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There's a spectrum of email client integration: some archives offer no integration and rely on a Web browser interface for archive access, while others use toolbars, executable extensions for certain clients or archive folders pushed from the mail server. Regardless of the technology used, consider the user's reaction (see "What users want," below). How will their interaction with their email client change once the archive is in place? If executable extensions are required to be installed on client machines, consider the impact of this rollout.
Think about the alternative email clients in use. Most organizations offer Web email clients, but some archiving systems don't integrate with those. Many users also access their mail using mobile devices such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, iPhone and Symbian. However, most archiving systems have little or no mobile device integration beyond Web access, and these sites are sometimes poorly formatted or too graphically complex for mobile browsers. Off-line access is another key differentiator. If a user can access their archived messages while on a plane, they'll be far more likely to accept the system.
This article didn't cover the technical elements about product applicability to different storage environments, which are paramount considerations. Can, for example, the
This was first published in June 2008