization in violation of corporate policies, how email volumes are changing over time, how email is being used as a file transport system, whether or not employees or others are sending harassing or offensive messages, etc. You can find more information about MessageStats here.

Although MessageStats and other tools that offer a deep dive into the business intelligence contained in email systems are extremely valuable, they require a change in the way that many think about email. For example, an Osterman Research survey found that there is wide variability in the way that senior managers view email content. Our research found that 18% of senior managers consider email content to be transitory and that there is no need to retain it, while another 46% believe that while email records are important, they are the responsibility of employees—not IT—to manage properly. Only 35% believe that records in email are important AND should be managed by IT according to corporate policies.

We recommend two things: first focus on email as the incredibly valuable source of business intelligence that it is. Don’t purge email stores without archiving the business content from them, don’t treat email as just a transitory source of information, and manage email according to a set of detailed and thorough corporate policies.  Second, implement tools that will give managers proper insight into what is happening in email and how it impacts their business.

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