I'm currently working as a consultant to an Irish public service organisation and I'm looking at email policies. We're looking at possibly moving to an EDRMS.
Our current approach to email is to allow users to do what they want - save as they like and occasionally save to their shared drive (which ends up with a variety different formats). Otherwise emails are stored in a few group accounts and lots of personal accounts, which get deleted after people leave. The usual problems of information being stored (and unavailable, and unknown) in personal email accounts is one issue. The large amount of storage space being devoted to email is another.
Our IT people have proposed various solutions - such as archiving everything or moving older messages to tape storage after a few years (and, basically, saving everything). I can see the IT benefits of these but obviously it creates problems with data protection, mixing of personal and business emails, and digital preservation. And it doesn't solve the email siloes problem either.
I've put forward the suggestion that we try to get users to be more systematic about saving key emails to the shared drive. We use Lotus Notes (don't ask) and it's actually quite easy to drag and drop emails in this way - no renaming involved, they end up as EML format, it's a quick process. The question is whether we can rely on them to save the key records. I'm willing to take the risk of a minimal approach as long as most of the important stuff is kept (the idea is that they delete the originals, or we simply delete all emails after, say, 5 years) and hope that the ease of drag and drop will make them save more (and I don't mind if they err on the side of keeping the unnecessary).
This would solve a lot of problems. However, I am not sure anyone has ever managed to make this approach work. I can see how it might, with training, support and excellent organization of records (I'm working on the last one). But from what I have seen, this approach doesn't work for most people and may not work for anyone.
So I am looking for anyone who has tried this approach with any degree of success - what makes the difference? What actually works? Since this ought in principle to be part of an effective EDRMS, would the change management aspect of an EDRMS drive the change required?
I wait, optimistically, with bated breath.
Consultant Records Manager.
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