Three tips for ensuring a user-friendly email archiving system

User acceptance is crucial to an email archiving project. Learn how complete integration, offline access and mobile access ensure a user-friendly email archiving system.

As companies look to archive their user's emails for business and compliance and/or litigation reasons, finding an archiving product that fits your company's needs can be a time-consuming process. While cost is always a consideration when selecting any new technology, a user-friendly email archiving system must also be given strong consideration.

The No. 1 factor in positioning an email archiving project for success is user acceptance. If your system can deliver in the following three areas, you'll have much happier users.

  • Complete integration. Will the user see an unfamiliar Web link or a reassuring Microsoft Outlook or Notes window? This is the first question most users ask when they're being trained to use a new archiving system, and one that every information technology pro should keep in mind when selecting an email archiving product. The less hassle and more familiarity there is, the better the user experience will be.
  • Offline access. Can a user access the archive when they're on a plane? A system that cuts users off from the bulk of their mail just because they're not on the network is bound to generate complaints. It might also lead users to start "underground archives" in PST or NSF files, undermining your record-retention policy. While administrators can disable the creation of these personal archives, this further frustrates offline users with no access to their historic messages.
  • Mobile access. If you give users all of their mail no matter where they are or how they access the system, they'll love it. This is especially true when it comes to PST ingestion; the ability to access their personal historical mail from the Web on their BlackBerry is a powerful benefit that users will instantly understand and embrace.
  • This material originally appeared in Storage magazine.

    Stephen Foskett is a frequent SearchStorage.com contributor.
This was first published in May 2009

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