Your email solution used to be both your communication tool and document management solution. Everyone was sending messages and documents to everyone else and then just creating a nice neat (sometimes) folder structure to save the emails for future reference. For a while that was a tremendous improvement over phone calls, stacks of paper and filing cabinets.
Then came the demand for corporate wide information access and individual user email accounts were demoted and retention policies were implemented. The next dagger was the lack of encryption on standard email such that corporate information was therefore at risk. Possibly the final blow is that email became a spam fest. But wait, email is not dead and there are good reasons why.
Really an email is a document, a record, a corporate asset that should be treated as such. Email, as opposed to messaging, is used when there’s a desire on the sender’s part to memorialize the conversation or message. What once was accomplished by writing a letter, is now frequently accomplished by sending a well written email. These writings are now retained or should be retained in your document management system.
Messaging apps, by contrast, are used as casual conversation or quick thought tools. It would take some clean up before you would generally want to archive a message thread in the corporate document management system. A quick word of caution – messaging apps are subject to legal discovery, so be careful what you do say. Messaging has probably replaced many phone calls and reduced the number of three-word email responses. But messaging is not generally used to memorialize corporate actions, decisions or activity.
Standard email is still not encrypted and caution should be used when sending confidential information in the body or as attachments. Secure email systems do exist and should be used to transmit confidential information and documents. The email itself may be a document record and if so, should be added to your document management system. Your document management system should make it easy to add email messages in and allow you to securely share documents externally via email.
Email has replaced letter writing. The email itself has become a document. Email is readily available on your desktop or your phone. It is cost effective compared to delivery services. There are also secure email methods available either within your document management system or with secure email applications. Email is not dead, it’s use has finally matured to a point where it is both communication tool and recognized corporate record.
Millennia Group provides workflow and document management solutions. For more information, visit our website at www.mgdocs.com or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.