open text_logo_2009.jpg Enterprise content management giant Open Text (news, site) has upgraded its email management for Microsoft Exchange with the release of Email Management 10, which will identify and zap emails that are deemed unimportant and store those that are.

There is dual purpose in operation here: on one hand the company says this solution will drastically reduce the need to store emails and, as a result, the cost of doing so, while on the other it will improve the enterprise's ability to respond to eDiscovery requests.

Capture Some, Destroy Some

It is clear that with the increasing use of email in enterprises, the amount electronic information floating around has the potential to cause major legal headaches for companies that for whatever reasons need to hold on to even a small portion of their email.

Email Management 10, the company says, addresses this problem by carrying out two important functions:

  • Safely dispose of low-value mail
  • Capture and archive emails that contain business critical information.

Capture Classifications

The obvious question here is how does Exchange 10 decide what is important and what is not?

And Open Text provides what would appear to be an easy answer. This email manager comes with what the company describes as a common-sense message classification system. The system enables users to assign particular classifications to particular email folders in their mailbox, with important emails being automatically captured in the enterprise content management suite.

These classifications apply to both outgoing and incoming mail. It is hoped that this will take much of responsibility of managing tedious email management functions out of the hands of individual users, while at the same time giving them ultimate control over what is kept and what is discarded.

Classification Features

There are a number of other features here that are worth a mention:

  • Role-based classification: These are lists of possible classifications allowed to different users based on their position and role in the company. Presumably, this would mean the higher you are in the pecking order the more classifications you will have -- although this might suggest that the higher you are, the more emails you will have to deal with.
  • Regular capture options: Once a given mailbox has been given a particular classification, the system regularly examines the content of that box, takes important emails out and places them in their assigned location in the content management suite.
  • Simple shortcuts: Although emails that fall under given classifications are taken out of the user’s mailbox and placed in the system, the user can access those emails directly without having to search through the whole system by simply clicking on shortcuts that replace the email itself.
  • Email management assistant: This gives users a real-time view of what is happening across their mailboxes as well as information about what has been classified and where in the system it is located. There is also a view of the ‘unimportant’ emails that are about to be deleted.
  • Tamper-proof storage: All the emails that have been taken and stored within an environment in a way that prevents the original email being tampered with. They are also compressed to maximized storage space.

All in all this email management system looks like a good deal for all concerned, and anything that reduces the amount of nonsense emails that arrive in users’ mailboxes can only be a good thing.

The only concern is that even with the extensive classification system available with it, and while most companies will have a good idea of what they will be asked for with an eDiscovery request, there is no way of knowing exactly what to keep and what not to keep.

Sophisticated and effective mail management it probably is, clairvoyant it is not.