New Study Quantifies Corporate E-mail Chaos

OTG Software and research firm Creative Networks recently conducted an e-mail management survey with IT professionals from Fortune 500 and similarly sized companies throughout North America. The study focused on e-mail management and archive accessibility, message store restrictions, archiving of messaging servers and unplanned server downtime and restoration. It was discovered that three emerging challenges are associated with e-mail management: productivity, IT administrator time and organizational risks.

E-mail seemingly has become the dominant means of corporate communication as users continue to accept and adopt e-mail as an important business tool. According to the study, 60 percent of business-critical information is stored in a messaging system. The growth of e-mail, ramping to 35 billion daily messages worldwide by 2005 (IDC), will further increase the demand for comprehensive e-mail data management. Other factors, such as the growth of wireless communications, are also driving the growth of e-mail as a primary method of communication.

The performance and uptime of corporate messaging systems can dramatically impact end-user productivity. For example: Since 81 percent of end users cannot access e-mail archives, administrators waste an average of five to six hours per week (or maybe, even, days) recovering such archived messages for them. Furthermore, users are 20 percent less productive when the messaging server is down than when the system is running.

In regards to IT stress, as e-mail becomes a more critical part of the business infrastructure, the percentage of mission-critical data on the message store will continue to increase. Doubling the number of e-mail users increases an administrator’s time spent on messaging-related activities by 25 percent. Administrators currently spend eight to twelve hours a week on backup and archiving tasks alone.

Organizational risks include the lack of e-mail and document retention policies aimed at preserving important company information. This is a major concern since requirements to recover e-mail messages and attachments are increasing for legal discovery and regulatory compliance.

Only 49 percent of the surveyed companies currently have an e-mail retention policy. 41 percent of users within those companies ignore the policy with, in most cases, no consequence for the end user. At the same time, 28 percent of companies surveyed anticipate being hit with a major e-mail recovery task, such as a legal discovery request, within the next 12 months, with 34.5 percent of surveyed companies unable to recover the relevant messages in such a circumstance.