By Daniel Hunter

IT departments are letting UK businesses down because they are not prepared for the exploding volume of email traffic their colleagues are generating. The focus remains on limiting individuals’ use, rather than managing and facilitating it.

More than a third of employees say they spend up to two hours or more every day searching for email; and 88% admit to having deleted important emails because their inbox was full.

Email is increasingly the sole means of communication between customers and suppliers, and within project teams who may be working in different offices and countries. It is vital that all relevant people have access to this information and IT departments need to find a solution... fast.

Oasys Limited part of the Arup Group and makers of complex structural and geotechnical engineering software that is used to design anything from a wide-span bridge to a velodrome.

However, Oasys developer’s say that one of their toughest assignments has been to solve the email challenge for their colleagues within Arup. So neat is the answer they came up with, that Mail Manager is now their best selling product. With a user base of thousands of companies it is set to become the email management solution of choice for businesses of all types.

“IT departments simply aren’t up to speed with the way email is used at the sharp end,” said Alec Milton, Managing Director of Oasys Software. “We hear all about how firms want to restrict the amount of time employees spend on personal email during working hours, but very little about how much time their staffs waste in looking for bona fide work-related email during the day.”

The media has focused everyone’s attention on email overload, spam, phishing scams etc., whilst overlooking the huge cost to organisations of simply finding important emails when they are needed. If messages are stored in the client folders they are easy to find and the net result is lower storage costs, less time spent finding information and lower risk to the business.

In a survey of 1,200 employees across a variety of companies and disciplines, Oasys found that more than a third of business professionals are losing up to two hours or more every day searching for emails that are hard to find, with employees saying they spend on average:

- More than three hours per day — 2%
- Up to three hours per day — 8%
- Up to two hours per day — 34%
- Up to one hour per day — 92%

Perhaps even more worrying for bosses is that a full 96% of respondents believe their companies face some level of legal risk associated with poor email management, with 1 in 5 saying their company faces “high risk”. Indeed, there have already been high profile cases in the US where firms were fined as much as $700,000 for not being able to produce specific emails under very tight timeframes imposed by the courts.

“With Mail Manager, they could have just opened a search, typed in a word or phrase and almost instantly found what they wanted,” says Alec Milton.

Of course, what is essentially an email filing and sharing tool is only as good as the discipline of people who use it. So the really clever thing about Oasys Mail Manager is that it is a simple and seamless Outlook Plug In that requires very little effort on the part of the user. Mail Manager ensures that every email, along with its attachments is securely filed on a company network where any authorised person can retrieve it.

According to a report by The Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, the number of email users is estimated to rise to 1.9 billion by 2013. Now seems like the right time for businesses to implement effective solutions to handle these constantly increasing volumes.

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