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News

Survey into incriminating e-mail archives

AIIM Europe : 15 May, 2009  (Technical Article)
E-mail management survey from AIIM investigates the litigation potential of messages stored on backup tapes
It's not just 10 Downing Street that could have problems with incriminating emails. ECM industry researcher AIIM has found that a third of organisations have no policy to deal with legal discovery and 40% might need to search back-up tapes to find emails that could be relevant to litigation. The AIIM survey, entitled "Email Management, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly", also found that 84% would have no way to justify why emails of a certain age or type had been deleted.

In AIIM's view, most organisations are only just waking up to the fact that amongst the deluge of day-to-day emails are some that constitute important business records. These emails need to be recorded and retained as such.

Over half of respondents lack confidence that emails documenting commitments and obligations made by staff are recorded, complete and recoverable. This number has not improved over the last three AIIM surveys. Perhaps this finding is not surprising given that 45% of respondents are still filing important emails in personal Outlook folders. A resolute 18% print important emails and file them as paper. Only 19% have the facility to move important emails into a document or records management system, or a dedicated email management system.

Doug Miles, UK Managing Director of AIIM Europe, comments, "This is not just a legal discovery issue. Finding and recovering past emails is cited as the number two problem with email as a business tool - after 'sheer overload' at number one. Given that most people spend more than one-and-a-half hours per day processing emails, this is a major efficiency issue. The good news is that a third of organisations plan fresh investment in email management initiatives over the next two years."

The AIIM research also found that two-thirds of respondents access emails on the move, and a startling 28% normally process work-related emails at weekends and on vacation.

The full report in the AIIM Industry Watch series, "Email Management, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" can be downloaded free and is supported by EMC and ASG. Email management is also addressed in the AIIM Certificate Training Programme, which is available on the Web or as classroom courses.
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