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In my organisation, each person has their own email address. Several of them provide support for our customers. My question is: is there a way that when person A sends, or receives, a message from somebody outside the company, that other people in my organisation can see that traffic via some sort of shared folder?

At this stage, I'm looking for some ideas on email servers/solutions that provide this facility.

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Which mail server do you use? –  Massimo Nov 1 '10 at 13:38
    
Haven't chosen one at the moment - I asked this question to help with the decision on which one to buy –  eggheaddesign Nov 3 '10 at 7:01
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4 Answers

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With Microsoft Exchange, you have three different ways to achieve that: distribution groups, shared mailboxes and mail-enabled public folders.

If you don't use Exchange, then please specify which mail server you're using.

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Having done some research into the public folder option, it looks like we can establish a rule that emails from or to a given client email address can be copied into the public folder and I think this is exactly what I need –  eggheaddesign Nov 3 '10 at 7:04
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You can create a Distribution Group, add the relevant users to the group, and have the customers email the group.

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Not really what I want to do - clients hate emailing group addresses –  eggheaddesign Nov 3 '10 at 7:02
    
How would the client know? –  joeqwerty Nov 3 '10 at 11:57
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You can have multiple users share a mail account via IMAP, native Exchange or webmail. In doing so, everything that takes place within the account is "shared" for everyone who has access to that account. This is a "group" account versus "individualized" accounts.

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thanks - not quite what I was looking for as I want to maintain the individual accounts. My goal is to keep every internal person in the loop of all communications with a given external person –  eggheaddesign Nov 1 '10 at 7:35
    
A variation of that, via Exchange, may be to keep copies of the emails with Public Folders. CRMs (Customer Relations Systems) with email integration may be better suited than plain/straight email. –  user48838 Nov 1 '10 at 7:48
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I know it's not quite what you asked for, but the more I thought about the workflow here, the more tortuous it became to do this inside email. You could have an OUTBOX shared via IMAP, but that exposes internal emails as well, which you didn't want; you could do it via mailing lists, but then everyone has to remember to cc the list; you could do it by getting the MTA to auto-cc mails between group members and the outside world - but it's highly MTA-dependent and some of them (eg sendmail) really quite resist doing it.

Assuming that there's a particular business function that this group services, may I suggest rethinking the problem and using a ticketing system like RT? RT's pretty simple to spin up, and a lot of my clients have got a lot of value out of one. Yes, there's the leap of people having to use the tool for that business function, but once you've taken that, advantages include:

  • new inbound emails automatically have a ticket created, and a (highly customisable) autoresponse sent to the sender
  • inbound emails that are part of an existing issue are automatically added to the existing ticket flow
  • a particular ticket shows all the correspondence in its history, but no other correspondence; it's much quicker to see context than sorting through a shared folder of the last year's emails in and out of the group
  • but there are powerful search facilities when you decide that you want to know about (eg) all resolved issues we've had with FribbleCorp this year
  • tickets are easy to merge when duplication happens
  • the individual owner of a particular problem is easy to see at any one time, which isn't obvious from an email correspondence
  • tickets can be quickly and simply transferred from one person to another as tasks are completed and responsibility passes on

If you don't like RT, and there are those who don't, there are other lighter-weight ticketing systems like Double Choco Latte, and many more besides. I really do recommend that you think hard about whether there's a better way to do this than fine-tuning an email system until it squeaks.

All the above software is free, of course.

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A ticket based system is not really what I had in mind - we already use Zendesk for support. This is about engaging with clients as we do projects for them –  eggheaddesign Nov 3 '10 at 7:03
    
Fair enough! I am glad you have found something that works for you (though sorry that it involves proprietary software), and i wish you well with it. For anyone else reading this, I'd add that although ticketing systems are traditionally employed in support roles, they can be useful any time a group of people need to collaborate with another group, the communication method is email, and the tasks tend to be separable: one of my clients who used RT found that other business groups wanted access, eg the people who had to book travel arrangements, and the people who managed office supplies. –  MadHatter Nov 3 '10 at 7:30
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