Effective Email Integration Techniques for Improved Information Governance

By Roger Beharry Lall

An effective information governance strategy depends on many intricate pieces. Like a jigsaw puzzle, if all of those pieces don’t fit together, the whole is not going to show the entire picture. If you have captured, processed and archived some of your business information, but not all of it, there are missing pieces of the information governance puzzle. It is important to understand where your information comes from, how to ensure it is available for analysis, and how you plan to access it in the future.

Where does all of your business information come from? For most companies, it’s a variety of places, including Microsoft Office programs, social media, scanned images, and faxes - but more and more email represents the predominant tool for collaboration - and often repository - of content.

Enterprise organizations are struggling with what to do with the growing volume of email generated (in 2014 alone 109 billion business emails were sent and received). Many organizations have tried to face the problem by mandating regular mass email archiving. Policies like this one are helping to take a chunk out of Inbox sizes.

Unfortunately, while managing Inbox volume is a good first step, there is still a piece of the puzzle missing - the effective governance of the archive. When all of this information is stored, what happens to the data locked within? Usually, it lies dormant.

Consider what happens when someone needs to access information that may be contained in the header or an attachment from an obscure software package. If the information cannot be found or viewed easily, it can negatively impact compliance processes, collaboration initiatives and business opportunities. Also, the email system’s ability to be accessed years down the road, due to incompatibility and system retirement issues can be a further challenge. Think about the organizational knowledge that could be lost!

It is critical that all information in an organization, including that contained in emails, is available for identification and analysis in support of processes like classification and de-duplication and ultimately long-term preservation of data.

To enable their teams to succeed, large enterprise organizations work with Adlib to access their total library of information, regardless of where the data originated and whenever they need it, quickly and easily. Securing not only spreadsheets, CAD diagrams, and other document types, but the thought leadership, intelligence and innovation that can be housed outside of these documents, in conversations between experts in emails for example, is vital to the document management practices of any organization.

For many firms, email is the single largest volume of unstructured content. In addition to fuelling workflows and enhancing the value of combined content, the automated ingestion of email is essential to eDiscovery.

Adlib enables effective email ingestion by connecting directly to POP3 and SMTP systems. Email is ingested in electronic format with 100% accuracy of the source. Attachments are handled accurately with a variety of settings based on how you want that information to be processed. Failed mail ingestion for nested and truncated email is avoided because Adlib deals with the actual email content and not a picture of the content (e.g. a TIFF) like many other archive systems. Adlib technology is also able to monitor specific email boxes. Attachments can be automatically converted and returned to the user in an enhanced PDF format.

Standardizing Enterprise Information

To illustrate how Adlib’s email integration capabilities can help companies deal with volumes of email content, let’s look at how Adlib might integrate with MS Exchange. This integration would allow us to connect directly with active mailboxes and capture content - email content, metadata and attachments - and archive this material automatically to PDF/A, the internationally recognized standard for archiving.

By converting content to this standard format, disparate email programs are no longer a problem. For the extra-conservative, PDF/A can even include attached source materials in their original form. Using our Advanced Rendering tool’s capabilities, we can extract metadata based on various rules, such as title, author, date, stage in the lifecycle, etc. By utilizing our technology, companies are beginning to see a real increase in the value of their email archive.

While we have only touched on one of the pieces of an Information Governance strategy, and there are many, more effective email management is clearly a key to improved data management. The challenges we have discussed here are common, but there is a way to deal effectively with them. Ensure your organization is one where information is accessible and can be leveraged to drive business growth, not hinder it.

Roger Beharry Lall is Director of Market Strategy and Research for Adlib