Wouldn’t it be nice to have……

It’s the ‘bee’s knees’ or the ‘cat’s whiskers’, that’s what we thought of our software product that we’d created and successfully installed at several large NHS Hospital Trusts.  But then we heard our customer say those dreaded words “it’s very good but wouldn’t it be nice to have” and our shoulders visibly sagged.

What more could they possibly want in an email archiving product? 

They then described a particular ‘pain point’ relating to being able to find emails in Personal Folders belonging to an ex-colleague who had left the company.  We listened and implemented what was needed and that’s how our powerful ‘Alias’ searching feature was born.

We’ve learnt that people genuinely want to help us improve our own Mailsafe product and we now welcome the phrase “wouldn’t it be nice to have”.  By listening and then implementing these requests it’s led us to include many features that make our product so much better and more than just any old email archiving product.

A sample of some of the “wouldn’t it be nice to have” requests are as follows:-

1.       “Wouldn’t it be nice to know where all of our PST files are and to eliminate the need for them altogether”

We developed our PST Discovery tool that searches the whole network as well as local hard drives reporting on each PST file’s occurrence, where they are located, sizes, totals etc.

Having discovered where the PST files are located, the emails in PST files can then be imported into Mailsafe our email archiving system.  Group policy can then be set to stop the creation of any more PST files and a script will remove the list of PST files from user’s Outlook.

2.       “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to search for the file name of an email attachment”

We thought that was a great idea and easily enabled the searching of any archived email by the attachment’s file name or part of the file name.

3.       “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single instance email archive”

This request was born because a set of car keys was lost in a hospital’s car park and the unfortunate person who’d lost the keys sent an email to over 5,000 hospital mailboxes asking if anyone had found the keys. 

With single instance email archiving only one copy of the original email is needed in the archive and a SQL server or MySQL database records the sender and recipient email details relating to the single archived email.  On average the total storage savings by using this process is in the order of 50% when compared with the amount of space required in Exchange.

4.       “Wouldn’t it be nice to exclude certain types of emails from the email archive”

A large organisation knew that many users received by email the daily ‘Dilbert Cartoon’.  They were quite prepared to keep their users happy with these daily cartoons but less happy about the amount of storage that these were taking up in their email archive.

Filters can be applied by Systems Administrators so that specific types of emails are not archived e.g. emails that include MP3 and AAC music files, Dilbert Cartoons by domain name at Dilbert.com etc.

5.       “Wouldn’t it be nice to retain each user’s Personal Folder structure in the email archive”

Each individual user has their own unique Personal Folder structure in Outlook and they like to retain it when emails are archived so that searching and finding of archived emails is easier for them.

With thousands of users at a site, all with different Personal Folder structures the task of providing fast searching facilities together with normal generic searches e.g. Date Range, From, To, Subject and Message content, was not an easy task.  However because the user experience is the outward facing part of Mailsafe and their Personal Folder structures were important to them we were pleased to incorporate this request.

All of the above “wouldn’t it be nice” requests are incorporated into our standard Mailsafe product and our approach of being customer focused has enabled us and our future customers to benefit from suggestions that people have made to us.  We thank them for their interest and ideas.

We have more examples of “wouldn’t it be nice” requests and plan to document some of them in future posts.

In the meantime if you have any specific ‘pain points’ regarding email archiving and email management that you’d like us to help you with we’d be pleased to hear from you, after all we might already have a solution.